Page 1

Chuyên đề du lịch, ẩm thực

Vietnam Edition November 2013


oe E

osid m f t ad a

n o e R t reest e

i B t e STh V Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động


GOOD FUN. GOOD FORTUNE. The ultimate entertainment destination is just 2.5 hours drive away from Ho Chi Minh City. Come to experience the essence of energy and excitement right here at The Grand Ho Tram Strip! Phuoc Thuan, Xuyen Moc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Vietnam +84 64 378 8282 | For guests above 18 years old and non-Vietnamese passport holders only.


november 2013

056 Street


This month’s main feature attempts to cover the street traditions that are part of our daily intake


Cake Me!

On DJ Steve Aoki’s rider: six cakes and an inflatable pool


The Talk 010 / Forever Mobile

Street food refuses to stand still

011 / The Big Five

Events to look out for this month

Briefings 012 / Arts For Mobility

Music and art for a cause

014 / In Search of the Sugarcane Lady

Liar Ben is calling out to Co Mia

016 / The General

Where old trains come back to life

107 / Street Snacker

Ho Chi Minh City 034 / Calendar 098 / The Laugh Track to Success

We’re getting some help for laughing at ourselves, hopefully one day we’ll be able to do it by ourselves

100 / It’s Showtime

Dangerous Liaisons is dangerously close to happening

102 / Hospital Hesitations

Margaret Smith makes some confusing rounds

The passing of General Giap 104 / Cycle to Swim inspired a wave of memory Teaching kids to swim, and saving lives in the process

106 / Mystery Diner

2 | Word November 2013

The Binh Duong Train Yard

108 / Overscene 110 / HCMC City Guide TRAVEL 176 / The Five People You’ll Meet In New York

Don’t look them in the eye, though

180 / The Artists’ Village

Ham Long village contains some wonders, mostly of the weird sort

188 / Travel Promos

November 2013 Word | 3



Subsidy Era Crockery

In a new era, the old plates that have become beautiful


The Dutch Special

The Dutch are bringing their traditions to Vietnam


No Tie Dinner

Our fashion shoot keeps it casual

154 / Mystery Diner

HANOI 044 / Calendar

155 / Street Snacker

144 / Nguyen Thai Hoc

Hanoi’s lover’s lane has become an art lover’s lane

148 / Get Your Skates On!

Vietnamese are taking to the ice like naturals

150 / Beyond Tam Coc

Our day-tripper makes his own map to Tam Coc

152 / Climbing on Cat Ba

The far side of Halong Bay hides some of the best free-soloing in the world

156 / Overscene 158 / Hanoi City Guide COLUMNS 114 / Business Buff 118 / HCMC Promos

120 / Job Search 122 / Top Eats 125 / Coffee Cup 127 / In the Frame

130 / Body and Temple 165 / Hanoi Promos 166 / The Alchemist

4 | Word November 2013

167 / Book Buff 169 / The Therapist 170 / A World of Good 172 / Medical Buff 174 / Student Eye 190 / Tieng Viet FINAL SAY 194 / Little Vietnam… in London?

Pho is catching on in London, but it still has some catching up to do

196 / The Last Call

Don Berger’s overnight success took him 14 years

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

EDITORIAL nick ross Chief Editor

Ed Weinberg Deputy Editor

MADs monsen Creative Director

derek milroy Features Editor

yves schiepek Photo Editor

Elisabeth Rosen Staff Editor

FRANCIS ROUX Staff Photographer (Hanoi)

kAREN HEWELL Online Content Manager

Kyle Phanroy Staff Photographer

mark allan Website & Graphic Designer

Francis Xavier Staff Reporter

Nguyen Loc Layout Designer

Hoa Le Staff Editor

Tal Cohen Listings Editor

ADMINISTRATION Duong Vy Bao General Director

Le Dang Phuong Trang Chief Accountant

ADVERTISING Duong Vy Bao General Director

Trinh Bui Sales Executive


chau thi huong giang Area Sales Manager Hanoi


For advertising enquiries please call Bao on +84 938 609 689 or Giang on +84 934 640 668 Special thanks to Marc Forster-Pert, Katie Jacobs, Claire Driscoll, Thiep Nguyen, Nguyen Bao Ngoc, Di An Train Yard, Sarah Clarke, Rachael Carson, Fashion for Freedom, Sylvie Nguyen, Phil Bossley, Philip Deans, Karla Bussell, Tran Phuong Dung, Dana McNairn, Karen Gay, Douglas Holwerda, Huyen Tran, Dagger Wolf, Another Side of Vietnam, The Dutch Consulate, Holland Village, The Dutch Embassy, Truong from Bookworm, Phil Kelly, Shane Dillon, Cristina Nualart, Stand-Up Saigon, Asia Outdoors, Kelly L. Le, Quynh Nguyen, Jacklynn Blanchard and Tae Jun Park

Word is a registered trademark. No content may be reproduced in any form without prior authorisation of the owners. © Word - Duong Huynh Advertising JSC

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

Chuyên Đề Du Lịch & Ẩm Thực

9 786045 903735 6 | Word November 2013

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

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

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

In tại Công Ty In Trần Phú 71–73–75 Hai Bà Trưng, Q. 1, TP. HCM. Số ĐKKH: 1148-2013/CXB/14-127/LĐ Số QĐ: 275/ QĐCN-LĐ ngày 25/10/2013 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu Qúy 4 năm 2013.

The prelude


t’s always a difficult decision to dedicate a whole issue to food. We’ve done it in the past — we’ve covered burgers, pizza and street food. We’ve even broken down a bowl of pho into its constituent components. Yet such is the modern day obsession with writing about cuisine, that it’s important not to add unnecessarily to the already mammoth volume of writing filtering around the world. But such is the phenomenon that is street food in Vietnam, that together with my

colleagues we felt it deserved another issue, if not more. We already have a Street Snacker column in both our Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City sections. While this looks at certain dishes, tries to ascertain their origin, and provides an insight into the love and care that goes into their preparation, as individual pieces they don’t act as a guide to one of the most enduring marvels that exists in Vietnam. So we decided to take our journey into the world of street food a few steps further, and

provide a real sense of what’s out there. We have created a guide. It’s not comprehensive — documenting the 100-plus dishes in this country would require a book and months of research. It’s not current either — the nature of street food means that it’s constantly evolving. Places open and close, dishes develop, new variations are created. By the time you read what has been printed on these pages, it will already be out of date. But through pulling together all our

resources, and through our own explorations and discoveries, we believe we have created something that will act as a useful insight. And for those of you who have yet to take the leap into exploring the myriad of dishes out there on the street, we hope that this will be a springboard. Vietnamese cuisine is gaining currency around the world. Now’s the time to be part of it. Not overseas, but here in Vietnam. After all, this is where it all comes from. — Nick Ross, editor@



oEdats fdoside am t e oa n

reest et STthe B Vi R



THIS MONTH'S COVER Cover by DH Advertising Illustration by Claire Driscoll

Have Your Say Do you have any comments? Then let us know on Facebook — — or via Twitter, @wordvietnam. No matter how positive or negative your thoughts, we look forward to hearing from you.


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

Moving on Up

Behind the Scenes An Apology

We would like to apologise to Wendy Quarteer for the misrepresentative article we ran on Vietnam Game (October 2013, Page 30). A Vietnamese version of Candyland, Vietnam Game is presently the only board game of its type associated with Vietnam. The game pieces include miniature Vietnamese conical hats together with board images that are typical of Vietnam. Instructions are in English, Vietnamese and French and the game — for players aged 3+ — is available at Saigon Kitsch, Toyville (Snap café), Tri Books or by emailing thevietnamgame@yahoo. com.

8 | Word November 2013

(October 2013) Cracking read this month. And interesting cover story. Another good, meaty issue — RR Your cover is similar to the one when you did all that stuff about cycling. I think the idea of doing illustrations works, but if you’re going to continue with them, you need to vary them each month. — HP

General comments Have you ever thought of doing a guide book? I don’t mean in the traditional way, like Lonely Planet. But because you’re on the ground in Vietnam, you’ve got an unsurpassable local knowledge of the place. You should put it to use. — CD That crap about all those staff that left you last year. Time to forget about it. Word has really improved over the last 12 months, especially when you changed over to Word Vietnam. My guess is it was either because you were being held back or that after you had your little walk out, you felt you had something to prove. — AW All that content you’ve got, you should repackage it and create a yearbook. I’m sure it’s the kind of thing that people would be prepared to pay for. — FB You guys have a lot of content in Word Vietnam. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. I think you should break it up from time to time. It’s difficult to get drawn in. — TN I’m not a big reader. But when I read Word, I read every article. — YS

Good issue this month. But still feel that the one about the caves is the best you’ve done. — DB

[That other magazine] looks nice, big and glossy, but when people come into my place, they always end up taking away Word. Maybe it’s because it looks and feels better, I don’t know. But all your copies are gone by the 15th. After that I’m only left with [the other magazine]. — THP

Photo by Yves Schiepek

The talk

Forever Mobile Street food refuses to stand still


he 100-plus street food dishes found in Vietnam are presently gaining in popularity. Whereas at the turn of the century Vietnamese cuisine was relatively unknown — a bit like Myanmar’s is today — it’s now making waves, not just in Vietnam but globally. The recent attempt by a pho chain restaurant owner in London to trademark the word ‘pho’ — which is also the name of his chain — caused consternation with other proprietors in the city. He eventually dropped his claims, but if it had been accepted, you can only imagine the reaction that would have been felt in Vietnam. Not only would there have been a fair amount of vitriol, but other vendors would have caught on and soon everything from bun bo Hue to com tam and banh khot would get caught up in the realms of intellectual property. Considering the constantly evolving nature of street food and the necessity for many different vendors to sell the same dish, this would be absurd. That the stakes are starting to heat up is also seen in the realm of food writers. We know of three works on Vietnamese street food that are either about to be published or are presently being written. One publisher even approached us for help. We declined. Why did we decline? For two reasons. First we were already planning to do something big on street food. But more importantly is the nature of this phenomenon itself. Originally sold on the street by vendors from the outskirts of the city who carried in everything — from the dish itself to the bowls, chopsticks and

10 | Word November 2013

condiments — street food is necessarily mobile. It has legs. It is also constantly evolving. Pho ga, as an example, was created in wartime Vietnam when cows were used to plough fields, thus eradicating the supply of beef. So vendors in Hanoi looked for an alternative. The answer? Make it with chicken. Likewise, dishes such as mi quang and cao lau have so many variations that except for the basics of these two dishes themselves — the noodles and the sauce — their exact characteristics are indefinable.

Popularity and Permanence Story after story in Hanoi tells of the same process with street food — permanence and evolution. Ba Bay started selling chao on the curbside in the afternoons. So popular was her version of rice congee that after a few years, with her meagre savings she tried to make it more permanent, renting some premises. Moving off the street allowed her greater guarantees over her income. As she started to age, she quietly passed on the now family business to her kids. Faithful to the knowhow of their mother, the kids continued cooking the chao to the same recipe, but with a natural need to innovate, and with customer demands, they added some variations. While the original dish still remains, so too are new options available. The constantly evolving nature of this fare means that writing a book — or even a cover story, as we have done — will be checked by this impermanence. When we were researching our feature, for instance,

we discovered that a number of places only recently written about online had already been closed down. The worst offender was the dish bun cha ca in Saigon. Everywhere we thought sold this sweet and sour-style soup with fish cake from Central Vietnam was defunct, meaning we had to settle for a badly made version in a restaurant selling fare from Nha Trang. And yet the king of all bun cha ca restaurants on Nguyen Chi Thanh in Danang has been going strong for 40 years. The fact is, street food is a constantly changing beast. Like the nature of the cuisine itself — transported on foot, by bicycle or even on cyclo into the heart of the city — it never stands still, even when proprietors have tried to give it a permanent location. The pho you get in California, Texas or the Vietnamese suburbs of Australia has a different taste to it to the pho you get in Hanoi or Saigon, and that’s not just because of the ingredients or the lack thereof. The dishes have evolved. The variations on the traditional Vietnamese banh mi also continue to grow, both in Vietnam and overseas. If the popularity of Vietnamese street food continues apace, then in the near future we may well see new dishes created overseas. Such was the case with the Indian balti, a cooking style developed in Birmingham in the UK. It has now spread to Ireland, Australia and Canada. Try to categorise a street food dish, trademark it, set it in stone and give it some permanence, and you will always fail. By its very nature, it has to move. — Nick Ross

the big five


The Festival of Lights

Diwali symbolises the victory over good and evil to one-sixth of the world, all of whom will be celebrating this contender for biggest Indian festival in early November. The Indian Chamber of Business (Incham) doesn’t want you to miss out on this festival of kindness and presents, so they’re importing it — first of all in the form of famous Bollywood singer, Padmasri Udit Narayan. The festivities in Ho Chi Minh City will take place in the Sheraton (88 Dong Khoi, Q1) on Saturday Nov. 9, while the Hanoi version will take place on the same date at The American Club (19-21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem). For more information on Diwali in Hanoi go to page 41 Tickets are now available for Diwali in Ho Chi Minh City at the Incham head office (Room 209, 2nd Floor, Seaprodex Building, 2-4-6 Dong Khoi, Q1), Saigon Indian Restaurant (73 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1), Ashoka Restaurant (17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1), Tandoor Restaurant (74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1) and Baba’s Kitchen (164 Bui Vien, Q1). They’re priced at VND600,000 and VND300,000 for Incham members and their children, VND700,000 and VND350,000 for non-members


UK Now!

Taking place in both Hanoi (Nov. 9) and Ho Chi Minh City (Nov. 10) is the first British music festival in Vietnam, UK Now! A statement of intent — the UK’s British Council is teaming up with CAMA Vietnam in Hanoi and Saigon Sound System to present the festival — two evenings of live music in both cities will feature some of Britain’s hottest artists alongside the best of Vietnam’s contemporary talent. Playing at both shows are British acts Anushka and Bwani Junction while in Hanoi locals SlimV and Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang will also take the stage. As well as the headliners, the Ho Chi Minh City show will feature homegrown Saigonese performers White Noiz and The Beats Saigon together with UK DJ/Producer Timmy Vegas. Entrance to both events is free. Tickets can be obtained from the following locations: Hanoi CAMA ATK (73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung); The British Council (20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho) Ho Chi Minh City Q4 (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4); The British Council (25 Le Duan, Q1) The Hanoi show will take place on Saturday Nov. 9 at Van Ho Exhibition Centre, 2 Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Saigon’s turn is 24 hours later on Sunday Nov. 10 at Q4, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4


Go!Go! Japan!

The Japan Foundation in Hanoi has teamed up with to present a night of rock with Japanese and Vietnamese on Saturday Nov. 16. The event will transform the Van Ho Exhibition Centre (2 Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung) into a rock venue with Japanese outfit Okamoto returning to Vietnam for a fourth time together with support from The Ton-Up Motors and Ryukyudisko. An unnamed, emerging local rock band will also take to the stage. The event is free and tickets can be collected from The Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3999 7419 or at the Office, 66 lane 40, Ta Quang Buu, Hai Ba Trung


Culture Cookoff

Leave it to Saigon Outcast to defy description, with the appropriately-named smorgasbord of culture Super Blop. institute of Lower Learning’s culture cookoff and new-media art party is happening on Nov. 16, and will pit Saigon’s most creative against each other in battle — food first! The following artist-chefs are hooking it up for the first lucky attendee-judges, starting at 2pm: the Outcast chefs, Xem, Bong, mi an lien, X?, Space Panther, v.i.v.i.d and Green Youth Collective. At 6pm, the following consciousness-warpers will help you digest: visual experimentalist Crazy Monkey, spacy sun-dappled auralogist Yosi Horikawa from Japan, tune ninja Jase Nguyen of The Beats Saigon and half-man, half-vinyl junkie, half-chef Foniks, a first-time-in-public performance by electronic sound designer Solid Machine, the elaborately structured audio-visual electro-psych and stupendous sausages of Space Panther (the only musicians actually cooking) and a long-awaited post-new-album-recording performance by the post-rock (x) electronic Time Keeper. Super Blop is on Nov. 16 starting at 2pm, with music starting at 6pm, VND50,000 entry. Saigon Outcast is at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2

Apocalaughs Now If you like your alternative stand-up comedy — and there ain’t all that much of it in this city — then pencil in Tuesday Nov. 19. Well-known UK comics Pierre Hollins and Jimmy McGhie will be flying into Saigon as part of a Southeast Asian tour that takes in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Jakarta and yes, you guessed it, Ho Chi Minh City. With one-man shows under their belts at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as performances at festivals the world over, these guys are on the Comedy Store’s Who’s Who list. This is top calibre stuff. And to add to the fun, they will be joined onstage by Tat and Devon, two comics who are presently gracing the regular Stand-Up Saigon nights at The Spotted Cow. Apocalaughs Now is part of the Saigon Comedy Nights series and will take place at Cargo Bar, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 on Nov. 19. Doors at 8pm. For further information email saigoncomedynights@gmail. com. The entrance surcharge is VND250,000 and includes a free San Miguel. Check out our feature The Laugh Track to Success on page 98


brief ings

Photo by Francis Xavier

Arts For Mobility Music and art for a cause


ast month Roger Ferrell was awarded a medal honouring him as a ‘culturally-integrated businessman’ by the Vietnamese Union of Friendship Organizations. The occasion was significant — the Oct. 10 ceremony took place in Reunification Palace and lasted over three hours. What did Mr. Ferrell do to be given such an honour? Unlike some of the other recipients of the medal, he has not generated multi-million dollar business partnerships. Instead he has spent 15 years thinking up one business idea after another, all with the purpose of giving his profits away. You may have unknowingly supported some of Roger’s initiatives. He’s the man behind Arts For Mobility, whose annual fundraiser will take place this month, and The Bourbon Street Jazz Festival. Perhaps you’ve nibbled on some Kids First cashews in your favourite bar. While you might have enjoyed the fundraising end, their social value can be measured in wheelchairs — about 2,500 in all. How does a man from Seattle with a background in IT and banking become a ‘culturally-integrated businessman’? “Desperation” is what he says fuels his business ideas, some of which are online or based in the US. The projects, and a few more that Roger is cooking up, put 100 percent of their profits into buying and distributing wheelchairs to disadvantaged people in Vietnam.

12 | Word November 2013

From Volunteer to Entrepreneur The desperation to help got its first outlet in 1996, when Roger first came to Vietnam. He volunteered for Peace Trees Vietnam, an NGO that had him removing landmines and planting trees in Quang Tri Province. Straddling the DMZ, it is one of the poorest regions in the country. Roger continued to help the organisation for the next three years, but with opportunities for change everywhere he looked, his entrepreneurial personality began to emerge. In 2000, he set up Kids First Vietnam. The first project led to several thousand scholarships for primary education and a new school adapted for children with disabilities. During that time, Roger also assisted The Wheelchair Foundation, an American charity that donated wheelchairs to Vietnam. But he soon learned that the wheelchairs were made in China, which gave him another idea. Within a year, Roger had opened a wheelchair factory in Vietnam. Dong Ha, the town in Central Vietnam where Roger started out as a volunteer, is now the home of Kids First Enterprise, a social enterprise that makes mobility devices with cutting-edge designs. The wheelchairs, knee scooters and ‘freedom legs’ ( are exported to the US and sold to other NGOs. Not only does the factory source its raw material from nearby suppliers, giving work to local people, 30 percent of its staff

is disabled. And all the profits are ploughed back in to support the disadvantaged in Vietnam. Roger’s goal is to raise enough money to manufacture and distribute 100 mobility devices per month.

The Fundraiser Arts For Mobility is an annual event that contributes to that objective. Food and wine, an art exhibition and silent auction, and a classical music performance raise funds to buy wheelchairs to be given to people all over this country. On Nov. 16, the 6th Annual Arts For Mobility art exhibition and concert will take place at the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House. Well-known contemporary Vietnamese artists have donated works for this year’s exhibition, but you will also see works by children in orphanages, designers, folk artists and international artists. Highlights of this year’s concert include 13-year-old violin prodigy Do Phuong Nhi, soprano Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga and husband-and-wife duo Trang Trinh and Park Sung Min — a pairing of Vietnamese classical piano and South Korean tenor. — Cristina Nualart The 6th Annual Arts For Mobility fundraiser will take place Nov. 16 at the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, Lam Son Square, Q1. Tickets cost VND500,000 and can be ordered from Roger Ferrell at, or by calling 0903 365720. You can also contact Shannon Hopkins at, 0906 761190

November 2013 Word | 13

In Search of the Sugarcane Lady I

One street artist’s quest for Co Mia, the icon of the sugarcane juice industry. Photos provided by Liar Ben

f cola is the predominant beverage of North America, then sugarcane juice rivals its popularity as the refreshing choice of Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, a freshly squeezed cup of this icy nectar costs around VND5,000; at half the price of a bottled soft drink, it’s no surprise that there is at least one sugarcane kiosk on just about every street. Despite being ubiquitous in everyday life, most overlook the culture that’s mushroomed along with this humble thirst-quencher, such as the icon Co Mia — aka, the sugarcane lady. Painted on the front side of the portable presses, this curly-haired bubble-gum pop beauty is often seen holding a glass of juice, beckoning passersby with a charming smile. But who is she? Where did she come from? And how did she singlehandedly take the reigns of the country’s sugarcane juice trade? Liar Ben, a Saigon-based street artist, has somehow found himself in the centre of this mystery, determined to answer its questions.

The Fox and the Aunt Word first came across Liar Ben — née Phan Minh Tuan — at his solo exhibition at deciBel (79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1) in April of this year. Known for the fox-like characters he paints on public murals, his playful exploration of chicanery and tomfoolery have made him an artist to watch. Unlike previous works, his sugarcane pursuits reveal a more conceptual side to his personality. Ben first became beguiled by Co Mia about two years ago, when he was wrestling with the decision to withdraw from Ho Chi Minh City’s Fine Arts University. “People from the school graduate with skillsets that do not complement the kind of artist I want to become,” Ben explains. “I needed to turn my attention from the classroom to my daily surroundings. Living life and creating art is one and the same. There is no such thing as professional art.”

14 | Word November 2013

Such a line of reasoning led Ben straight to the alluring vision of Co Mia. “I see her everywhere,” he says. “So familiar — an aestheticism of the street. At the same time, she is so unknown.” Despite the enthusiasm, Ben’s search has proven more difficult than he anticipated. No one seems to know where she comes from, who first painted her or how many portable sugarcane juicers currently bear her disarming grin. Ben has stumbled onto a novel gem, which requires an intricate excavation process. But he seems to lack the proper tools to attack the subject head-on.

Weeds in the Field Although an estimated 18.9 million tonnes of raw sugarcane is produced yearly, the sugarcane industry goes relatively unnoticed by the public. Constantly overshadowed by the country’s leading cash crop, rice, only one thing is certain. The mass cultivation of sugarcane — and the emergence of Co Mia — began only recently. In 1932, the authorities convinced local growers to replace the low-yielding native saccharum sinense variety (mia lau) with foreign varieties, namely the Co.290 strain. This initiative proved to be lucrative, and transformed the country into a sugarcane dynamo. Undeterred, Ben takes his time. These days, he is calling out to Co Mia by disseminating personalised stickers of the beauty in public places. “On the backs of motorbikes, in coffee shops, pretty much anywhere I find interesting,” he says. “It is my way of starting a conversation with her.” Currently, Ben is travelling across Vietnam, making his way from north to south in a threemonth graffiti tour with French street artist, Sautel Cago. Utilising this trip as an opportunity to compile regional renditions of the icon, he hopes to find clues for pinpointing her origin, and perhaps understanding once and for all why she mesmerises him the way she does. — Kelly L. Le

November 2013 Word | 15

brief ings

The O General Few individuals are as revered in Vietnam as General Giap. And rightly so

n Oct. 4, Vietnam observed an outpouring of grief when General Vo Nguyen Giap, the last war idol of the country, died in Hanoi at the age of 102 (103 in Vietnamese counting). While the news that Giap had passed away didn’t necessary shock — he had been hospitalised for four years — the event caused a massive outpouring of grief from the country’s citizens. “He was second after Uncle Ho, a true hero and someone we need to thank for the peace we have today. We all owe him for the contribution he made to our country,” said 78-year-old Nguyen Van Dai on Oct. 10 while standing in line to enter Giap’s house to pay tribute. Dai served in the logistics department during the American War. A few hundred metres behind Dai, 30-yearold Luong Thi Thanh Nga was holding a wooden board with 103 paper flowers to represent Giap’s age. She had made them the night before and had carefully attached a photo of the general onto the board. “Yesterday was the death anniversary of my father,” she said through her tears. “He died 10 years ago because of his war wounds. He told me many stories about General Giap. And I know if he was still alive, he would have come here today.” By the time I spoke to her, Nga had been waiting in line for over 10 hours with no intention of leaving until she could get inside and pay her respects.

Lasting Memories

Photos by Thiep Nguyen

Nga and Dai were among the hundreds of thousands of people who lined up in front of Giap’s house at 30 Hoang Dieu, Hanoi from early morning till late at night, so they could bow and pay their respects in front of his portrait. Millions of people across the country of all ages showed their grief through other means. On Facebook, people replaced their profile pictures with images of the general. They told stories of the general through the memories of their parents and grandparents. They admired his talent in war and his dignity during peace. “I took today off class to come and see you for the last time, General!” read a status update by Nguyen Thi Xuan, a 20-year-old student from Hanoi National University on Oct. 13. “I’ve learned about you through my history classes, but also from my greatgrandfather’s beautiful memories of you

16 | Word November 2013

when he was serving in the military under your command.” On that same day, a sea of mourners poured out onto the street waiting for the gun carriage to transport Giap’s coffin from the national memorial hall to the airport, before heading to his hometown in Quang Binh, where he was buried. The onlookers wanted to catch a last glimpse of the general before he left the capital.

The People’s Hero General Giap, the principal commander of the Vietnamese Army in the wars with France and America, has been praised for his crucial role in pushing both countries out of Vietnam. His best-known battle was at Dien Bien Phu where against the odds he commanded the Viet Minh troops to victory over the well-armed French. It was a triumph that later led to the departure of the French from Indochina. Despite having no formal training, Giap is considered internationally to be a military genius, particularly in guerilla warfare. His steely determination focused on one ultimate goal — to fight for his country’s independence. There was a massive price to pay. Independence and reunification saw the deaths of 400,000 Vietnamese in the French war, and over two million Vietnamese casualties in the American War. But at his funeral, the love and loyalty of hundreds of thousands Vietnamese for him was undeniable. “There has been no precedent like this at a funeral. We love him. The citizen understands [and trusts] what he did for us,” said composer Cat Van while holding a carefully framed song sheet that he had written in tribute. Now as the last war hero has passed away, many are in mourning, but some also share different feelings. Said 64-year-old Nguyen Thi Tu when she attended Giap’s funeral: “I feel worried. He was a great example to which people can look up to and reflect upon. I don’t know after his death if we will have any other example to follow. I’m worried.” There is one thing that most Vietnamese can share with Ms. Tu. It will be a long time before they will find someone else who they can respect with all their love and heart. — Hoa Le

brief ings

The Beer Man One man’s quest for real ale


onathan Gharbi loves his beer. In fact, Jonathan loves his beer so much that he’s started a blog dedicated to beer drinking in Vietnam — But ensuring that he enjoys the beer he drinks in Vietnam has been tough. “My dream is that someone will import a real ale,” says the Hanoi-based Swede. “But so far, there have been no opportunities.” In Sweden, says Jonathan, microbreweries — and in particular real ales — are really popular. “You go to a bar in Sweden,” he says. “Some of them have up to 20 beers on tap. It’s crazy. It’s a trend. The interest in Sweden is huge. But in [Vietnam] it’s minimal so far.” “I have talked to the breweries and said, ‘Why don’t you do something more like ale?’” he explains. “The breweries say Vietnamese customers haven’t learnt to appreciate the more bitter, hoppy beers.” The only brewhouse in Vietnam doing an ale is the Lousiana Brewhouse in Nha Trang, “but it’s adapted to a Vietnamese context”. It’s not quite the ale that Jonathan’s been searching for, and Nha Trang is a long journey from the capital.

A Tour of Duty As a result, Jonathan has started running

18 | Word November 2013

regular beer tours for a maximum of 10 people. The idea is to take in five breweries in three or four hours, drinking one black beer and one gold beer at each venue. The purpose, he says, is to “increase the knowledge about beer and also to show the breweries and suppliers that there is an interest in beer. I want to have more options for the drinkers, the beer lovers.” He adds: “By getting the beer tours going I can have a stronger voice with the breweries. Hopefully I will find someone who’s willing to do a special brew.” But he’s fighting a changing tide. Until a couple of years ago, drinking high-end beer was popular, particularly in the capital. You could go out to a beerhall on a Tuesday night, he recalls, and they were packed. Now, thanks to the economy, the customers are dropping away, and a lack of customers means that many breweries are cutting costs. Yet he remains ever the optimist. “I would hope that one of the breweries realises that there is a demand for ale and that they will start making it,” he muses. “Maybe I can work with one of the beer companies, like Goldmalt, and brew an ale with them.” He also has another goal in mind — to help create a beer festival in Vietnam. He’s already been contacting potential sponsors and is hoping to get five local breweries

together with a couple of food stalls, and maybe have a section with regular lagers as part of the festival. However, Jonathan is well aware of the difficulties. “Vietnam is a new market for real ale, and nobody wants to take the risk. If you import 10,000 bottles, the problem is you have to sell them within six months — before their expiry date.” Still, this beer lover remains undaunted, and his brewery tours continue apace. His Hanoi tour on Oct. 10 took him to Gammer Beer, Hoa Vien and the recently opened Bia Tuoi Tiep Plzen in Korea Town before heading out to West Lake to Ben Thuy restaurant for a brew of Eresson gold beer. — Nick Ross For more information on the beer tours email or go to

Jonathan’s Favourite Breweries Hanoi Goldmalt in Van Phuc, Hoa Vien and Mai Vien Brauhaus Ho Chi Minh City Lion Brewery, Gamma Beer, Brauhof and Hoa Vien

November 2013 Word | 19

Photos by Yves Schiepek

brief ings

Another Side of Vietnam


croll down the page of the Facebook group Another Side of Vietnam and you’ll see: Buck Skidmark posting a pic of a leaky airbridge, and explaining, “It’s raining… IN THE PLANE!” You’ ll see award-winner for Best Troll, Jase Nguyen, with a pic of a bus passenger tucking his head into the seat cover to keep from falling over, And you’ll see a Bui Vien Circle K combo pack of condoms and a razor. Our tour ends with a display stand for a product called GmB — “Goat-Milk-Belief” — and a string of comments refashioning the acronym: “GET in MAH BELLEH!”, “Gagging meets Butthole”, “Gorge, My Babies!!!”, “Grunting, Meat Bumping”. This is the little group that 7,600 have joined since its inception six years ago. On Oct. 19, its members were finally recognised for their efforts. The night’s prizes were awarded in six categories: Best Poster, Comments; Best Poster, Pictures; Best Discussion Started; Best Picture; Best Troll and Best Love Story. For one of the categories, two banh mi cut into the makeshift slippers worn in a famous picture on the page were given as a prize. And, in keeping with the tongue-in-cheek nature of the page, not all the awards were honours. “Best Love Story, I hate that kid!” eventual award-winner Chau Nguyen says. “He’s 17

20 | Word November 2013

years old! He messes around with whatever woman he likes… I don’t know why people nominate me.” During the award giving, Another Side founder Adam Edermo encouraged the crowd to sing along to Why Can’t We Be Friends? as Chau pouted. Despite the occasional protest, the night rolled on with an unpredictable kind of camaraderie, as people who’d only previously met on an internet forum discovered their inside jokes still worked IRL (in real life).

Not Just Jokes The stand-up comedy that followed the awards was a heroic experiment. The four members of Stand-Up Saigon who made it out presented the same material they’d staged a week before in their regular monthly show, but this time in front of a majority Vietnamese crowd. Adam was pleased at the turnout — in particular that the group has turned into more than a western hangout. One of his worries when he started the page was what his friend Tim Scott terms as ‘Vinabashing’ — taking a picture of an overloaded motorbike and using it to conclude that Vietnam is a primitive place. “I was afraid there would be a lot of Vinabashing,” Adam says, “so I was selective in

the pictures. I wanted to choose pictures that weren’t joking so much about poverty, not joking so much about that kind of stuff.” Instead the forum has developed into a place where both Vietnamese people and westerners go to make sense of this at-times crazy place. And, although the emphasis is on the funny, sometimes these discussions get heated. The award-winner for Best Discussion Started, Hang Vuong, started the awarded discussion with a post about Vietnamese men smoking in the halls of a hospital she’d been in, while their wives were giving birth. Some didn’t take it well. Says Hang, “We’re just discussing back and forth, back and forth, and it’s becoming a really heavy topic… and then finally Adam had to stop it, delete the topic.” Although it’s not always easy, this is how a vibrant community develops and learns its boundaries. Adam wants the community to continue to grow and give all of its members something to laugh about daily, as long as they keep in mind a cardinal truth about this weird, wonderful place: “[Vietnamese people] walk outside and say, ‘Tomorrow’s going to be better than today’ — that’s the essence of Vietnam.” — Ed Weinberg Find Another Side of Vietnam by searching for it on Facebook

November 2013 Word | 21

brief ings

Only in Asia

Stories from around the region Pulling Strings

An iPhone is for life…

A Bumper Windfall

In a publicity stunt attempting to show that Cream Silk shampoo does the opposite of stunting hair growth, the beauty product manufacturer Unilever recently teamed up with internationally renowned bowmaker Archetier Paul S.J. Goh to create Asia’s first human hair violin bows. Obviously unaware of the controversial repurposing of human hair undertaken by scientists during World War II, in mid-October the 42-piece Hair Symphony Orchestra purportedly performed at the NBC Tent in Manilla to demonstrate just how strong, shiny and healthy violin bows strung with human hair could actually be. Strangely there are no online reviews of the actual show itself, which included a performance by Ballet Philippines. Which suggests that it could have been a hairy experience. Get it?

…until the next model comes out, that is. But try telling that to the Chinese couple who sold their baby to purchase one of these elusive products. Mr Teng and Ms Zhang began posting online adverts for the child in June this year, reports Shanghai’s Jiefang Daily. The adverts suggested they would be willing to part with their unborn baby in exchange for up to 50,000 yuan (VND167 million). After a home birth designed to cover-up the transaction, they handed over the baby girl and received a large cash payment into their bank account on the very same day. This led to a shopping spree and the purchase of that most desirable of toys, the iPhone. After all, feeding an iPhone is much cheaper than feeding a baby. All you need to do is plug it into the mains and you're away. Now, as for babies…

A one-year-old baby in Vietnam has officially been granted the title of the 'richest child in Vietnam'. On Sep. 21, the son of Huynh Uy Dung — the tycoon behind two industrial parks, three residential areas and Dai Nam Amusement Park in Binh Duong — Huynh Hang Huu, was formally made the chairman of Dai Nam's supervisory board, following his father's decision to hand over his whole fortune to his beloved child. Although as a minor baby Huu is yet to be able to take up his official position, potential customers of the amusement park have been asked to be aware of the bumper cars. A pet project of the fun-loving child, it is believed that on the 'zoom zooms' he is already taking no hostages. Next in line for his personal attention are the Go Karts.

Suspicious Tea An Indian man, Vijay Patil, who was sent to Bombay High Court for drinking a cup of tea at a tea stall on Kolhapurl, has been sent home to read his tea leaves. Called ‘cutting chai’, the act of having a quick halfglass of tea, the man was brought before authorities for drinking tea in a way that was not “elegant or delicate, [or] perhaps even noisy”, an action that was described as ‘suspicious’. Added the high court, “We know of no way of drinking tea ‘suspiciously’.”

Cat of the Month


Time to give that beloved pet a new home

it is just older than kitten-aged — in that adorable gap year between infancy and the terrible twos — but she’s not too jaded to enjoy her chin being scratched and her ears nuzzled. She had a rough start to life, but has appreciated all the loving care she’s received at Animal Rescue and Care’s clinic and cat room since then. A perpetual optimist, she’s confident that her next home will be just as loving, filled with all the chin scratches she could ever ask for. Kit’s really into classic rock at the moment, but she can sleep on your lap regardless of what you have on the stereo. She even likes Snoop Lion now that he changed his name from Snoop Dogg. She’s not a demanding cat, but she does require one window that she can perch by, just to make sure no

22 | Word November 2013

trouble is coming. She’s active, spayed, fully vaccinated and waiting for you to take her home today. Contact to make your date with kitty destiny. For more information on ARC, go to

Fostering of the Month Remember Mac, our delightful shy tabby August Cat of the Month? Well, it’s been a busy few months for Mac, as he made a new best friend — Bob, a shy bobtailed butterball who likes to eat from Mac’s bowl and cuddle him at night — and now he’s made some new human friends, who will foster the two with an eye towards an eventual adoption. Bob and Mac are thrilled, and so are we! Our brave boys are finally growing up.

Ho Chi minh city what s on American Thanksgiving Around the fourth Thursday in November, most overseas Americans start missing their families, turkey dinners, American football, feeling themselves get fatter and falling asleep in their easy chair while waiting to go out and wait in an all-night line to get the best deals on early — early! — Christmas presents. Well, that won’t all happen in Ho Chi Minh City, but this Nov. 28 you can at least comfort yourself with one of the city’s scrumptious turkey options… or even two.

AmCham Turkey Shoot Up first is AmCham’s annual golf tournament — good for working up an appetite. The day out at Vietnam Golf & Country Club starts on Nov. 28 at 6.30am, with a shotgun start to the tournament at 8am. The format is a fourperson team scramble with caddie assistance, and prizes and course contests like ‘closest to the pin’ and ‘straight drive’. The wrap up is at 12.30pm, when hungry golfers will snack on an open-faced turkey buffet and free flow beer and soft drinks, all while receiving feel-good awards. It ends promptly at 1.30pm — they don’t want to ruin your turkey dinner. Entry fees are VND1.56 million for Club members, VND2.4 million for AmCham members and their guests, payable in full by Nov. 16 latest. For more info, contact

Black Cat Black Cat’s seminal Thanksgiving dinner is entering its ninth year of turkey stuffing — and serving everything else on the home-cooked list. VND560,000 buys adults all the turkey, sweet potatoes, beet salad, mac and cheese, chicken and cranberry sausage and traditional-style pies their big hearts can desire — plus a free flow of beer and two glasses of cranberry-peach sangria. Little hearts qualify for the food only, at VND240,000 for the 12-and-under crowd, VND100,000 for six and younger and free for cranberry sauce slurpers two and younger. Stop by before Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 (the dinner goes 5pm to late) to make your reservations.

Caravelle If you think Nineteen’s buffet is always crowded, you haven’t seen it crowded with the massive helpings of turkey that await you on Nov. 28. It will waft into your nostrils alongside French cheeses, hand-rolled sushi, a whole seafood station’s worth of seafood, roasted and barbecued meats, salads, soups and desserts — including pumpkin pie and Caravelle’s signature cream caramel. Shell out your VND1,013,000++ per person, comfortable in the knowledge that your grandmother won’t be asking if you’re still hungry after this. Call (08) 3823 4999 or email to find out more.

InterContinental The InterContinental knows you miss the comfort of home more than anything on

24 | Word November 2013

Thanksgiving, which is why they’re making their in-room dining’s turkey-making services available to you, at VND3.9 million++ for a 7kg to 9kg whole turkey, with gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing and 2kg of potatoes. Dial 4403 from your room, or email All orders must be placed at least two days in advance.

Park Hyatt Square One will give you a square meal this Thanksgiving, with a three-course menu featuring new-school delicacies like truffle pea soup and foie gras terrine, and old-school classics like, um, turkey. When you’ve gotten your share, move onto the pumpkin tart draped with maple ice cream and vanilla Chantilly cream. The Thanksgiving menu is available for lunch and dinner on Nov. 28, and is priced at VND950,000++ per person. Call (08) 3824 1234 for more info.

Saigon Street Foodies What do we have to be thankful for this year? Well, a cheap Thanksgiving dinner for one thing. Leave it to the Foodies to squire you away to Ga Nuong in Binh Thanh (449 Le Quang Dinh), and take care of the whole barbecue-chicken-plus-beverage package for VND100,000. There’s also one other thing to be thankful for on this night — it marks the Foodies’ one-year anniversary, one year of Saigon Beer, sultry nights and of course, the best food this city has to offer.

Sheraton Sheraton’s letting you call the shots this Thanksgiving, with either a VND2.3 million++ takeaway turkey (available from Nov. 20, fixin’s extra, order 72 hours in advance) or a buffet spread of pumpkin cream soup, turkey, baked honey ham, New York cheesecake, Boston cream pie and a free flow of fancy drink at Saigon Café on the day itself — VND1.2 million++ to gorge yourself from 6pm to 10pm. For takeaway turkeys, contact the Festive Season Counter at (08) 3827 2828.

Seventeen Saloon Seventeen Saloon is taking you on a Wild West excursion on Nov. 21, to get you in the hotcowgirl/Filipino cover band spirit of Thanksgiving. The Far West of Texas will be summoned by drinks specials, some rollicking and a rock-and-roll atmosphere.

Shang Palace Chinese Restaurant 1st Floor , 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong St., Dist. 1, HCMC, Vietnam - Tel: (84 8) 3823 2221 - (84 8) 3822 6111 Ext: 164 - Fax: (84 8) 3822 6116 Email: - Website:

November 2013 Word | 25

Ho Chi minh city what s on Napoleon Dynamite! German DJ Boys Noize calls them “the band with the hottest and craziest live show on earth right now!” Satt says, “If Peter Pan and the lost boys would have founded a band, it would have definitely been BONAPARTE.” After a show, a fan said, “I am not sure if there is more sweat or beer in my glass...!“ German chaos-rockers BONAPARTE are coming to Cargo on Dec. 1, the notorious survivors of over 100 “sweaty, slippery and sexmerising” live shows a year. They’re wrapping up their first-ever Asian tour in Ho Chi Minh City — with a still unconfirmed Hanoi gig possible on. Nov. 29. Get ready to be conquered. BONAPARTE is playing Cargo at 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 on Dec. 1. In Hanoi, Cama ATK will host on Dec. 29, details still to come

Animal Rescue and Care Turns Three ARC has become such an institution in its short years on this planet that you will be forgiven for thinking it’s always been here. But even the most charitable souls like birthday parties, and ARC is throwing itself a massive one come this Nov. 3. SmartKids will host a charity bazaar and day of revelry for the occasion, pulling in a bouncy castle for the kids and stalls with jewellery from Colinashop, Very Ngon Homeware products, toys from The Gifted World, candles and tea from Lux Candles and products for your pets from Uncle Bill. Join the festivities on Nov. 3 at SmartKids, 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, from 9am to 3pm. For more info contact

Abstract Dreams Tran Van Thao, one of Vietnam’s leading abstract painters, takes onlookers on an artistic journey through 15 years of his creative process with an exhibition at Galerie Quynh, in collaboration with Sofitel Saigon Plaza. Showcasing some of the artist’s most stunning works with seamlessly blended styles and techniques, Tran Van Thao’s work embodies the most unique and creative forces at work in modern Vietnam. Tran Van Thao’s exhibition runs through Nov. 22 at Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1. For more information, contact either celine@ or

Yoga Bliss Yogis in Ho Chi Minh City should be delighted for the month of November, as we’re welcoming Elonne Stockton — a yoga practitioner practising for two decades and teaching globally for one — for a yoga retreat. The weekend sessions will include classes in both ashtanga asana (physical postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques). Her yoga style derives from vinyasa yoga, which detoxifies and relaxes the body and mind, and is a perfect method

26 | Word November 2013

to de-stress and achieve healthy living, especially for those living hectic Saigon lives. Elonne Stockton yoga classes begin on Friday, Nov. 22, from 5pm to 6.30pm, and continue through the weekend, with sessions on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 running from 8.30am to 3.30pm. Classes take place on Diamond Island, Q2, and require registration. For more information and to sign up, email or cat., or call 0933 077991

Beaujolais Nouveau The biggest wine event of the French calendar year is also the only one wine snobs will break out the ice cubes for — the release of the new season’s bright, kicked-up grape juice-like Beaujolais Nouveau. Every third Thursday in November, the brasserie waiters break out the round hats and blush and uncork the new crop of Beaujolais Nouveau, and all of France gets wasted. Think of it as “wine without rules” — and Nov. 21 it’s coming to the most unruly city of all. May Restaurant May keeps its French and Vietnamese influences well balanced, except for this Nov. 21. From 7pm to 9pm, they’re busting out the Beaujolais Nouveau for a VND300,000 free flow, and passing around enough complimentary finger food to keep you salut-ing and mon dieu!ing throughout the evening. Caravelle Starting on Nov. 21, the Caravelle will add a select cherry-red Beaujolais Nouveau to its arsenal. Put a little class in your glass for VND150,000++ a glass, VND700,000++ a bottle. Warehouse 15/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 For Beaujolais Nouveau lovers, the wine aficionados at Warehouse are taking pre-orders of the new season tipple, with their stash coming to Vietnam courtesy of Georges Duboeuf. The bottles go for either VND300,000 or VND325,000. The choice is yours.

WELCOME TO JASMINE COURT where Luxury is aordable!

A fully equipped, cozy, modern apartment only 12 units with extensive services Located on a quiet side street of Nguyen Van Troi Boulevard, 5 minutes from Tan Son Nhat Airport and 10 minutes to city center. One and two bedroom apartments available with monthly rent starting from VND13,000,000

307/29 Nguyen Van Troi Boulevard, Ward 1 District Tan Binh, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam Tel: 38 44 66 39 - Fax: 38 44 66 38 Email:

More information can be explored at

Elegant surroundings, great location, professional service and finest cuisine. All you can find at Norfolk Hotel. 117 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (84-8) 3829 5368 - Fax: (84-8) 3829 3415 - Email: - Website: Managed by Norfolk Group

November 2013 Word | 27

Ho Chi minh city what s on Clean Up Vietnam Clean Up the World Campaign — a global conservation campaign running in Vietnam since 1994 supported by the Australian Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade — was held on Saturday, Sep. 21 in Binh Chanh District. After an opening ceremony, Australian ConsulGeneral John McAnulty participated in cleanup activities, tree planting and leaflet delivery to educate locals about recycling and resource recovery, water re-use and conservation. The event marked the 19th anniversary of Vietnam’s involvement in the global campaign.

The Month in Outcast The month starts with Outcast’s Nov. 2 Halloween Sunset hoedown, featuring three live sets by White Noiz, some absurd games and free beer — and profiled in-depth in our Halloween Comes Late ‘What’s On’ item. The following weekend brings the first Outdoor Pool Cinema on Nov. 9. Starting at 3pm, they’ll be showing two movies fitting of the paddling pool action: Point Break, directed by Kathryn Bigelow (she’s come a long way since), and Wet Hot American Summer, rounding up the camp action with classic punchlines from the 1980s. Don’t forget your rubber duck. But it’s all preamble for the big event of the month, Super Blop. This culture cookoff and new-media art party is happening on Nov. 16, and will pit Saigon’s most creative against each other in battle — food first! Check ‘Big 5’ for more info. Sprinkled in between are the usual madcap activities you’ve come to expect from Outcast. Sundays are barbecue days, as Outcast fires up their grills and gets generous, dishing out grilled specialties (limited amount for free!) and encouraging the general potluck philosophy of ‘sharing is caring’ (although not with outside drinks — leave those at home). Wednesday’s the mad doodlers of Saigon’s newest drawing club, Saigon Doodle Club. Congregating at 6.30pm, expect a fun, freeform night of hanging out, working on zines and comics, drawing secret cool stuff and having fun. The Halloween Sunset Event is Nov. 2 starting at 4pm, VND50,000 in advance or VND80,000 at the door. The Outdoor Pool Cinema is on Nov. 9 from 3pm to 7pm, free entry. Super Blop is on Nov. 16 starting at 2pm, with music starting at 6pm, VND50,000 entry. Share Barbecue Sundays start at 7pm, Saigon Doodle Club sessions start Wednesdays at 6.30pm, both free. Saigon Outcast is at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, or on saigonoucast [sic]

28 | Word November 2013

Dead Farmers Play Live

The Cribs

Citing influences like Boris, MC5, The Saints, Acid Mothers Temple, The Stooges and other overblown psychedelic rock / proto punk, The Dead Farmers are bringing the high energy all the way from Sydney this Nov. 21. As you’d think would befit a band with such blown-out eardrums, they play LOUD. Just another sonic specialist transplanted straight from the wilds of international indie by your friendly neighbourhood alternative collective, O Dau? Dead Farmers play Darts, Darts, Darts — 224a Pasteur, Q1 — on Nov. 21 at 8pm. Entry is VND50,000. Check deadfarmers. for a little sampling of the sonic scintillation

Q Magazine has described them as “the biggest cult band in the UK”. Names like Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) are entwined in their back catalogue. They’re indie rocker brothers from West Yorkshire on a six-country Australia-Asia tour. And they’re just the latest really-really good band to include Saigon in their rounds. The Cribs will hit Cargo on Nov. 8, touring on the strength of their 10th anniversary-marking best-of comp Payola. Show them we know how to get down. The Cribs are at Cargo — 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 — on Nov. 8 at 7pm. Student tickets are VND200,000, advance tickets are VND350,000, more at the door

The Life Cycle of Saigon The Saigon Players are celebrating their 10th anniversary with the show to end all shows — a cabaret-style sketch comedy that will rotate around the elemental truth of this city, the motorbike. Multi-talented xe om drivers, unflappable police officers, poseur bikers, competitive delivery guys, women motorbike riders in high heels and dreaded traffic jams — it will all be here, just a little more pleasantly than during your commute. The Life Cycle of Saigon plays on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 at 7pm, McSorley’s, 4 Thao Dien, Q2. Tickets are VND250,000 and provide you with one free beer or a soft drink — all proceeds go to Saigon Helmet Awareness and Helping Hand Saigon

You think you’ve got it covered? Think again...

Christmas Charity Bazaar Get into the Christmas spirit with the Charity Christmas Bazaar on Nov. 30, presented by The Deck. Go buy gifts, meet people and enjoy life by the river, all while supporting charities that support lifesaving heart surgeries for needy individuals and families in Vietnam. There will be a number of vendors selling unique products as well as live music and food. The Charity Christmas Bazaar takes place on Nov. 30 at The Deck, 38 Nguyen U Di, Q2

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Parisian Jazz in Saigon The sultry sounds of Parisian Jazz will transform Saigon’s own Boudoir Lounge into a romantic French locale from Nov. 16 to Dec. 15, with Japanese-Parisian Jazz singer Rie Furuse’s live jazz concerts happening nightly. Her original style combines contemporary jazz, fusion and jazz-pop, and has attracted people from around the world. Soon, Saigon will fall under her spell. Rie Furuse performs nightly from Nov. 16 to Dec. 15 at the Boudoir Lounge, inside Sofitel Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1. For more information on the singer, visit

The Month in Rugby Saigon’s own Geckos are set to take on two visiting teams in November as part of the SEA Cup, including the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Dogs on Nov. 2 and the Jakarta Komodos on Nov. 30. Both games are open to spectators — in fact, some home field support is appreciated — and take place from 4pm at the RMIT Sports Field in District 7. The Saigon Geckos play the Selangor Dogs on Nov. 2 and the Jakarta Komodos on Nov. 30, each match kicking off at 4pm at the RMIT Sport Field at 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7. For more information on the game, email

Guy Fawkes — the infamous face behind the failed assassination attempt of King James I — will forever go down in history as the man who almost blew up the House of Lords. Lucky for us, the fifth of November continues to be a night of explosive fun, and Saigon is no different! Presented by British Business Group Vietnam, Guy Fawkes Night comes just a little early on Nov. 3 at Snap Café, complete with a theatrical production of the foiled Gunpowder Plot and a “bonfire buffet”… which should be some solace for those missing the actual bonfire. The whole family is welcome for a night they’ll never forget. Guy Fawkes Night takes place on Nov. 3 at Snap Café, 32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, from 5pm to 8.30pm. Adult BBGV members’ entrance fee is VND350,000, with non-member fees at VND450,000. Children 11 years and older are VND350,000, and the little ones pay VND200,000. Tickets are available either at Snap Café or at the BBGV Office at G/F 25 Le Duan, Q1

Let us review your health insurance free of charge. free advice

Call Anna on 0909 379 256 Email or visit us: anna@

November 2013 Word | 29

Ho Chi minh city what s on Art in Style

Christmas Comes Early British Business Group Vietnam is throwing their Beatles-themed Christmas dinner party a little early this year — but really, isn’t it always a good time for The Beatles? All You Need is Love is a four-course dinner at the Caravelle — with fabulous cocktails, free flowing wine and beer — coupled with a one-night-only performance by their spiritual heirs, The Saigon Beatles. So get on your swinging 1960s attire on Dec. 6, and get ready for the most carnivalesque Christmas early December has to offer. BBGV’s Christmas party is on Dec. 6 starting at 7pm at The Caravelle, 19 Lam Son Square. Tickets are VND2.2 million for BBGV members, VND2.6 million for non-members. Call Tran on (08) 3829 8430 or check for more details

Artist Ngo Dinh Bao Chau and fashion design guru Phuong My collaborate in a stunning show of colour, light and shape with Silk of Light, an exhibition highlighting the interplay of light and fabric. With delicate pastel colours and playful light, Silk of Light commemorates San Art’s second collaboration with Phuong My, and marks an important milestone in Saigon’s art scene. The Silk of Light exhibition is viewable by the public until Jan. 15, 2014 at Phuong My’s flagship store, 81 Le Thanh Ton, Q1

Bazaar November

Dreams of Iron

Piano, Meet Zen Ancient Chinese poets had a thousand-year remedy for the stresses that come with everyday life. Now, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, in cooperation with the Saigon Culture Circle, is throwing a little piano into the mix, and setting it all in the poolside confines of Café Evita. The idea is to hone in on “listening — breathing — culture, the counterpart of noise”, and through Zen poetry recited by Dr. Frank Gerke and poet Nguyen Duy, it just might happen. Piano Meets Zen happens on Nov. 30 at 6.30pm, at Café Evita, 59 Ngo Tat To, Binh Thanh. Free entry

30 | Word November 2013

French artist Helene Kling, who has made Vietnam her home for over 17 years, will display her passion and love for the country with her exhibition from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18, entitled Dreams of Iron. The collection uses recycled materials such as corrugated iron and cardboard to create beauty from the industrial waste so common in Vietnam. Added precious stones and gold leaf create masterpieces that encompass the tough beauty the artist encounters in her daily life. Dreams of Iron takes place from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18 at The Exhibition House, 92 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. To see more work by the artist, visit her website at

Artsy Weekend Vin Gallery, after postponing their art market last month, are set to invite art lovers and collectors alike for the new date of Nov. 9. Browse through handmade artwork and craft goods, and perhaps get a jump on your Christmas shopping. The VinGallery Art Market takes place on Nov. 9 from 10am to 4pm, in front of the VinGallery space at 6 Le Van Mien, Q2

The Consular Club of Ho Chi Minh City is set to welcome locals and visitors alike to the 20th Annual Charity Bazaar, on Nov. 23 at the White Palace Convention Center. In addition to a range of international goods, raffle tickets with prizes like airline tickets, resort stays and spa packages are only VND50,000. To keep things festive, Santa Claus will be taking photos with children and adults alike. All proceeds will go towards helping those less fortunate. The Consular Club’s 20th Annual International Charity Bazaar comes to the White Palace Convention Center, 194 Hoang Van Thu, Phu Nhuan on Nov. 23. Entrance for adults is VND100,000, with children under 10 accompanied by an adult entering for free. For more information and advanced ticket sales, contact or visit the website at

San Art’s Residents Graduate The six-month arts residency that young Vietnamese artists Hong Ngoc and Thao Nguyen have been immersed in is coming to a close, with a group exhibition entitled Right Fiction, featuring painting, photography, installation and video. During their time, they were guided by established creative thinkers and able to come to their own conclusions without the usual constraints and pressures. See what they’ve come up with, starting from Nov. 7 at San Art. San Art is at 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh. Right Fiction goes from Nov. 7 to Jan. 24, 2014

Halloween Comes Late

The Race That Stops a Nation Melbourne Cup 2013 is on us once again, and the nation that it’s transfixing has some expert representation courtesy of An Phu’s freshest international restaurant, Lu Bu. The epicureans behind Vino are behind this venture, and know their way around the free flow bubbles, beer and cocktails that will pour on Nov. 5. The race will be shown in real time, as canapés and a threecourse lunch make their way around the regally-dressed crowd, all competing for prizes such as a return trip to Dubai. So put on your top hat and your racing cufflinks, and prepare for the Melbourne Cup to go “whoa!” to your heart. The race is on at Lu Bu — 97B Thao Dien, Q2 — from 9am to 2pm on Nov. 5. Tickets are VND1.2 million net per person, come by before the race to book your table. To reserve, call (08) 6281 8371 or go to Lu Bu’s page at facebook. com/luburestaurant

10 Years of Brazilian BBQ Just when you thought it was safe to have a quiet Sunday, in rolls Au Lac Do Brazil with its 10-year anniversary luncheon, featuring the all-you-can-eat Churrasco it’s been doing so well for 10 years. As the first authentic Brazilian Churrascaria joint in the city, they’ve been toting endless skewers of meat for dog’s years, and they won’t be stopping this Sunday. They’re also pairing the meats with oysters and a free flow of caipirinhas, Chilean wine, draught beer and soft drinks, all for a tidy VND999,000 net. Head down to Au Lac Do Brazil’s flagship location at 238 Pasteur, Q3, on Nov. 3, midday to 2pm. Reserving in advance earns you a limited edition anniversary gift for each table booked. Adults VND999,000, kids 12 and under VND599,000, contact for more info

National Geographic Exhibition In celebration of National Geographic’s 125-year anniversary, FOX International Channels, in partnership with Canon have organised a National Geographic photo exhibition in five major cities in Asia: Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore. The Ho Chi Minh City leg will take place from Nov. 2 and Nov. 8 on the third floor of The Crescent Mall in Phu My Hung, and will showcase 100 iconic photographs from the magazine including 10 photos by Cory Richards and 10 photos by Tim Laman. Also on display will be the three winning entries of Canon’s EOS Young Photographers Award. Entrance is free.

November has never been scarier, as Saigon Outcast (188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2) teams up with the Zombie Walk Saigon to bring a little Halloween to your regularly scheduled programme. The first fear you will feel on Nov. 2 is the fear of irreparably damaging your bladder — as unlimited free beers are poured from 5pm until the first (loser!) person goes to the toilet or leaves the premises, while White Noiz plays a sunset set, their first of three. Then zombie walkers can get their faces painted, do their walk, and come back “to party like MJ in Thriller”. Later on you might be afraid of losing at beer pong or chilli vodka foosball, or you might not — it just sounds like good clean fun to us. 4pm to midnight, VND50,000 in advance, VND80,000 at the door. The zombie walkers’ route is shrouded in secrecy, but needless to say it will be filled with bloody beers, a distinct lack of sexiness and, of course, brains. Wake Up Saigon is putting on their second annual zombie crawl, starting at Red Bar (70 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1) at 6pm on Nov. 2, where makeup artists will help you get ghoulish until 8pm, when the walk starts. From there, anything is possible — except a normal night. Or maybe you’re more the movie type, who also likes to dress up in fishnets and stilettos? To celebrate their 10th anniversary, the Saigon Players are putting on an audience participation-centred screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show at McSorley’s (4 Thao Dien, Q2), starting at 7pm on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. They provide the props, you provide the shenanigans. Tickets cost VND250,000, including a beer or soft drink. And what zombie walk is complete without a musicians-imitatingother-musicians classic rock-and-roll blowout? Starting at 8pm, Cargo (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4) is hosting Bob Dylan (Alec Schachner), The Fall (Brian Wilson's Brain), Misfits (Joy Oi!), The Beatles (The Lost Art) and Daft Punk (Marmalades) for the cheapest you’ll every see all these legends play together, free. Drink specials will be happening all night, and headbanging zombies are advised to watch that their heads don’t snap off from their necks.

November 2013 Word | 31

Ho Chi minh city Just In

Phu Yen Has a Five-Star Resort Crowne Plaza Danang Turns Japanese Foodies in Danang have one more dining option on their lists with the brand new Fukuoka Japanese Restaurant, opened in early October. With a menu that follows Japan’s four seasons, Fukuoka also features a Teppanyaki live counter and what they say are the most meticulously crafted Japanese delicacies in Vietnam. Fukuoka Japanese Restaurant is located at Crowne Plaza Danang, 8 Truong Sa, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang. For more information and to make a reservation, contact (0511) 391 8888

Just two-and-a-half hours north of Nha Trang, VietStar Resort & Spa is making five-star inroads into making the small city of Tuy Hoa accessible for luxury lovers. Sitting on 2,000sqm of garden and the appropriately named Phu Yen Gold Coast, VietStar was recently recognised for its efforts by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism. This holiday season, they’ll make themselves even more accessible, with a Christmas and New Year package at VND2,079,000++ a room per night, with a minimum of three nights booking. To see the sweeping views, go to

Health, Check! Family Medical Practice provides open and confidential walk-in appointment service after hours at the new Care I Clinic at The Manor. A sexual health check-up includes STI testing and treatment, HIV testing, and information and advice on maintaining sexual health. Convenient hours on Monday evenings allow anyone and everyone looking to stay healthy a chance to speak to qualified professionals. Family Medical Practice is located on the ground floor of The Manor, Apartment 1, 9 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh. Sexual Health services are available from 6pm to 9pm on Monday evenings. For further information, email care1_reception@

Nikko’s Got a Green Thumb Hotel Nikko Saigon showed off their gardening skills with the opening of their brand new Nikko Garden, yet another way for guests to relax. Nikko Garden is an outdoor playground with lush, green grass and plenty of space for jogging and sports. Amidst noisy Saigon, Nikko Garden is the perfect place to take a break and take a breath. Nikko Garden is located at Nikko Hotel Saigon, 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1. For more information on reservations — the only way you’ll be able to kick back in the brand new garden — call (08) 3925 7777 or email bqsm@

Kings of Crawfish Lovers of seafood are sure to have their hearts set aflutter with the opening of brand new downtown seafood hub Crawfish King Restaurant. Dishes include crawfish, lobster, mantis shrimp, American-style chicken wings, oysters, fruit beer, sea urchin and much more — promising a healthy meal for both your stomach and your wallet. Frequent eaters can participate in their appreciation programme, offering VND499,000++/kg crawfish on Mondays and raw oysters at VND10,000 per oyster on Wednesdays. Don’t miss happy hour from 1pm to 5pm, featuring 50 percent drink discounts along with deals on food. Crawfish King Restaurant is at 63 Truong Dinh, Q1. Contact the restaurant on (08) 6272 7888

FV Clinic Opens in Bitexco FV Hospital has just exported its world-class services to downtown, in the Bitexco Tower — good news for those suffering from altitude sickness as their clinic is on the third floor. The FV Saigon Clinic provides outpatient healthcare services, vaccinations, blood testing and diagnostic imaging, as well as the full array of general practice medicine you’ve come to expect from FV. The new clinic is fully equipped with an emergency room, procedure room, X-ray and ultrasound laboratory. The new FV Saigon Clinic is on the third floor of Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1. Call (08) 6290 6167 or schedule an appointment online at

32 | Word November 2013

Mr. Shakedelik is Back in Town

mr. Shakedelik

Mixologist Robert Sabitzer, featured in Word back in May, is making his sure-to-be-festive return to Vesper Bar this month, t was after a round layering of five cappuccino you me forcan more than just a six — we’re and packing all the dastardly shake a bottle shooters that the idea of doing a photo talking out of the ground here, not just the was first breached. Robert was only in boundary. In particular there was his SOS of coffee liqueur at. Our editor greatly enjoyed the cappuccino Saigon for the month of April, but the Blue, a four-layered potion made out of Bavarian-born, Austrian-raised self-styled lemon juice, liquid sugar, blue curacao and shooters and the tequila-blue SOS Blue. Mr. Shakedelik is suchcaracao a fun and gifted concoction, tequila. mixologist, that we decided to try and do There is a real pleasure having an Sabitzer is a true master classic cocktail. some ‘tailsof with the fire. experienced mixologist in town, especially if But first was that cappuccino shooter. you like your alcoholic drinks to come with swallow it atfloor once. Keepof it inthe your Landmark more than just someBuilding, beer bottle bubble. And Vesper Bar is on the“Don’t ground 5B Ton mouth and mix it up like you’re brushing to all those bar owners out there and fiveVesper Bar your teeth. When it’s warm, then swallow.” star watering holes, we need more of them. Duc Thang,is Q1. Check Ifor Robert from Nov. 7Fortunately, on at least one we know will be on the ground was the only one who followed the stoking the flames

robert Sabitzer shoots his way to unconcsiousness

floor of the Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1


instructions, and hell did I enjoy this devil. It went down warm, just like the iconic cappuccino, but with a dastardly kick. Certain other of his concoctions knocked

returning. Robert Sabitzer will be back at Vesper Bar in November. Time to get those juices rolling and those shakers shaking. — Nick Ross

16 | Word May 2013

The Observatory Grand Opening Last month was just a test-run — this month should show us what The Observatory is all about. Saigon’s latest venue and October’s most intriguing cultural development is aiming to demonstrate their capabilities, slapping up a new exhibition in the gallery, crowding the slate with music and spreading “plenty of sensory surprises… over the two floors, balcony and gallery throughout the evening”. If October was any indication, it should be good, unique fun. The Observatory is at the corner of Le Lai and Ton That Tung, Q1, and on Nov. 11 it will be accepting guests from 6pm

Pretty as a Pearl The Tahitian pearl — a stunning natural gem that is untouched by processing or dying — has long been difficult to come by in Vietnam. With the opening of Fakarava Pearl in Danang, however, Tahitian pearls are now available locally. Sourced from a beautiful lagoon in UNESCO World Heritage site Fakarava in French Polynesia, these Tahitian pearls are on sale through an online store and at the retail store right here in Vietnam. Fakarava Tahitian Pearls are located at 82 Che Lan Vien, Danang. Contact them via email at or visit their website at

November 2013 Word | 33


november 2013 the cribs live in saigon


n advance of the big British musicfest, UK Now!, a bigger band than anyone on the festival bill is taking the stage for Cargo’s Loud Minority series. The Cribs are just the latest “biggest band to come to Cargo” — go there and see Saigon at its best.

Nov 8 — Cargo — Cribs

dreams of iron


rench artist Helene King isn’t one of the touring European artists we’ve seen so much of this year, just here to give us the sanitised view of what her culture can contribute. Instead she deals with the underside of things — the waste and the rust we have so much of here.

01 Friday

11 Monday

Standpoint Theories. Music and dance performance, 7pm @ Cargo rocky horror picture show. Nov. 1 and 2 from 7.30pm @ McSorley’s Quatuor Arties. 8pm @ Youth Culture House. Get tickets at IDECAF

12 Tuesday

02 saturday Zombie Walk Saigon 2013. 6pm @ Red Bar halloween sunset. 4pm @ Saigon Outcast 1920 Costumes party – La Brasserie de Saigon 1st anniversary. 6pm @ La Brasserie de Saigon

Nov 14 - 18 — exhibition house

Chicken Wings Day. VND6,000/wing, every Tue. @ Crawfish King

13 Wednesday

03 sunday ARC annual Charity bazaar & 3rd anniversary party. @ Smartkids International Child Care Center (15 Tran Ngoc Dien, D2) BBGV annual Guy Fawkes celebration. @ Snap Cafe Brazilian Sunday Lunch. Au Lac Do Brazil 10 year anniversary, from noon to 2pm @ Au Lac Do Brazil (238 Pasteur, Q3) Canvas & Wine. @ VinSpace in Q1

04 monday 05 tuesday 06 wednesday 07 thursday

Tran Van Thao exhibition: Immersion. From Oct. 25 to Nov. 22 at Galerie Quynh Downtown Gallery (Lv 2, 151/3 Dong Khoi, Q1)

14 Thursday Bernard Magrez Grand Crus Classes Wine Dinner. 7pm @ Reflections, Caravelle Hotel

15 Friday Small Things Exhibition with Christmas theme. 6From 4pm to 7pm @ VinGallery D2

16 Saturday

16 saturday

08 friday Loud Minority presents THE CRIBS live in Saigon. 7pm @ Cargo

09 saturday Art Market. 10am to 4pm @ VinSpace in D2 Diwali – Festival of Light launch. 1pm @ Sheraton Saigon SGOC’s Outdoor pool cinema. From 3pm @ Saigon Outcast

10 sunday

34 | Word November 2013

super blôp!!! From 2pm @ Saigon Outcast

17 Sunday High Tide weekend sailing activity. Every weekend @ Saigon Dongnai Yacht Club & Marina. Visit for info

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

Apocalaughs Now


aigon Comedy Nights is giving us a fresh injection of perspective, thanks to the two well-travelled UK comics on stage this month. Consider it a public service — Tat and Devon from Saigon Stand-Up will be there, too, to give you a local perspective.

Foodies’ Thanksgiving


his Thanksgiving, there are no shortage of options to expand your homesick waistline — but isn’t that why you left the US? Instead, chill out with the Meetup group Saigon Street Foodies in Binh Thanh, where VND100,000 gets you an indigenous BBQ chicken.

Nov 19 — Cargo

18 Monday

Helene Kling Exhibition: Dreams of Iron. From Nov. 14 to 18 @ Exhibition House on Le Thanh Ton

19 Tuesday Wings Promotions. 20% off Buffalo Wings. Every Mon. and Tue. @ Hog’s Breath Café

20 Wednesday

Nov 28 — Saigon Street Foodies

25 Monday

Rie Furuse Jazz performance. Every night from 16 Nov. to 15 Dec. from 8pm @ Boudoir Lounge, Sofitel Saigon Plaza

26 Tuesday sunset menu. Everyday from 5.30pm to 7pm @ 27Grill

27 Wednesday

Dead farmers live. 8pm @ Darts Darts Darts Acoustic Thursday. Every Thu. @ Last Call beaujolais nouveau 2013. From 7pm to 9pm @ 3/5 Hoang Sa, Q1

Oyster Day. VND10,000/oyster every Wed. @ Crawfish King (63 Truong Dinh, D1) LOCO WEDNESDAY. Every Wed. from 9.30pm, live music @ Pacharan Saigon Spamcham networking night for charity. From 6pm to 8pm @ Jaspa’s Dong Khoi

22 Friday

28 Thursday

Sea Urchin Day. Special price for sea urchin, every Fri. and Sat. @ Crawfish King wine & riedel glass tasting. @ Bacchus Corner (158D Pasteur, Q1)

Thanksgiving Day Celebration. From 6pm @ Saigon Café, Sheraton

21 Thursday

23 Saturday 20th International Charity Bazaar. From 9.30am to 2pm @ White Palace Convention Centre

24 Sunday Sunday Roast. Every Sun. @ 27Grill (27th Fl AB Tower)

29 Friday 30 Saturday Saigon Charity Bazaar. From 10am @ The Deck piano meets zen. From 6.30pm @ Cafe Evita

November 2013 Word | 35

hanoi what s on

Grapevine’s First Art Exhibition The arts website, Hanoi Grapevine, will be celebrating its six-year anniversary this month with its first ever art exhibition. Running from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4 at the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, Volume One of the Grapevine Selection welcomes eight internationally-known artists to exhibit their work in a four-day programme. The official opening is on Nov. 2 at 6pm and five percent of proceeds of any artworks sold will be donated to KOTO’s training centres for disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. The artists taking part are Vuong Van Thao, Ha Manh Thang, Nguyen Quang Huy, Pham Huy Thong, Nguyen Minh Thanh, Pham Ngoc Duong, Nguyen Huy An and Le Quy Tong. For more information go to

DeutschlandFest 2013 German institutions, companies and cultural organisations in Vietnam will be gathering on Nov. 16 to celebrate all things Germany at the Vietnam National Museum of History. Titled DeutschlandFest 2013, the family day out will include live performances, a quiz with surprise prizes, German bratwürste (sausages) and beverages, German cars, traditional costume, Germany’s Next Top-Tabletop-Socker and Brother Grimm’s tales about princesses and wolves, all set in the prestigious grounds of one of Hanoi’s most historical and attractive buildings. The event starts at 10am on Nov. 16, and finishes up at 8pm after a performance by German pop-band Aufbau West. The Vietnam National Museum of History is at 25 Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem. For more information email

Go!Go! Japan! The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam has teamed up with to present a night of rock with Japanese and Vietnamese outfits taking to the stage on Saturday Nov. 16. The second installment of Go! Go! Japan! — last year’s event was organised in conjunction with CAMA — will transform the Van Ho Exhibition Centre (2 Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung) into a rock venue with Beatle-esque Japanese outfit Okamoto returning to Vietnam for a fourth time together with support from rock ‘n soul band The Ton-Up Motors and techno twins Ryukyudisko. An unnamed, emerging local rock band will also take to the stage. The event is free and tickets can be collected from 2pm on Nov. 1 from The Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3999 7419 or at the Rockpassion. vn Office, 66 lane 40, Ta Quang Buu, Hai Ba Trung and Cafe MDay, 110 Cau Giay, Cau Giay. The show starts at 6pm

36 | Word November 2013

Maritta Nurmi Laid Bare The works of Maritta Nurmi are laid bare at Manzi Art Space (14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh) this month in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Finland and Vietnam. The Hanoi resident of over two decades will present her solo exhibition, Anima, from Nov 1. to Nov 30. Exploring the metaphysical and the unknown, the artist takes on this challenge with her intellectual probing into the concrete meaning and essence of form and spirit. The artist’s current works use the animal form in many guises.



tMetiseko makes your [travel] wardrobe and interior eco chic. Boutique : 71 Hàng Gai, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội


Venetian Delicacies to match 20% discounted fine Venetian Wines Daily Business Set Lunch @VND210,000 including 1 soft drink Free Delivery

November 2013 Word | 37

hanoi what s on

Sad and Beautiful World TexMex Food Festival The sizzle and spice of Texan and Mexican cuisine comes alive on Nov. 8 at the allday-dining Mangosteen Restaurant at the Möevenpick Hotel. Entitled the Hanoi TexMex Food Festival, executive chef Trinh Cuong will be serving up anything from fresh beef Burritos to chimichanga, quesadillas and tacos and an array of side dishes, sweet delights and traditional refreshments. The kids don’t miss out either as there is a dedicated playroom featuring fun activities such as

arts and crafts, puzzle books as well as a movie. The festival will run from 6.30pm until 10pm and is priced at VND525,000++ per person. Children between six and 12 eat for half price, while those under six eat for free. The price includes a welcome margarita cocktail, as well as a free flow of draft beer and soft drinks. Mangosteen is at Möevenpick Hotel Hanoi, 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem. Tel (04) 3822 2800,

UNIS Reaches Out to the Kids The United Nations International School of Hanoi is offering full scholarships this year for four lucky students, as it expands its Scholarship Programme to include younger applicants. Applications open this month for 2014-2015 entry into one of Vietnam’s top international schools, in Grade 8, Grade 9 or Grade 10 with a 100 percent fee waiver. This is the third year for the Scholarship Programme which gives the opportunity

Six Senses Gets Big Recognition Six Senses Ninh Van Bay once again took home the title of “Vietnam’s Leading Spa Resort”, presented by the World Travel Awards held in Anantara, Dubai on Oct. 1. Billed as the Oscars of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards recognises the best hotels, spas, resorts and locations around the globe that are setting the standard in quality and luxury. For more information on Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, visit their website at resorts/ninh-van-bay

38 | Word November 2013

for Vietnamese students from a low socioeconomic background, who are excelling at their local Hanoi district school, to enter UNIS Hanoi with free education until graduation. Students can apply now with detailed eligibility criteria and application documents available Application deadline is Dec. 31. All questions concerning the Scholarship Programme should be sent by email to

Underground movie and documentary curators, The Onion Cellar, present their first movie festival from Nov. 15 to Nov. 24 in what promises to be a positive slant on some tough issues in this Sad and Beautiful World. Inspired by and named after a Sparklehorse song, the underground film festival celebrates life in all its hardships and wonder, with brief glimpses of beauty. Screening 13 films spanning various styles, lengths and subject matters, topics include depression, autism, schizophrenia, suicide, natural disasters, uncertainty and death, and on the flip side, hope, peace, freedom, and love and beauty. Curated by Hung Tran and organised by The Onion Cellar the line-up will include: Japan in a Day Matthew’s Laws As I was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty It’s Such a Beautiful Day I am Breathing The Devil and Daniel Johnston Sleep Furiously Gallivant Sound to Music England your England The Voyagers Movies will be shown at Hanoi Cinematheque, Hanoi Rock City’s Red Room, TPD and a secret venue. Tickets for individual screenings are VND50,000 or VND20,000 (student concession). A festival pass (access to all screenings and events) costs VND250,000. For more info and extract details of the screenings, go to,

French Classical Fare Jean-François Heisser and Marie-Josèphe Jude will perform at the Hanoi Opera House on Nov. 14 at 8pm with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Vietnam National Academy of Music. The show is organised by L’Espace and the Embassy of France in Vietnam. Tickets are priced from VND500,000 to VND200,000. Students enter for VND100,000. For delivery, please call: 0913 489858 or 0983 067996 or email: ticketvn@ The Hanoi Opera House is at 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem

Back to the 1960s Future Imagine being transported back into the 1960s. That is exactly what will happen at Tadioto on Nov. 9. Using the performance of a play written by S. Benamozig, different tools such as design, music, videos and theatre will be used to recreate the atmosphere of this period in history. The aim is to help the audience understand troubled moments in time without making judgments, while having fun, learning something and also having an enjoyable Saturday night. The previous show in the series, White Sheet, which was performed at Hanoi Rock City, attracted 300 people. The show takes place at Tadioto, 2nd Floor, Building A, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung. Doors open at 8.30pm and entrance is VND130,000 (Students, VND70,000). Anyone interested in getting involved in the production should email

November 2013 Word | 39

hanoi what s on Movember Movember activities in Hanoi this year will be put on by Fusion Oi and the Hanoi Holistic Health Group (HHHG), and will be launched at the Sound Garden event on Friday Nov. 1. Run to raise vital funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health, throughout the month of November, participating males (and females, if the case may be), grow moustaches in aid of the cause. At the end of the month — Friday Nov. 29 in this case — moustache growers will gather at Sound Garden for the judgement. Winners will receive prizes for different categories of facial hair — The Most Stylish, The Longest, The Most Volume, The Most Outrageous and so on. For more information email Karen Gay on or Doula on doula@ And to find out about Movember, go to

The Great Taste of Canada


nt ou

sc di

ly On

% 10

a to d l le t it ea en m is on ion e. up ot o, noi. rchas co H is omy Ha r pu th pr a o, pe y. 3 of er n ’s T ay H sed onl 201 ld diaon n, T be u ers c. 15 ho e nat D ng A can read De Th Ca a Qua upon ord . 14 to a 6 o W v 1 c e or No on F m o Fr

Together with the Canadian Embassy, Don’s Tay Ho will be running a Canadian Promotion from Nov. 14 to Dec. 15. Word readers will receive a special 10 percent discount off any items that are part of this promotion. The set menu will include Canadian beef, seafood — lobster, snow crab, oyster, black cod, whelk, kingcrab, salmon, halibut, mussel and scallop — Canadian wine and spirits, and fruits. To receive your discount off the set menu or any of the specials, simply mention that you read about the promotion in Word or cut out the coupon on this page. Don’s Tay Ho is at 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi

40 | Word November 2013

Beaujolais Nouveau After a three or four-year hiatus due to import restrictions, the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration will be returning to Hanoi this month on Nov. 21. A festival to celebrate the first wine production of this year’s harvest, as in the past Warehouse will be working together with well-known wine producer, George Duboeuf, to bring in the new stock direct

from France. Bottles of the good stuff will cost either VND300,000 or VND325,000, and Warehouse will almost definitely put on the standard party, where the wine is drunk with a side of coldcuts, cheese, cornichons and lots of French music. For more information, or to reserve your own bottles, pop into Warehouse at 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho or call (04) 3718 3701

Wagner and Mozart In Town There are a number of Wagner operas being screened at Goethe Institut this month with pre-screening introductory lectures by Graham Sutcliffe of Vietnam National Opera, as well as a planned screening of his entire Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen) at the Cinematheque. On Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 a concert by Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, including the overture from Mozart’s opera Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail takes place at Hanoi Opera House (1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem). On Nov. 7 at 6pm the Goethe Institut (55 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh) presents a screening of Wagner’s opera Der Fliegende Holländer. Nov. 14 sees the screening of his opera Lohengrin before his opera Tristan und Isolde will be shown at the Insitut on Nov. 21 at 6pm. From Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 Hanoi Cinémathèque (22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem) will show the opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Seigfried, Gotterdammerung). For more info on all the screenings and events check out

Diwali 2013

Mountain Marvels Named The first ever Vietnam Mountain Marathon was held last month in the Sapa area for the fittest of the fittest. With unique trail runs of 21km, 42km or 70km at altitude among the spectacular mountains of the north, so hardcore is this event that runners had to sign a waiver to participate at their own risk. Here is a list of the winners: 21km Race Winner: Ly A Song (Vietnam) Runner Up: Joakim Esaiasson (Sweden)

42km Race Winner: Yong Wai Cheng (Singapore) Runner Up: Jacob Green (Denmark) 70km Race Simon Grimstrup (Denmark) Timo Meyer (Germany / Japan) For anyone fit or crazy enough, registration for 2014’s mountain marathon events starts from Dec. 1. The race has been penciled in for Sep. 14. For more information go to

The biggest Indian festival of the year, Diwali or the Festival of Lights, will once again return to The American Club on Saturday Nov. 9. As in previous years the celebrations will feature Bollywood music, dance, Indian cuisine from the royal pavilions of the country’s northern and southern states, and various other stalls featuring western and Asian cuisine. At this year’s celebrations dance groups will showcase spectacular dance performances from various regions of India, bringing the tunes of Bollywood and western music to the festival. Tickets go on sale from Nov. 1 and can either be purchased in advance or at the gate for VND200,000 (adults) and VND50,000 (kids aged 5 to 10). Tickets are available at the Incham Office, Foodshop 45, Tandoor, Namaste Hanoi, Little India Restaurant, Platinum Cineplex (The Garden Shopping Mall), Tay Tap Bar & Grill and Tracy’s Sport Pub. The American Club is at 19-21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

HIWC Charity Bazaar The largest and most colourful family fun day and charity event in the Hanoi calendar is now in its 22nd year. Taking place on Sunday Nov. 24 in the grounds of UNIS out at Ciputra, last year the Hanoi International Women’s Club Charity Bazaar raised just under VND2.5 billion, with the cash supporting a number of projects with the humanitarian objective of improving the lives of women and children in the northern region of Vietnam. Run entirely by volunteers the HIWC

Bazaar last year attracted 150 tents with the participation of 33 different country/ communities and just under 9,000 visitors. Having sections for country community and charity and social enterprise alongside commercial stands, this is a full day of entertainment from around the world. This year’s event takes place on Nov. 24 from 10am to 3pm at UNIS Ciputra. For more details check out click on or contact Brooke Badon, Bazaar Coordinator at

November 2013 Word | 41

hanoi Just In

Zenith Moves

Sound Garden Party organizers Fusion-Oi and the Unusual Suspects are running a new party every Friday night throughout November, with the first bash being organized on Nov. 1 in conjunction with the launch of the moustachegrowing extravaganza, Movember. Going once again for an unusual West Lake location — in this instance, you will find the party at Quang Ba, End of Alley 12, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho — the line up will include DJs and some live artists unplugged, while the Fusion-Oi mixologists will serve up great cocktails. There will also be BBQ chicken, fish, jacket potatoes, salad and fruit on the side. The party will kick off at 5pm with Doula mixing a weekly playlist of jazz, reggae, soul and afro beat, before the unplugged artists come to the stage. This will be followed by a set organized by DJ InCogNegro, that will include turntable appearances from DJ Lukaku, DJ Jody Odie, DJ Taylormade, DJ Soul Spinner, & DJ GIGIMIX. Sound Garden will take place on Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. For more information go to or facebook. com/unusualsuspects

42 | Word November 2013

From mid-November, Hanoi’s oldest yoga studio will move from its original location on Xuan Dieu to 247 Au Co, just a few metres away from its existing premises. Operating on Xuan Dieu for seven years and running classes in Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa and Kundalini Yoga as well as Restorative, Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga, Kids Yoga, Meditation sessions, and Pilates taught by certified professional teachers,

the new studio is bigger and brighter. At the new location, Tay Ho communities and Zenith’ students will not only be able to attend the usual yoga classes, but they will also have the opportunity to try some nourishing and healthy dishes from Zenith Café. The new building is more spacious and also has a parking area out front. For more information go to

The Song Hong Half Marathon Registration has now opened for this year’s Song Hong half marathon, which will take place in Ciputra on Sunday Dec. 8. Organised by the Red River Runners, the race is run on the open streets of Tay Ho with West Lake as a stunning backdrop. For those who don’t fancy 21.1km of road running, there is also a

10km race, a 5km event and a kid’s fun run. All events start and finish in Ciputra on early Sunday morning, following a compulsory race kit pick-up and briefing on the Saturday. To register go to song-hong-2013/. All proceeds from the half marathon will go to support Education for Nature in Vietnam (ENV)

The Kitchen Relocates The Kitchen, one of Hanoi’s favourite hide-away cafes, has now relocated and is open for business once more at 30 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. The beautifully renovated house has a large courtyard and that most rare of Hanoi features — plenty of light and space inside. Staying loyal to its traditions, the Kitchen will continue to offer its unique take on sandwiches and salads, all made from the freshest ingredients, as well as all day breakfasts and authentic Mexican fare. The Kitchen’s weekend brunch will continue to satisfy and plans are afoot to expand the menu to appeal to a wider range of tastes. Upstairs at The Kitchen is an ideal venue for private functions, children’s birthday celebrations and large group bookings. For more information email or call (04) 3719 2679

New Homewares from Very Ngon Very Ngon Homewares has created a new range of wares showing antique images of well-known Vietnamese landmarks including Hoan Kiem Lake, a Tonkinese pagoda and a timeless streetscape from Dap Cau, just in time for Christmas. Along with small decorative pillows and four new cushion cover designs they have created iPad covers while the previously popular oven mitt will make a comeback with options for both the left and right handed. Also now in stock are four new tea towel designs. The products are sold in a number of locations in Hanoi. For more information email Lise Nguyen-Owen or Nguyen Thi Minh Hieu at

November 2013 Word | 43


november 2013

Back to the 1960s Future


he future sure hasn’t shaken out like they thought it would back in the 1960s. Time to get back there, in this design/music/video/ performance-driven play that aims to conjure up that weird, wonderful time in the world’s optimistic past.

1st Film Festival


he Onion Cellar’s film choices usually run you through the whole gamut of emotion — and this time they’re deliberately pushing your buttons, with a whole festival dedicated to what a strange, Sad and Beautiful World we live in.

Nov 9 — Tadioto

Nov 15 – 24 — The Onion Cellar

01 Friday

11 Monday

Writer workshops with Bestselling British author Albert Jack. Every Tuesday @ Bookworm Too, 6pm to 8pm. Runs until Nov. 26 Exhibition by artist Maritta Nurmi. @ Manzi. Until Nov. 30 Kuricorde Quartet. 8pm @ The Japan Foundation

12 Tuesday

02 saturday Canon Photo Marathon VN 2013. 6.30am @ Giang Vo Expo Centre The Third Science Film Festival. Runs until Dec. 15 @ Goethe Institut Opening of The Grapevine Selection. 6pm @ Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts. Exhibition runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4 Screening of Soul Kitchen (2009). @ Hanoi Cooking Centre

03 sunday

13 Wednesday

04 monday

14 Thursday

05 tuesday

Classical Concert with Jean-François Heisser and MarieJosèphe Jude. 8pm @ Hanoi Opera House Jazz evening. 8pm @ Millenium-Café des Arts, 11B Ngo Bao Khanh

Toastmasters Club. @ KOTO Restaurant, 59 Van Mieu from 6.45pm

06 wednesday 07 thursday 08 friday

15 Friday Opening of Sad and Beautiful World, The Onion Cellar Film Festival. @ Cinematheque, HRC, TPD and a secret venue. Go to for info

16 Saturday

16 Saturday

Texmex Food Festival. @ Movenpick Hotel. From6.30pm to 10pm Screening of L’Illusionniste. @ L’Espace, 8pm Literature talk with Dinh Vu Hoang Nguyen. @ Manzi, 7.30pm Sound Garden with Fusion Oi and the Unusual Suspects. 5pm to 11pm every Fri. in Nov. @ Alley 12, Quang Ba, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho

09 saturday Diwali Festival. 5.30pm @ The American Club UK Now! @ Van Ho Exhibition Centre.

10 sunday 44 | Word November 2013

Go!Go! Japan! Rock Concept 2013. 6pm @ Van Ho Exhibition Centre Come and Meet German. 10am to 8pm @ Vietnam National Museum

17 Sunday Hanoi Run for Children. For more information go to

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

Women’s Club Bazaar Moustachoied Mayhem


harity can sometimes seem like a raindrop in the sea, but the 22nd Hanoi International Women’s Club Charity Bazaar is a monsoon. Last year, 150 vendors and 9,000 visitors teamed up to raise nearly VND2.5 billion — see if your thrifty buys can help top that.


t’s getting colder, and the kooky, charitable souls at Fusion Oi and Hanoi Holistic Health Group want facial hair growers to mobilise for cancer and mental health awareness. With Movember coming to a close, on Nov. 29, there will be judging, cocktails, DJs and plenty of beer — just be careful not to get too much in your ‘stache.

Nov 24 — UNIS Ciputra

18 Monday 19 Tuesday Toastmasters Club. @ KOTO Restaurant, 59 Van Mieu from 6.45pm

Nov. 29 — Sound Garden

25 Monday 26 Tuesday

20 Wednesday 21 Thursday Screening of The Trip. @ Hanoi Cooking Centre

27 Wednesday

Right or Wrong? Talk Show with Giang Dang. @ Manzi, 7.30pm Beaujolais Nouveau Celebrations. @ Café de Paris (12 Luong Ngoc Quyen) 6.30pm Beaujolais Nouveau with George Duboeuf. @ Warehouse (27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho)

28 Thursday

22 Friday 23 Saturday Amcham Family Day. @ Ecopark, 10am to 3pm

24 24 Sunday Sunday

HANOI International Women’s Club (HIWC) Charity Bazaar 2013. @ UNIS Ciputra, 10am to 3pm Final day of Sad and Beautiful World, The Onion Cellar Film Festival . @ Cinematheque, HRC, TPD and a secret venue. Go to for info

Monthly Wine Tasting. @ Millenium-Café des Arts with Warehouse Hanoi, 6.30pm Special Thanksgiving Dinner. @ Pots ‘n Pans, 7pm Three-Course Thanksgiving Menu. @ Don’s Tay Ho until Nov. 30

29 Friday

Sound Garden with Fusion Oi and the Unusual Suspects MOUSTACHE JUDGING EDITION. @ Alley 12, Quang Ba, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho from 5pm to 11pm every Friday in Nov.

30 Saturday Closing of Anima Exhibition. @ Manzi

November 2013 Word | 45

in the papers The Best of the VietnameSe Press

Typhoon Nari leaves 11 Dead, 5 Missing HOANG SA ARCHIPELAGO (VIETNAM)

The central region of Vietnam was devastated by Typhoon Nari last month, which flooded thousands of homes resulting in the deaths of 11 citizens, with five missing. It has resulted in property loss estimated at VND1.5 trillion. Floods inundated more than 34,000 homes in three central provinces as a result of the

typhoon, which destroyed or damaged about 13,000 homes in seven provinces. The damage included homes that collapsed or had roofs blown off by the winds. Nari hit Vietnam’s central coast after crossing the Philippines over the weekend, killing 13 people there.


Saigon 2 and Long Thanh bridges Completed After 18 months of construction, the Saigon 2 Bridge in Ho Chi Minh City is open to traffic. Meanwhile, the Long Thanh Bridge, which links the city and southern Dong Nai Province, has also been completed. The Saigon 2 bridge, which links District 2 and Binh Thanh District, was completed three months ahead of deadline, according to the bridge’s investor. The new construction, which runs parallel with the existing Saigon Bridge, cost nearly VND1.5 trillion. It is 987.3m long and 23.5m wide, and has four lanes for cars with a maximum speed of 80kmph, and two lanes for motorbikes. According to its technical design, the new bridge can survive earthquakes of 5.1 to 5.5 degrees on the Richter scale and has a life expectancy of 100 years. Meanwhile, after three years and four months of construction, the Long Thanh Bridge, which spans the Dong Nai River to link the city and Dong Nai Province, is also complete. As a part of the 55km HCMCLong Thanh-Dau Giay expressway project, the bridge is 3.1km long and 19.7m wide, and has four lanes for vehicles to travel at a maximum 100kmph.

46 | Word November 2013

Russians sent packing Two Russians on Interpol’s wanted list will be extradited back to their home country after their arrest in Vietnam in July. Poliakop Valeriy, 39, and Kosenok Alexey, 36, were seized at the Lao Bao international border gate in northern

Quang Tri Province on Jul. 9. Russian authorities began to hunt the men in Sep. 2012 for allegedly committing a number of crimes, including trafficking weapons and explosives, kidnapping and blackmailing, intentional assault, robbery, theft and arson.

Firework factory blaze At least 24 people were killed and nearly 100 were injured in an explosion at firework factory Z121 in the northern province of Phu Tho. The explosion burned facilities covering thousands of square metres to the ground. The deadly blast instantly killed many workers at the factory’s workshop — with several charred beyond recognition — and shook the neighborhood within a radius of some 3km. As many as 98 injured people were rushed to hospital within hours of the blast, while local residents near the site also sought to run as far away as possible to avoid inhaling toxic gas, causing chaos and traffic woes.

A surviving lacquer work by artist Nguyen Gia Tri

in the papers

Ivory Tusks Nabbed

Nguyen Gia Tri painting restored A valuable painting by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Gia Tri, one of the country’s most revered artists, has been revamped at the French Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. The untitled, 3m by 1.8m painting, created in 1939 and owned by the consulate, is comprised of nine smaller lacquer paintings and depicts locals catching fish, rustic sceneries and pagodas. The painting sustained considerable damage such as colour fading and peeling. The consulate planned to restore it a long time ago, but couldn’t find a suitable artist among French, Japanese and local restoration experts.

With the recommendation of French artist Remy Jullien, artist Nguyen Lam managed to persuade the consulate with his 50-year experience that he was the man for the job. However, it took three months for his restoration plan to be approved by the French government and Lam had to meet stringent requirements. Tri (1908-1993) was the pioneer of Vietnamese lacquer paintings. The successful restoration paves the way for more potential revamping of Tri’s other deteriorating paintings, which were created from 1930 to 1940, such as Giang Sinh (‘Christmas’) and Ben Dam Sen (‘By the Lotus Lake’).

More than two tonnes of ivory tusks, hidden inside a container imported from Malaysia, were found by customs authorities in the northern port city of Hai Phong. After noticing a suspicious-looking container, customs officers decided to scan and open it for inspection. The customs declaration for the 40-foot container claimed it held 27.5 tonnes of sea shells, but in fact, it was packed with elephant tusks and other goods banned from importation. Each of these tusks was cut into three or four pieces, a customs officer said. The value of the tusks has yet to determined, but customs officers said a haul of 769kg ivory tusks in Hong Kong had an estimated sale price of US$1.49 million (VND31.3 billion) last week. Vietnam officially banned the trade of elephant tusks in 1992 to discourage hunting of the country’s dwindling elephant population.

November 2013 Word | 47

insider Photo by Kyle Phanroy

48 | Word November 2013

November 2013 Word | 49


Cake Me! The world’s 11th-highest paid DJ makes his living by incessantly touring, clocking nearly 270 gigs in the past year — so it was just a matter of time before Steve Aoki turned up in Vietnam. Ed Weinberg braces himself for the onslaught and the antics


teve Aoki’s prop rider includes six white cakes, an inflatable boat and an inflatable mattress. Nguyen Viet Anh, one of the founders of SouthEast Entertainment, the promoters bringing Aoki to Vietnam, reads on: “Inflatable swimming pool, minimum of five people — very important. Capitalised.” Why the cakes? “It’s very famous,” says Viet Anh of Aoki’s cake-throwing gimmick. “That’s why we are collaborating with a merchandising company. Everybody will have a ‘Cake Me’ shirt. Everybody.” Viet Anh and co-promoter Dagger Wolf are trying to capitalise on the propladen nature of Aoki’s live sets, which they think should translate well. “It’s way more of a hyped event,” Viet Anh says. “Even [more than] Bob Sinclar. Every single event in Ho Chi Minh City I’ve been to, they don’t create hype, they don’t educate people about the artist. More like, ‘It’s Bob Sinclar — he’s old, long hair, what’s up?’” “We can’t say ‘Aoki’ and ‘outdoor’,” Dagger says. “Locals don’t know that. We need to show it. It’s the only way.” They’re hoping to fit around 3,000 people into the space between Barbetta and the parking area at Zone 9 (9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung), where Aoki will be positioned on top of the dual-sided stairs at the end. Aoki’s ETA is Dec. 5, with a Ho Chi Minh City gig still unconfirmed the day before.

50 | Word November 2013

Soooo Freakin’ “I’m a time traveling, speed reading, fortune telling, machine gunning, gypsy loving, scuba diving, multi-tasking, poker playing fan of life. I like playing the odds.” — First lines of Aoki’s website bio One of the reasons it’s hard to explain Aoki is the breadth of his experience. He’s a peripatetic ball of energy, with the nickname ‘Pillowface’. The record label he started in the mid1990s, Dim Mak, has put out albums by MSTRKRFT, The Bloody Beetroots, Bloc Party, Battles and The Kills. He’s remixed The Jackson 5, Snoop Dogg, Peaches, Girls Generation and The AllAmerican Rejects. He’s collaborated with Kid Cudi, CSS, Lil Jon, Rivers Cuomo and the former guitarist of The Exploited. His father was a Japanese wrestler who also founded the American restaurant chain Benihana. But all of this does nothing to explain the reason that Aoki’s coming is an event. He regularly jumps from his DJing pulpit into the crush of people beneath — although his rider requires stairs connecting the downstage area to the pit for the way back up. The inflatable objects bob on this mass of crowd, providing a soft and metaphorical landing in the choppy seas of diverse genres and hard-hitting drops. He comes up if you type ‘Asian Jesus’ into a Google image search. And, sandwiched in between dates in India and China, Aoki is coming to Vietnam.

“All of this does nothing to explain the reason that Aoki’s coming is an event. He regularly jumps from his DJing pulpit into the crush of people beneath… He comes up if you type ‘Asian Jesus’ into a Google image search” Kicking Off a Scene Although SouthEast is a relative newcomer on the promotional scene, they’re moving quickly. They’ve done a pool party, which drew many more people than expected, and they’re feeling optimistic. “People loved it,” Viet Anh says. “Every single person I’ve talked to said, ‘I’ve been dying to participate in something like this.’” This is despite being warned about trying something like this in Hanoi. Dagger says, “Everyone we talked to [before the party] said, ‘It won’t work. Vietnamese don’t like swimming, and Vietnamese don’t like going in the sun.’ 90 percent of people there were Vietnamese — in the sun and swimming. “You get guided by people that are here, that’s going to be your biggest issue. You’ve just got to take it, ‘This is what I want to do,’ and make change.” Dagger has some experience in making change. The scene he helped create in Melbourne — centred in the pop-up art space he helped to create, The People’s Market — made a practice of it. It’s a 1,000sqm space in the bohemian wastelands of New Quay in the suburb of Docklands, composed of interwoven shipping

containers which host a rotating array of chefs, art exhibitions, crafty collectives, retailers and yoga instructors. People come for the unpredictability, the experience of being exposed to something new. This is the kind of feeling SouthEast wants to bring to Vietnam. They’ve got plans to bring in Elton John and Daft Punk. They’re starting up a weekly broadcast — SouthEast Radio — with interviews and chats with local artists. They’re setting up a charity called Music for Children, purposed to set up music schools in disadvantaged regions “where children can go in and learn how to play any instrument for free, DJ, play piano, anything”. All of this is with a central goal in mind. “Our business model,” Dagger explains, “is to create mini-concerts like this as an educational tool. People come here, see Steve Aoki — in January we’ll have another artist — get a better understanding of concerts, a better understanding of electronic music. In March we’ll have an electronic festival.” The plan is to get Daft Punk for this festival, who they’re already in conversations with. “Daft Punk doesn’t

really do concerts anymore,” Dagger says. “They don’t need the money, so we got them through Music for Children.” If this happens, it’s going to be huge — not just the day of, but for every day and every performer from then on. Dagger is optimistic. “If I knew the reception here was the same as Australia, we could guarantee a couple hundred-thousand people.” Hopefully the reception will be similar. Dagger and Viet Anh are banking on it. “Vietnam’s become attractive enough for international artists to come,” says Viet Anh. “All the international artists that come, it’s not because they hate it.” Vietnam is an attractive stop on an Asian tour, but it needs the kind of support network that can fund riders like Steve Aoki’s — through unconventional promoters, professional venues and intrepid fans. Viet Anh says, “We have to show them that Vietnam can be the new Japan.” Steve Aoki will be in Hanoi on Thursday Dec. 5 at Zone 9, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung. Tickets are VND960,000, and are available by calling 0912 885069 or visiting The gig the day before on Wednesday Dec. 4 in Ho Chi Minh City is yet to be confirmed

November 2013 Word | 51

The Binh Duong Train Yard

Trains, especially old trains, have a magic to them. From the old circle line in Yangon to the Puffing Billy steamer just outside Melbourne. Nick Ross was fortunate enough to be allowed access to the train yard in Binh Duong. Here’s what he found

54 | Word November 2013


t was described to me as a train graveyard. And yes, proudly sat out front is an old steam engine, repainted in black with red trim. And yes, inside there are old, disused carriages, in semi-dismantled states, that are being repurposed or used for parts. But the trainyard in Di An in Binh Duong is a living, breathing entity — it is certainly not an old people’s home for out-of-service trains to end their lives, rust away and die. Together with its big brother in Gia Lam in Hanoi, it is one of the only two workshops that remain for the building and repairing of the iron horse in Vietnam. But to call Di An a workshop is to do it a disservice. Built by the French in 1902, the original colonial-style building still stands, and is still the centre of the repairs, reconstruction, repurposing and repainting taking place in this yard. Such is the sense of history here that its owners have built a small museum, tracing back the site’s history. Inside you see images of worker exploitation, you see old black-and-whites of Uncle Ho and Le Duan visiting the yard and you see model trains, models that have become the engines and carriages that we see on Vietnam’s train lines today. It is a museum that few will ever see, but it demonstrates the pride invested in this place and in Vietnam’s long history with trains. There are talks of rebuilding the cog railway from Dalat to Phan Rang. There are also plans to create a high-speed railway line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. While these are still ideas, concepts that at present are far from fruition, it bodes well for places like Di An. At present it is not the high-tech kind of train workshop that you would expect to see in Europe or Japan. But for it to cope with the requirements of a high-speed railway line, it would need upgrade after upgrade. It might just be ready for that. The Di An Train Yard is at 8 Ly Thuong Kiet, Di An, Binh Duong. Entrance needs to be made by appointment

November 2013 Word | 55

56 | Word November 2013

November 2013 Word | 57

Illustration by Claire Driscoll

58 | Word November 2013

60 | Word November 2013

The Gordon Ramsay Factor When the Scottish chef notorious for series such as Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef came to Vietnam in 2010 to learn to cook Vietnamese food, he also learnt one indelible, unswerving lesson. While at first sight, cuisine in this country may seem simple, it’s surprisingly complicated to cook, even for a Michelin Star-decorated chef of the ilk of Ramsay. Episode 5 of Gordon’s Great Escape showed the complexity of Vietnamese cuisine in its true light. With only a week to learn a number of dishes, before having to cook to an audience of TV cameras and guests at the restaurant, Old Hanoi, Ramsay struggled. While his undercooked ribs — subsequently put on the menu as Ramsay’s Ribs — seemed to be a hit, other concoctions failed miserably. Which all goes to show. Learning to cook Vietnamese cuisine takes time.

62 | Word November 2013

November 2013 Word | 63

chao ORIGIN This creamy rice porridge — essentially congee — wears its Chinese origins on its sleeve. Eaten with crisp snippets of banh quay, it makes for a light breakfast or a comforting late-night snack. From a quick scan of vendors’ offerings, it’s clear you can put almost anything into chao, from chicken (chao ga) and pork (chao suon) to tripe (chao long) and heart (chao tim).

THE GUIDEBOOKS SAY... 214 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

WE SAY... Corner of Ly Quoc Su and Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi So 9 Ngo 105 Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

BECAUSE... Nothing improves a chilly day like a warm bowl of chao. From lunchtime to late afternoon, the chao suon vendors on the corner of Ly Quoc Su and Ngo Huyen ladle out steaming rice porridge flecked with pork. (They also sell chao trai). The bowls are small, but they pack a surprising amount of cut-up banh quay. If you’d rather chao down on something more unusual, head to So 9 Ngo 105 Bach Mai, where the creamy porridge gets a sprinkling of the roasted peanuts and spiced dried beef that typically top green papaya salad. It’s a tasty lesson in how street food is constantly evolving: all over the city, vendors are experimenting with new toppings. At 139 Pho Hue, chao comes topped with shredded crab leg; at 76 Lo Duc, mushrooms give the porridge a hearty flavour boost.

SOMETHING EXTRA… Chao is everywhere throughout Vietnam — watch out also for chao vit (with duck) as a particularly tasty variation. To taste the rice porridge in Saigon, try out Chao Ngoc Bich (113 Pasteur, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City). It’s a bit pricey here, but the whole range of fillings is available and the customers continue to return.

64 | Word November 2013

Don’t Forget… B un D oc M ung

Think of this one as pork’s comeback to pho. Tender sliced meat, meatballs and crisp stalks of Vietnamese mint are coupled with thick bun in a clear, flavourful broth. Try it in Hanoi at: 18 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem and 63 Xa Dan, Dong Da

B anh D uc

If chao is too mild for you, kick things up a notch with banh duc. Both rice porridges are smooth and creamy, but with a topping of minced pork, fresh coriander and pickled chilli and garlic, banh duc is far more exciting. In an alternate version, the rice batter is cooled and mixed with crunchy peanuts. Try it in Hanoi at: Ngo 46C, Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da and Ngo An Trach 1, Dong Da

B anh T om

Essentially savoury shrimp doughnuts, these late afternoon snacks were first sold around West Lake in the 1970s but can now be found citywide. Try it in Hanoi at: 55 Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem and Ngo Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem


66 | Word November 2013

November 2013 Word | 67

68 | Word November 2013

Che Like any food, these sweet desserts are subject to interpretation. Sidewalk stands serve traditional warm and cold che alongside Vietnamese takes on foreign desserts: che Thai, che bobochacha. Last summer, the capital went crazy for che khuc bach, cubes of panna cotta immersed in lychee syrup and sprinkled with slivered almonds. Here are a few more traditional options:

C he C huoi

Banana stewed in coconut milk. A similar technique is used for root vegetables like cassava, taro and sweet potato. Try it in Hanoi at: 20 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, 35B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Hai Ba Trung

C he D au D en

A refreshing, slightly sweet soup made from black beans. Its close relative is the mung beanbased che do xanh. Try it in Hanoi at: 16 Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung and 4B Nguyen Quy Duc, Thanh Xuan

C he T hap C am

‘Mixed’ che that varies depending on what the shop has on hand, from mini jellies and lotus seeds to banh troi (a mochi-like sweet filled with mung bean paste), sesame seeds and grated coconut. Try it in Hanoi at: 16 Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung and 72 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem

X oi


Like xoi xeo for the insatiable sweet tooth, here sticky rice is topped with sweetened mung bean paste. Try it in Hanoi at: 16 Ngo Thi Nham, Hoan Kiem and 93 Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem

November 2013 Word | 69

bun mam ORIGIN Perhaps one of the most recognisably southern dishes in Vietnam, bun mam comes from the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, its pungent aroma and unseemly moulding of strong flavours making it not for the faint hearted. Try it if you dare.

THE GUIDEBOOKS SAY… 22 Phan Boi Chau, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City

WE SAY… 22 Phan Boi Chau, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City

BECAUSE… Bun mam generally has plenty of vegetables, but in few bowls will you find an entire pickle floating beside three whole shrimp, which is why the guidebooks do get it right with this one. While 22 Phan Boi Chau just beside Ben Thanh market is perhaps avoided by expats in the city as to avoid being too “touristy”, the trip for a bowl of bun mam is certainly worth the risk. A price of VND45,000 will get you a bowl packed with perfectly boiled vegetables, thit ba chi, shrimp, squid and scrumptious broth that is both sweet and delightfully pungent.

Street Food in Hue

Street Food in Hoi An Trained chef and former Word food writer Sarah Clarke moved up to Hoi An a few years ago for some old town culture, peace, quiet and beach. We asked her where to find the best street food dishes in town, dishes that we covered in this story (so, no chicken rice here, unfortunately). Here’s what she came up with from the home of cao lau.

M r H ai

6A Truong Minh Luong, Hoi An Cao lau and mi quang (all day)

T hanh

26 Thai Phien, Hoi An Cao lau. My favourite but erratic opening hours

Rated as the location for some of the best cuisine in Vietnam, the former capital of Hue has had its best-known dishes adopted and adapted by its less regal metropolis cousin in the south. In recent times even Hanoi has joined the party. That doesn’t mean the fare has been bastardised. Anything but. Instead it’s been altered for both the southern and northern palates, and popularised. If anything is going to act as free publicity for Hue, it’s not the old walled citadel, it’s the cuisine. So, if you’re the kind of person who has to eat a hamburger in Hamburg or cheddar cheese in Cheddar, and want to try that famous cuisine at its source, to follow is a list of where to go and what to eat. Put together by our friends at Hue-based NGO, Fashion4Freedom, by popular vote they have compiled a selection of the best Hue dishes and where to find them.

B anh K hoai

Tai Phu, 2 Dien Bien Phu, Hue The go-to banh khoai joint for all of Hue. Wrap the banh khoai in rice paper with nem lui. Don’t forget the mango slices.

C om H en

Truong Dinh, Hue A very local spot. Clams are picked from the Huong River each morning. The dish is notorious for a guaranteed stomachache. People keep coming back, so it must be an ache worth having.

B anh C anh C a L oc

L ien

Di Minh on Ba Trieu, Hue Hue’s answer to pho, this soup with banh canh noodles and fish is a hearty snack or a light evening meal.

B un C ha C a

Restaurant at the ParkView Hotel, Ngo Quyen, Hue Since the former imperial capital is so well-known for its vegetarian cuisine, we thought we’d include the best restaurant in the city. Hue’s answer to Quan An Ngon, here you’ll find everything from stuffed tofu to bun nuoc and banh khoai. All the street food you could desire in a classier environment without the plastic stools.

16 Thai Phien, Hoi An Cao lau. The best place to go when Thanh is closed Near 1 Thai Phien, Hoi An Sells mornings only

B un C ha C a

99 Nguyen Truong To, Hoi An Afternoons only

M i Q uang

117 Tran Cao Van, Hoi An Afternoons and evenings

V egetarian

Vietnam’s chilli sauces are hot, darn hot, especially if you don’t get them out of a bottle. Here’s a lowdown on the country’s foray into the world of spice. Words by Nick Ross

74 | Word November 2013

November 2013 Word | 75

76 | Word November 2013

Banh mi/my has evolved from its humble baguette-and-spread French origins to something uniquely Vietnamese. Ed Weinberg takes a look at a few western delights which seem poised to take that plunge. Photos by Francis Xavier

78 | Word November 2013

Pho Mai Que

Sausage Delight

If you’ve driven down Phan Xich Long in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan, or perhaps steamed down Tran Nao in District 2 on a late afternoon, then you may well have seen Xuc Xich Leon King replete with a lifesize cardboard cutout of the sausage ‘vua’, Klaus Rutt. Leon King is Klaus’s son. Rutt has taken his barbecued-onthe-spot sausages to the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in an attempt to sell his own version of the German sausage to the general public. That he is expanding suggests that his curbside exploits have been a success. And that it’s no longer just Klaus himself taking care of the barbecue portends well for the future. But as with all novel ideas in this country, true success takes time. Let’s hope that Leon King’s path to sausage heaven isn’t made at a crawl or found stuck in traffic. Otherwise he could be occupying curbs for a long, long time to come. To see more of Leon King, search for Xuc Xich Leon King on Facebook

It was a trend that started last year in Hanoi, and there are no signs of it abating. To go along with the deep fried sausages, fish balls and meatballs, you can now buy mozzarella breadsticks, known otherwise as pho mai que. The obsession apparently started on Ta Hien in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, but quickly spread. The mozzarella is covered in a common batter made from a combination of flour and cornmeal, and the resulting ‘stick’ is similar in appearance to your average fish stick. It’s typically served scorching hot, and upon being bitten into, its inner cheese oozes out. But why it has become an obsession is a bit more difficult to ascertain. Apparently, Korean burger chain Lotteria started selling it first, but it was only when a Ta Hien entrepreneur got hold of the idea and put it on the street, that it really went out to the masses. And as any pho mai que fan will tell you, the obsession is probably just because it tastes good. By all accounts, the mozzarella cheese stick is here to stay. You can even find it in Saigon — just do a search on to get your fill.

Photo by Thiep Nguyen


Subsidy Era Crockery In a modern Vietnam where restaurant goers can eat off a variety of plates, Ed Weinberg examines a return to an older, simpler style — symbolised by the familiar tableware of a bygone era.


wo blue-enameled metal plates sit between us as 33-year-old Hanoi native Nancy Swan says dreamily, “My only real memory of these is when I was in kindergarten, all the kids had to use them… The adults didn’t want us to break the porcelain ones. “They actually didn’t have anything else. And this is easy to make, they can make it even from the iron of fallen aircrafts. It was at a time that all Vietnamese made their kitchenware from the aircraft.” After 1975, a rebuilding Vietnam struggled to put itself back together in any way it could. All resources were fair game. Some took airplane hatch doors and used them in place of house doors, which they lacked. The particular plates we’re eating off of at Goi, a Hanoi-style eatery in Ho Chi Minh City (87 Nguyen Du, Q1), are military surplus,

80 | Word November 2013

produced nowadays by Nha May Trang Men Hai Phong — ‘Enameled Iron and Aluminium of Hai Phong’. According to Goi’s owner, Phong Hai Du, everyone alive back then will recognise the plate’s seal. “Back then,” Phong says, “we didn’t do a logo. Everything had that stamp. That stamp will take everyone back to the 1980s, I’m sure it hasn’t changed.” Using these plates was a very deliberate move in the restaurant’s planning process, with the thought behind it extending as far as the cubbyholed walls, which carry old cameras and thermoses, oxidised metal things, antiques that look vaguely Soviet. “We went with [these enameled plates] because of the whole ambience,” says Phong. “We thought about regular ceramic china, but it could be anything, it’s not entirely relevant to anyone. The era that we want to

set is somewhere in the 1980s. Early 1990s, late 1980s, that’s when all of us — me and my partner — practically grew up. We were all born in the 1970s.”

An Idealised Memory The 1990s era of uneven, exponential change doesn’t have the same effect on Vietnamese nostalgia, in part because it was neither here nor there. It was a becoming — a time in which Vietnam’s values were shifting, when its people realised they wanted what they didn’t have. “Everything in the 1990s is very blurry,” Phong says. “It’s a little bit of the old, a little bit of the new stuff. The 1980s is very authentic.” Nancy calls the blue of these metal plates “the colour of peace and clean”. And this is the way nostalgia is waking in

Reliquary “It’s a kind of ruin art,” says Nguyen Van Kien, owner of Hanoi lit-café The Booklink (Bep 4, cho Sinh Vien, DH Nong Nghiep, Gia Lam Pho). For a couple of years Kien has been collecting forgotten relics of the period, ceramic bowls pushed to the back of cabinets, cups placed top-down in gardens as ornaments. He’s sourced them from his home province, Hai Duong, and from a pagoda in the commune of Kim Lan. It’s proven more difficult than he thought at first. “[I] thought we had a lot [of the crockery]

in my family when I asked them to bring some to me,” he says. “But no more. All were thrown away.” His parents haven’t used the bowls for years. “They think they’re old-fashioned,” he says. “Now they have colourful ones.” At Kien’s old place of employ, Bookworm Too (6 Lane 1/28 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi), the plates and bowls he’s collected were exhibited this summer, and now are stickered in the VND500,000 range.

A Renovation What was once considered cheap and distasteful is now being appreciated. Restaurants like Ho Chi Minh City’s Cuc Gach Quan (10 Dang Tat, Q1) utilise this glazed, white clay crockery, hand-streaked with blue paint by crafters in places like Hai Duong and Bat Trang, to serve meals that would be just as comfortable on porcelain. Something in the cracked vessels works on their mostly younger, mostly well-off patrons’ subconscious minds. In a place like Cuc Gach, where comfort is the raison d’être, the use of these bowls speaks loudly. A Hanoian restaurant, Cua Hang Mau Dich So 37 (‘State-run Food Shop No. 37’, 37 Nam Trang, Ba Dinh), digs even more deeply into this nostalgia with a concept entirely devoted to the Bao Cap era — dispensing ration stamps to customers, mixing yams in with the rice. Toni Nguyen devotes a blog post to the restaurant on her site,, which references this newfound perspective on one of the most difficult periods of Vietnam’s history:

“Our dreams in those days were so simple, just to travel to Hoan Kiem Lake by train and eat Trang Tien ice cream,” said one woman. All of a sudden, tears dampened their eyes. It had been years since they’d recalled the joy of eating Trang Tien ice cream… (At a time when life was so tough that rice was mixed with yams, ice cream had been an impossible luxury for most). Everyone was absorbed in the nostalgic ambience. If the dishes were a bit slow to appear, they all joked: “That’s the subsidy era!” To Kien, these emotions are connected with these artefacts, at least for those old enough to remember. Some people “think they’re ugly, they remind them of the hardest times so they don’t like to see it anymore”. Collecting the crockery and giving it some spotlight is done with the younger generations in mind, those who weren’t there to experience these hardships, and the sense of identity they instilled. “I think that young people need to see this thing, which is disappearing,” he says. “If we have exhibitions, and cafés display [this crockery] more and more and the newspapers keep talking about it, then young people will realise the value and notice the old things. If you hide the bowls in the corner they will not see the value, but if I keep talking about it and the café keeps displaying it, then gradually they will have the same interest.”

November 2013 Word | 81

Photos by Francis Xavier

Vietnam, for Phong and Nancy and others their age and younger, who didn’t feel the true hardship of Thoi Bao Cap — the Subsidy Era. During this time, from 1976 to 1986, times were difficult. Every family had to make do, living in similarly meagre conditions. For them, it’s a beautiful period, tied up in childhood and an idealistic innocence. As we’re sitting in front of Goi talking after the lunch rush, a story comes to Phong’s mind. “World Cup 1986,” he says. “Every block maybe had four or five families that had a TV, maybe one of them had a colour TV. Back then it was in Mexico, so the games here started at midnight or 2am. We all gathered at that particular house with a TV. And whoever lived in that house didn’t have a choice, they had to host us. Imagine you have a living room with 40 or 50 of your neighbours in it.” He shakes his head. “That’s just how it was back then, and we liked it a lot better than now.”

The Dutch Special

Holland Village Holland Village 2013 promises to be even more spectacular than its first incarnation in Vietnam three years ago. One of the most colourful events of the year’s many 40-year diplomatic relationship celebrations, Derek Milroy gets the lowdown from Project Manager Hyunju Park

82 | Word November 2013

Huge crowds take in the first Holland Village in Ho Chi Minh City back in 2010. Photos provided by the Netherlands Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City


he term Dutch Master has evolved from referring to artistic greats such as Rembrandt or Van Gogh to modern-day footballers like Johan Cruyff or Marco Van Basten. A bit of both will be on show at Ho Chi Minh City’s September 23 Park from Nov. 22 to Dec. 1, when the area next to Ben Thanh Market will be transformed into a little part of lowland Europe. Holland Village was first held in Vietnam three years ago. Attracting one million visitors, this time round it looks set to be bigger and better. “Holland Village is a uniquely fun and interactive platform for visitors to celebrate and learn about The Netherlands,” says project manager Hyunju Park. “In 2010, we introduced the painter Rembrandt. This year you will see Van Gogh walking around. You will discover his bedroom and paintings. The master will guide his students — Dutch international school students and Vietnamese students — to jointly produce a meaningful painting to reflect both countries’ friendship on one big canvas.” The village has 40 different features, activity areas and programmes with 20 participating organisations and sponsors.

While there is certainly a business angle to the event — the idea is in part to promote Dutch business — the organisers are also aiming to create a little slice of Holland in the heart of Vietnam. More than 5,000 hibiscus and anthurium in green, white and pink have been grown for months to be showcased at the event. There is also a 25-metre 3D PhotoZone set to a backdrop of a typical Dutch city street. According to Hyunju, entering the village will be like finding yourself transported to a street in The Netherlands. Obviously, it’s an effect created without the help of The Tardis, a DeLorean or a time machine. While the standard travelling Holland Village set-up has been showcased in a number of countries around the world, this particular version is unique and has been constructed solely for its appearance in Ho Chi Minh City. It should nonetheless prove successful in providing that all important ‘time continuum’. “The street consists of typical shop houses, and at night, you will see superb lighting illuminating from these show houses,” explains Hyunju. “There will be an exhibition of photographs in celebration of 40 years of the bilateral relationship [between The Netherlands and Vietnam]. There will be a

Dutch snacks corner, where you can try fish Dutch-style, stroopwafel (syrup waffle) and poffertjes (mini sweet pancakes).” The list goes on. The Holland Village extravaganza will be open daily 4.30pm to 9.30pm from Nov. 22 to Dec. 1 at September 23 Park in downtown Ho Chi Minh City

Behind the Scenes The Sponsors FrieslandCampina DHV, Heineken, Unilever, Dutch Business Association Vietnam, Philips, Dalat Hasfarm, NedSpice, East-West Seeds, Royal HaskoningDHV, Air France KLM, Shell, De Heus, Vopak, ING Bank, Kneppelhout Korthals, Vietnam Trade International, NedCoffee, Peja. Supporting organisations Dutch Business Association Vietnam, CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam, Eye Care Foundation, Heartbeat Vietnam, Nuffic Neso Vietnam, Maastricht MBA Vietnam.

November 2013 Word | 83

The Dutch Special

The Dutch Lady Having just turned 90, the best-known face of Holland can be found in every corner shop in Vietnam. Derek Milroy reports on the phenomenon that is Dutch Lady. Photos by Yves Schiepek


product they trust.” In four simple words FrieslandCampina Vietnam managing director Mark Boot sums up why the Netherlands company and its iconic brand has gone from strength to strength in Southeast Asia, and in particular Vietnam. The little lady from Holland, Co Gai Ha Lan, made her Vietnamese debut in 1997 after FrieslandFoods, before its merger with Campina, teamed up with local partner Protrade in Binh Duong. “We started off with good results and have still managed to be a success in a really tough market,” says Boot modestly. If only it was that simple. Deputy managing director Tran Quoc Huan recalls how the firm had the fight of their lives to make its mark in Vietnam. In 1992, the Green Field project team of FrieslandFoods recruited a lady who was working for Banque Credit Lyonnais to be its permanent representative in Ho Chi Minh City. The bank was helping the Vietnamese authorities equitise state-owned enterprises, as before 1985 there was no private sector in Vietnam and in 1992, state-owned enterprises accounted for 95 percent of the economy. The lady was heading that team and therefore had an in-depth knowledge of major state-owned enterprises. From that initial connection, in 1993 the Green Field team started joint-venture negotiations with Protrade in Binh Duong, the first firm in the province to do business with a western company.

Back to basics At the time, says Huan, Binh Duong was a poor agricultural and heavily forested province but with huge potential. A year later the joint-venture license was granted with investment capital of US$30 million (VND630 billion). In 1995 the factory construction began, and 12 months later it was built with lines installed for four product groups: sweetened condensed milk, UHT milk, UHT drinking yogurt and instant milk powder. The workforce was recruited and trained, the distribution network was set up and the company was operational three years ahead of its rivals. “When these two tough competitors [Nestle and F&N] entered the market in 1998, our brands were well distributed, known, trusted and used, but that doesn’t mean it was easy,” says Huan. “In the same year, we made our first profit and increased our capital — Protrade extended the duration of the land rental to 50 years. As a foreign investor in dairy manufacturing, it was extremely tough going at first. For 20 years from 1975, Vinamilk had a monopoly and obviously it was going to be so difficult for us to make an impact in the face of Vinamilk’s extremely strong position.” The firm’s success came from a back to basics approach. Besides aiming to have a presence in the big cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, FrieslandFoods was determined to distribute its products into the poorer rural areas, village by village — the company wanted to reach every

household nationwide. To do this required bypassing wholesalers, whose loyalty often lay elsewhere, and selling directly to every single small retail outlet that it could persuade to stock its products. This door-to-door strategy took time but it worked. In just four years, in distribution terms Co Gai Ha Lan became the market leader. By the turn of the century, global research firm AC Nielsen began defining a dairy outlet as “an outlet where Dutch Lady can be found”.

The Royal Seal Heading back to modern day, Boot, who arrived in Saigon three years ago, insists the continued success is all about the product and the Dutch Lady is in safe hands. Run as a cooperative and armed with over 14,000 farmers, all who have a share, FrieslandCampina has a product it seems people genuinely want, one with the Dutch Royal stamp of approval. As Boot explains, the cooperative manages for the next generation; the firm uses the ground and environment, so it is obliged to help out the local community. It now has 3,500 Vietnamese farmers delivering milk, and brings its expertise to local farmers in a dairy development programme that ensures quality. “The economy of Vietnam is growing and people are looking for better nutrition, so we can help with that. But everything starts with your product,” says Boot. “Customers need to have very good products, good taste, good nutrition and

“The firm’s success came from a back to basics approach — the company wanted to reach every household nationwide. To do this required bypassing wholesalers, whose loyalty often lay elsewhere, and selling directly to every single small retail outlet that it could persuade to stock its products”

84 | Word November 2013

FrieslandCampina Managing Director Mark Boot

one of the foremost things — a product they trust. Try not to disappoint your consumers. If the product is all these things and affordable, the customers keep coming back.” He adds: “Farmers are very honest and down to earth, and they care about the community. We are not just here to create profit, but to create shared value, to make sure we help underprivileged children, for instance. For the past 11 years, we have built a school yearly. Recently we opened a school in Quang Ninh. We have given more than 20,000 scholarships to help children finish their education. Wherever the country is present we give something back.”

With Great Power… The milk market can be precarious at times. Just ask New Zealand giant Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, which back in August performed a global recall of 1,000 tonnes of dairy products after tests turned up a type of bacteria that apparently could cause botulism. Boot insists that traceability is essential as a milk producer, and as it is providing the ‘food of life’ there comes a great responsibility. When parents hear about milk scares it causes panic. “We bring global standards when it comes to quality and safety to Vietnam,” says Boot. “If you sell milk powder for babies, for instance, families are depending on your product, so you cannot have half measures when it comes to quality or safety, an area where we invest a lot.” “It is all about traceability of your product and making sure you really control the supply chain,” he continues. “We are one of the few companies that have direct contact with all our farmers; we can control the quality of the farm. We collect directly from them, have electronic scanning of the quality, and they get paid immediately. That helps us control the quality as we hope there will be a very healthy Dutch Lady in Vietnam for a long time to come.”

November 2013 Word | 85

Examples of water conservation projects in the Netherlands Photos provided by the Netherlands Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City

The Dutch Special

Elixir of Life Climate change, rising sea levels, rising salinity levels of surface and ground water and clean drinking water problems all contribute to some tough times ahead for Vietnam. But help is at hand. Words by Derek Milroy


f you are an outsider looking in at urban surface water you can see two main things. One is the production of water — getting it out of the river and making it clean — and the second part is the distribution through a network of pipes to customers.” Outgoing resident project manager of Viten Evides International (VEI) Sytze Jarigsma is talking about water, the reason he is in Vietnam. Sytze has been involved with Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO) for six years, helping its entire water operation in Ho Chi Minh City. VEI, a

86 | Word November 2013

subsidiary of the two largest water supply companies in The Netherlands, assists sister water companies in developing countries to improve their operations. It costs VEI and others to send in its top experts like Sytze and incoming resident project manager Rik Dierx to contribute to improving Vietnam’s water supply, but they believe it is money well spent. As Sytze explains, though, the fact that VEI helps other water supply companies is relatively unique in the world. “Companies who help with operations and maintenance are very rare,” he explains.

November 2013 Word | 87

“We make a contract for as many years as possible; part of the funding is paid by the firms’ own means and is topped up by others such as the Dutch Government, Asian Development Bank and World Bank. Normally the contract is for at least three years, with extensions later.”

Beautiful Holes According to Sytze, most companies in Vietnam are quite good in the production of water but still have difficulties with distribution. “It is very difficult all over the world, but especially in Ho Chi Minh City because your pipes are not under your control,” he explains. “You put them in the ground and two weeks later someone lays a cable right on top — and while they are digging they make beautiful holes in your pipes.” He adds: “Water losses are a serious problem. Almost everything that you do is costly and here we concentrate on minimising water losses from the distribution of pipes.” Sytze explains that he made it very clear to SAWACO from the moment he arrived that he was only here in an advisory capacity. The employees would have to learn how to do things for themselves. “SAWACO asked us, ‘What are you going to do?’ I said, ‘We are going to do nothing. You are doing it and we will try to work with you and show you how to do it.’ That’s quite a big difference from other companies who are often contracted to do the work for them. We can come in, train the staff and introduce SAWACO to better ways of doing things, and train and guide their staff with the implementation. We are not here to make money.” One important aspect of Sytze’s work is the creation of sturdy new pipe systems especially for poor urban areas — intended to completely cut leakages. One of the Dutch government’s targeted Millennium Development Goals is to give more people access to clean water. VEI concentrates on achieving this process.

Leakages VEI uses these new systems as demonstration projects, to show others how to make a very sturdy system which has

88 | Word November 2013

“Your pipes are not under your control. You put them in the ground and two weeks later someone lays a cable right on top — and while they are digging they make beautiful holes in your pipes”

A site in Tra Vinh Province earmarked for a reservoir project Photo provided by Viten Evides International

almost no leakage. “By comparing inflows with water consumed in the new area, we can show that the water loss is less than six percent,” says Sytze. “The average leakage when we arrived here was between 40 and 43 percent, which means that for every cubic metre produced, almost half was lost.” But why Vietnam? Sytze explains part of the reason why the Netherlands government chose Vietnam is that they looked around and judged it to be a good place to work. People were eager to learn, and have high losses and a lot of issues to deal with. VEI knew that it would be a challenge, but felt they could really help Vietnam. Sytze has recently left his post — replaced by Rik, who is now focused on a new climate change and water supply project in the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. He will be based here until 2017. This project aims to cut water loss, reduce energy and chemical consumption, and to develop plans to help water companies adapt to the impacts of climate change and the growing salinisation of ground and surface water. It may also include the construction of storage reservoirs to cover the dry season, when sea water reaches much further inland. “As ground water is taken out it

contributes to or accelerates natural land subsidence,” says Rik. “This is another reason why river deltas like the Mekong can be even more at risk to rising sea levels. We are going to encourage firms to be more efficient in the water they use and to use public water supply or surface water instead. The salinity of ground water rises the more you extract. Fresh water is a precious good. A balance is necessary. Over-extraction will lead to an unsustainable situation and local society will suffer.”

Education Rik will also look to bolster water education by working together with Can Tho University’s Dragon Institute, which specialises in climate change impact assessment and mitigation measures, and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands, to develop a curriculum that combines water supply and climate change. This will be taught at Can Tho University. More directly, he will work with Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces to put in place regulations on the use of ground water. This will include helping with campaigns to stimulate the efficient use of water and make people aware of the effects of climate change on water supply.

Dutch expertise

Photo by Kyle Phanroy

The Netherlands has extensive knowledge and technology to meet water challenges in Vietnam. Living in a densely populated delta below sea level, the Dutch were forced over centuries to develop extensive knowledge and experience in finding high quality, sustainable and affordable solutions to protect delta areas and enable delta life. Since both Vietnam and the Netherlands are facing challenges with regards to coastal zone management, flood control and adaptation to climate change, there is a solid basis for continued cooperation. Vietnam has received extensive development assistance from The Netherlands in the water and climate sector since 1998.

November 2013 Word | 89

The Dutch Special

Beyond the Suits Diplomats tend to be seen as dry and characterless. But the two men at the helm of The Netherlands’ efforts in Vietnam are anything but. Indonesian-born Ambassador Joop Scheffers and Consular General Simon van der Burg talk to Derek Milroy about life before Vietnam and their hopes for the future relationship between the two countries Joop Scheffers

relations. I am so happy that the latter part of my career took me to Asia. It feels like it was meant to be that way. Why do I feel so attracted to Asia? I was born in Indonesia. I had an Indonesian mother and a Dutch father. I lived my first seven years in Jakarta before my family left for The Netherlands. That might explain why I feel so comfortable working and living in this region. Already in the first few weeks of my posting in Hanoi I was struck by the positive energy of Vietnamese people. In the past five years I have seen how fast Vietnam is moving forward. In a remarkably short period of time, life has got better and Vietnam’s prospects remain bright. Of course, I do not close my eyes to the many challenges ahead, both domestically and internationally. The global economic crisis and ongoing globalisation require structural reforms, not only in Vietnam but in many other countries. In all my presentations for Dutch visiting delegations I always start with the opening

sentence: Vietnam is a fascinating emerging country, future-oriented and going through rapid social and economic changes. The Netherlands and Vietnam have proven to be natural partners in a number of areas. The economic prospects of both our countries are determined by their strategic locations on river deltas, serving as gateways to much bigger hinterlands. Both countries have already been working for many years in five key sectors: water management and delta technology, agriculture, maritime and shipbuilding, oil and gas, and transport and logistics. We are already strategic partners in the field of water management and climate change adaptation, and soon we will be strategic partners in the field of sustainable agriculture and food security. Our relationship has evolved in line with the changing times: away from traditional development aid to a broader, deeper and more equal partnership. Holland Village will display how the Dutch see their commitment for ever increasing cooperation with Vietnam.

Photo by Francis Roux

The Netherlands Ambassador to Vietnam Having been in Vietnam now for almost five years I am happy to say that my posting as the Netherlands ambassador is exceeding my expectations. Vietnam has been on my mind since my youth when the [American War] was on TV and in the newspapers. I still remember many soldiers were about my age or only slightly older, while I had a comfortable life in Amsterdam. My life was about going to school and later university, and living happily with my parents and brothers and sisters. So Vietnam was part of my youth. I also remember the many demonstrations in Amsterdam against the war, but I was too young to participate. At that time I was more interested in the race to the moon, which the US finally won with the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. With a number of friends who were also interested in space flight, we founded a space magazine later that year, Spaceview, of which I became the editor-inchief. As a journalist I covered the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971, during my first visit to the US. Travelling cheaply on Greyhound buses and staying in cheap hotels, I travelled for five weeks throughout America. I saw Apollo 15 lifting off from Cape Kennedy and visited many other space facilities in the US. This experience made me decide to join the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs after completing my law studies in Amsterdam. My career has taken me to many countries and I learned a lot about international

“I saw the Apollo 15 lifting off from Cape Kennedy to the moon and visited many other space facilities in the US” 90 | Word November 2013

Consul General of The Netherlands in Ho Chi Minh City I arrived in January 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City. I like the friendly people, the beautiful country, the climate, the food and of course driving around on a motorcycle. My family joined me in July when the children had finished their school year in The Netherlands. We have lived before in Belgium, Russia and the US, so it is not our first time overseas unpacking our possessions and making new friends. The kids love to cycle to school. My wife and I actually went backpacking around Southeast Asia 20 years ago, before I joined the Foreign Service. It is great to be back in this vibrant region. Living abroad is one of the greatest perks of working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I have a passion for travelling, so I will take the opportunity to visit the different parts of Vietnam but also other countries in the region. Vietnam and The Netherlands celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations, but the trade relations go back further. In 1633, the first Dutch vessels of the Dutch East India Company reached the shores of what we now call Vietnam. Since that time the Dutch East India Company maintained trade relations with the Vietnamese kingdoms of Tonkin in the north and Quinam (later Cochinchina) in the south. Supporting trade between the two countries is one of the main objectives of the embassy and the consulate. We assist Dutch companies present in Vietnam and companies that would like to enter the market. Both Vietnam and The Netherlands consist largely of low-lying deltas, which are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels and heavy rainfall make the water and climate change sectors vital for our food supplies and security. The Netherlands and Vietnam have signed a strategic partnership agreement on climate change adaptation and water management. Of course we want our trade to be socially and environmentally responsible. This is a goal that Vietnam and The Netherlands share. As in the past, The Netherlands seeks to encourage socioeconomic development. The difference is that now we pursue our goals through trade rather than aid, building a solid, equal commercial partnership for the decades ahead. I firmly believe that the future has even closer ties in store for our two countries. I am confident that by the time our 50th anniversary arrives in 2023, The Netherlands and Vietnam will look back with pride and pleasure on yet another decade of solid friendship and cooperation.

Photo by Mads Monsen

Simon van der Burg

“My wife and I actually went backpacking around Southeast Asia 20 years ago, before I joined the Foreign Service� November 2013 Word | 91

Jacket: VND1,799,000 | Shirt: VND1,039,000 | Skirt: VND799,000 by Topshop

92 | Word November 2013

Top: VND1,599,000 | Bottom: VND1,279,000 | Necklace: VND639,000 by Topshop

The western fashion press has been taking some heat recently for ‘cultural backgrounding’ — putting someone from a different culture in the frame, as a contrasting backdrop for the models to sashay around. But what happens when the model and those around her come from the same culture? Then it becomes just another day in Vietnam, where culture can be as fluid as a new pair of pants.

November 2013 Word | 93

Photos and Makeup by Francis Xavier Styling by Kathryn Cardenas Modelling by Honey Nguyen Topshop is on the Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1 Dr Martens can be found at Hoang Phuc International stores, 187 Hai Ba Trung, Q3

Top left: Jumpsuit: VND2,399,000 | Necklace: VND999,000 by Topshop Bottom left: Top: VND1,319,000 | Skirt: VND1,279,000 | Necklace: VND1,599,000 by Topshop | Shoes: VND3,290,000 by Dr Martens

94 | Word November 2013

Dungaree Dress: VND1,699,000 | Top: VND959,000 by Topshop

November 2013 Word | 95

HCMC City Guide BUSINESS 110 / EAT 117 / BARS 122 / CAFES 125 / ARTS 126 / LEISURE 128 / WELLNESS 132 / ELECTRONICS 135 / INTERIORS 136 / GROCERIES 138 / GENERATION V 139 Photo by Nick Ross 96 | Word November 2013

Many Faces


Business Buff..............................................114 Food Promos.........................................118 Job Search........................................120 Coffee Cup...................................125 In The Frame.......................127 Body &Temple.............130

The Laugh Track to Success 098


It’s Showtime 100


Hospital Hesitations 102

the past

Cycle to Swim 104


DB Wunderbar 106

street snacker

Ca Ri Ga 107 November 2013 Word | 97


The Laugh Track to Success Maybe it’s the mix of cultures or the fact that motorbike jokes are usually unfunny, but English language stand-up has never stuck in Vietnam — until now. Ed Weinberg goes high and low (like midget-joke low) to inspect the nascent scene’s offerings. Stand-Up Saigon photos by Kyle Phanroy

pe, o N o? me’s h k w y na ins” c u l M “Chorry. e Hol s ierr P

e. “Yeah, mat y m This is Jim o McGhie. N s Chuck joke e” n with this o


nly once did I hear a funny motorbike joke. It detailed the initiation levels of expats, from the ones who take taxis everywhere because “it only costs like one quid”, to the savvier expats like presumably everyone in the audience that night, who balance adventurousness with a sensible degree of road fear. Then there are the master expats “who don’t even wear a helmet anymore, because their heads have attained the leathery indestructibility of a newborn child’s”. We all laughed, roared really. This was the kind of humour that adds something to its listeners’ lives — perspective, a coping mechanism. The next time I felt frustrated by the laissez-faire traffic styles of the people I share a road with, I could remember that equanimity and smile instead. Instead of anger and condescension, this jokemaker had found absurdity to be a better reply.

98 | Word November 2013

This is a lesson the comics at Stand-Up Saigon are still learning. James Dilday, Belle Bruhahn and Tat Wa Lay’s invite-them-up — which James started with Dan Murray three years ago — has fostered a very open spirit, which produces things as diverse as the motorbike joke above to an abortion sing-a-long the crowd was very obviously not into. It’s hit-and-miss, rough-hewn stuff, but it has planted some seeds of soul-bearing jokesmithery in this city.

The Pros Former core member Chris Baker went on to play regular gigs at Saigon Comedy Nights, Vietnam’s first foray into the kind of international alt-comedy Comedy Club Asia has been bringing elsewhere in Southeast Asia for the past six years. Founder Jonathan Atherton feels that it’s overdue. “I think Vietnam has been ready for international stand-up for years,” he says.

And though language and culture barriers are more of a thing here than in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, Saigon Comedy Nights has been drawing in the crowds — even if they’re not quite selling out. Comedy Club Asia’s circuit formerly brought touring comics as close as Phnom Penh, and the only thing that warned them off up to now is the sometimes dicey logistics of local business. “The biggest problem we face in Asia is securing suitable venues,” Atherton says. “I am constantly in conflict with ignorant alcohol pushers who will spend a fortune on leopard skin chair covers and nothing on a decent sound system. “Venue owners often think they understand entertainment because they have hired Filipino cover bands.” Fortunately, none of that applies to Cargo Bar, where visiting wisecrackers have been wisecracking for the last few iterations of

“F ara ear o f of Cchnop spide ho rs h cal uck N bia, f is led orr ear ‘log is is ic’”

“Chuc counted k Norris to in — twice”finity

Saudi Secret Police was in the audience. Thankfully he liked my stuff, or I wouldn't be here to tell this tale.” He’s been on Jim’ll Fix It and done a cartoon for “strange phenomena” magazine Fortean Times. For unexplained reasons, Shanghai City Weekend has said that he “should be made the mayor of a small village”. And his universally endearing styles should work here, too. His secret weapon? A certain “vulnerability”, an openness to the spotlight and the people staring into it. “Crowd interactions generally work anywhere,” he says, “because you're creating something of the moment, by including the audience right in front of you, reacting to their input. I think all audiences appreciate the improvised elements of any comedy show, being carried along by the energy of the spontaneity.”

was s i r Nor r Wars k c u “Ch l six Sta s the in al vies… a” mo Force

“I’m nervous, so I’m picturing you all naked”

Saigon Comedy Nights, and will be again on Tuesday Nov. 19.

The Irascible Jimmy McGhie British comedian Jimmy McGhie can’t promise he won’t make any motorbike jokes. “I imagine you lot are sick of hearing about [the traffic],” he recognises. “But no doubt by the time we've made it from the airport to the hotel and seen a family of seven plus pets and the weekly shop balanced precariously on a moped, my comedic brain will start whirring!” Reading that over email, I question my litmus test for a moment. The man is funny, I’ve seen it on YouTube. But what he brings can’t be replicated over email — it’s timing, pure and simple. And maybe it will change my mind about motorbike jokes. Through his opening night riff at the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival I hear that timing, as he slowly teases phrases like “in-ca-pacitated with lust”, and wields

rapport with an audience of thousands through dry winks and artful pauses. Describing his new live-in arrangement with his girlfriend, he says, “You know, you live together so obviously” — he shrugs with a boyish smile — “sex on tap.” The audience laughs, and he winks and turns deadpan. “That’s a massive lie, innit.”

Far-fetched and Semi-dangerous Fellow Brit Pierre Hollins — who’s been compared to Bill Hicks, but with the occasional musical accompaniment of a onestring electric squash racket — is no stranger to different contexts. When I give him the motorbike question, he responds, “It can’t be worse than Mumbai traffic, surely,” which is a pass in my book. He’s done a few trips to the Middle East, including one on which he “insisted on doing material about Islamic extremism, then discovered the Brigadier General of

Stand-Up Saigon will be supporting at Saigon Comedy Nights’ Apocalaughs Now, this time sending two of their scions up to the big leagues. The stakes will be higher, and the clever audience involvers more scarce — Stand-Up Saigon features free tequila shots for open-mic’ers, Chuck Norris jokes laid out on tables for those without material, a caption contest and a fictional bachelor dating game, featuring George W. Bush, Jack the Ripper and Mr. “can go platinum on a blank CD”, Chuck Norris. Although still struggling to come to terms with the environment they’re making fun of — in a very public and at times unsettling way — our local stand-ups are learning from the best. And when the pros go home, their humour is what we’ll have to rely on. Apocalaughs Now is part of the Saigon Comedy Nights series and will take place Nov. 19 at Cargo Bar, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4. For further information email saigoncomedynights@ Entry is VND250,000 and includes a free San Miguel. For more information on Stand-Up Saigon, email standup.saigon@gmail. com or go to their Facebook page on standupsaigon

November 2013 Word | 99



It’s Showtime On October 18, Dragonfly Theatre Company finally pulled back the curtain of their debut performance of Dangerous Liaisons. Karen Hewell gets a backstage pass to the trials, tribulations and ultimate triumph of the ambitious stage production. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


t’s half an hour before showtime. Dragonfly director Jaime Zuniga is darting around Q4, putting out fires while cheerfully greeting guests as he hurries past. So far he’s tracked down a roll of duct tape, adjusted and re-adjusted the seating that hugs the stage and located a mysteriously missing champagne bottle that makes an appearance during the first act. He’s visibly twitching with nervousness, but manages to maintain an air of complete control despite his shaking hands. “There are always things that can go wrong, and usually they do,” he says. “It’s nothing unexpected, though. Really, it’s part of the thrill.” He darts in and out of the dressing room, where the nervous energy is

100 | Word November 2013

ten-fold. Theatre rookie Diem My has been muttering lines under her breath for the past half an hour. Belinda Shorland, who plays the deliciously evil Marquise de Merteuil, splashes cheerfully around the dressing room with a crimson red smile, her cascading black and red lace skirt trailing behind her. Aaron Toronto has his lips pursed in concentration as he silently inspects his costume for the second act.

Necessary Sacrifices In 30 minutes, the actors will take the stage for the opening night of Dangerous Liaisons — a nearly four-month labour of love. The final weeks of preparation for tonight have been tireless, including what Jaime describes as an “incredibly long” dress rehearsal process where nearly a quarter of the

blocking had to be changed to accommodate for massive hooped petticoats worn by almost all of the female performers. Lastminute adjustments to the script persisted until hours before the debut performance, and complex choreographed dance numbers were rehearsed countless times. Still, the final show looks different from the extravagant image that directors Jaime and Aaron envisioned, after being forced to make massive concessions in set design and props. “Budget [played] a big part of it. Some things [were] more expensive than we [anticipated],” says Jaime. “When you are trying to put a show like this together, you know that 18th century furniture might not be available.” After three fruitless months of searching

for corporate sponsorships and even launching an IndieGoGo crowd funding campaign, Dragonfly still came up shorthanded. The choice was a difficult one — either make sacrifices or go far into the red. Ultimately, the choice was made to forego the elaborate stage pieces for something within their means. One key set piece — originally conceived to be an antique chaise longue — would have cost the theatre troupe VND16 million. Ultimately they conceded to use a modest bench that was lent to them by Red Door Deco. Ornate period backdrops that were meant to be hand-painted replicas of lavish 18th century French interiors gave way to projected images of set pieces that could be easily switched between scenes.

A Show of Passion But while some necessary adjustments were made, some aspects weren’t up for debate. “Where you don’t make concessions is on the quality of the acting,” says Jaime. “That’s the only thing that we [won’t sacrifice], because that’s the only thing left for us to really shine out there.” Each and every actor spent hours examining their character, working with Jaime and Aaron until the last moments before the show. A final climactic sword fight was rehearsed on stage five times only an hour before the audience arrived, and actors were still running through scenes as they added final touches to their makeup on opening night. The result was an ensemble-driven production that showcased the dedication, passion and creativity of the troupe. An operatic arrangement of U2’s Love is Blindness was performed live by Stacey McCandless and Aaron Toronto, and sultry bedroom scenes became choreographed dance numbers performed to Beyonce and Adele. The bare bones set design was overshadowed by the powerhouse performances from Dragonfly’s actors, whose passion smouldered through the three-hour emotional rollercoaster storyline. A triumph of will for Dragonfly Theatre Company, Dangerous Liaisons marked a moment of true achievement in Englishlanguage theatre in Vietnam. Against all odds, Dragonfly staged one of the most ambitious theatrical performances they had ever embarked on, and they did it in spectacular style.

November 2013 Word | 101



Hospital Hesitations Part three of a three-part series on volunteering, in which the thoughtfulness of Margaret Smith reaches its limit. Photos by Yves Schiepek

102 | Word November 2013


t was 8.15am on a Thursday morning, and I was in the hospital. This wasn’t your average hospital, though. Gone were the western world conveniences of computers in every room, private exam spaces and the newest medical tools. Fans whirred overhead, because the air conditioning wasn’t on in the room. Doctors were writing down notes in little white booklets, on the front of which the names of each patient were carefully written. Old exercise equipment creaked in the next room, where patients were doing physical therapy. I was at a free clinic on Hai Ba Trung, hanging on the border of Districts 1 and 3. Not all hospitals in Vietnam are like this, and Saigon is known for having some of the best doctors in the country. Big names like Columbia Asia Saigon, FV Hospital and Family Medical Practice all have modern facilities. However, none of these places give out healthcare for free, and I doubt any of them would have let me volunteer. I was in the last month of my volunteer project, and there was only one thing to cross off the list: working at a hospital. It was the assignment I was most dreading. Working at a hospital is easily where I am the most out of my comfort zone. I don’t know anything about medicine, and I don’t have a desire to learn. Hospitals, however, are one of the first organisations potential volunteers look to, and they can be difficult to get into. Why is it so hard?

Getting In At the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois — my last home base before Asia — potential volunteers have to go through a screening process that includes a criminal background check, health and immunisation record review and individual interview. Only then are they placed in what is determined as an appropriate assignment. Luckily, it’s not that difficult in Saigon. I was fortunate enough to have an old

co-worker who had already volunteered at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. A quick Facebook message to her got me the location of the hospital and how she set it up. “I set it up through the Project Vietnam Foundation,” she wrote. “I don’t know if you need medical background but you could ask. I’m sure if you even went by and said, ‘I want to help,’ they would let you!” And that’s exactly what I did. Walking towards the building, I passed a statue of Jesus Christ on my left, the sunlight hitting his face. To the right you could peek into the neighbouring church, where a few people were praying. The sounds of students playing came from a school next door. It was empty and quiet when I walked in. A small information desk stood to the right of the entrance, where a young woman wearing a white coat was sitting. The normal, awkward introduction of, “Hi, my name is Margaret Smith. I want to vo-lun-teer,” got me into an exam room. There, two middle-aged Vietnamese women greeted me. One was wearing a nun’s habit and glasses, while the other donned a white coat. “So what would you like to do here?” the woman in white, who had the better English skills of the two, asked me. “What do you want to learn?” “Well, um, what do you need help with?” I replied. They don’t have a lot of patients, she explained, and usually most volunteers come because they want to learn. But I could work in traditional medicine, she said, and maybe hang out with any of the children they receive. A meeting with the head doctor and letter of introduction from my official employer got me in.

Helping Out? About a month after my first walk-in, I find myself in the same exact exam room talking to a Dr. Son. It was my first day of volunteering, and I was scheduled to shadow him from 8am to midday.

Dr. Son is an old, religious man, with white hair and a long, thin face. He hasn’t practiced his English very much in the last 40 years, he explains with a smile. But he can still speak enough to talk to me about the small picture he’s holding: a postcard-sized painting of Jesus Christ, with scenes from his life dotting the border. “I’m Catholic,” Dr. Son says. “Are you?” “I’m Lutheran,” I reply, a huge white lie seeing as how I haven’t been to church in about 10 years. As we wait for the first few patients, he starts talking about the photo. Here’s the angel telling Mary that she is with child, here’s baby Jesus being born on Christmas Day, here he is with his disciples… The first patient walks in. Thank god. Throughout the course of the day, we see a dozen different patients. They include a potential Catholic monk who needs a general exam; a woman who had a stroke a few months ago and can’t move her right hand or foot; a 102-year-old woman who has absolutely nothing wrong with her, but came in because she’s afraid of getting diseases. At first it’s interesting, and Dr. Son does a good job translating. About halfway through the day, though, he stops doing it so frequently. And I sit there with no idea of what is going on. When the patients stop coming in around 10am, he finally shows me around. We look at the areas for acupuncture, dentistry, laser acupuncture (where a four-year-old girl is getting some sort of cupping therapy done) and psychology. In the psychology ward, he leaves me to talk with the doctor in charge, and goes off to finish his work. Will I keep volunteering at the hospital? Probably not. Out of all the experiences I’ve had this is the one where I’ve felt most like a burden. They don’t know what to do with me, and I don’t know what to do with myself. And it’s brought home one of the great truths about volunteering — maybe going into a situation like this as an untrained person who doesn’t speak the language isn’t helpful at all.

November 2013 Word | 103


Cycle to Swim A recent cycle ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau is helping to save lives by raising much needed funds to teach children to swim. Photos by Mads Monsen


fficially, 10 children drown every day in Vietnam. Unofficially, the rate may be double or even triple. The reason? Most children in this country haven’t learnt how to swim. To help out and raise much needed funds to change the tide, on Oct. 19 a team of cyclists set out on the 130km trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Ho Tram — the second annual Ho Tram Water Safety Charity Bike Ride. Ho Tram Water Safety is a consortium of organisations, companies and individuals committed to improving water safety in the Ho Tram area, 40km north of Vung Tau. One contributor is Water Safety Vietnam, a charity based in Melbourne, Australia, whose mission is to teach kids — and train adults to teach kids — how to swim. Since 2011, 300 kids have been taught to swim and 22 trainers have achieved Austwim accreditation. As part of their efforts, Australian

104 | Word November 2013

instructors regularly visit Vietnam to teach kids at Hong Bang University in Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Tram and most recently in Vung Tau. The result of these efforts has been the erecting of a community pool at Ho Tram behind the local people’s committee. Using seed funding of US$22,000 (VND462 million) raised from the first bike ride and approximately US$80,000 (VND1.68 billion) via donations of materials, labour and services, the 25-metre pool was now been completed. It provides a focus and homebase for the swimming lessons that children in the area so desperately need.

From Humble Beginnings In the first months of operation, 100 kids were taught to swim by the local trainers, which was 10 times more than before the pool was built. Training is ongoing and kids from other nearby wards are now joining in.

The consortium will manage and operate the pool on behalf of the people’s committee. In the next 12 months, the plan is to establish a surf lifesaving facility at Ho Tram. Many surf lifesaving clubs, popular in Australia, are partnering on the project with the aim of Ho Tram setting up its first formal surf lifesaving training camp in December. Equipment, including the red and yellow beach flags, will be procured with funds from October’s bike ride. Lifesavers will be recruited from local lifeguards, resort beach staff and volunteers from the Ho Chi Minh City business community. The long-term vision is to cultivate a partprofessional, part-volunteer organisation, with city professionals giving up their weekends to come to Ho Tram and help fight the good fight. And ultimately, to save lives. For more information email or go to facebook. com/hotramwatersafety

November 2013 Word | 105



Sauerkraut, sausage, meatballs and schnitzel, our undercover reporter goes German this month. Photos by Yves Schiepek


DB Wunderbar

ou can probably imagine my horror when this month my editor told me that we were going German. “German?” I replied. “Didn’t we beat them in World War II?” My editor nodded gamely. I continued, “You mean sausages, schnitzels and beer right?” “Well, more than just that,” he said. “There is pork knuckle and, uh, meatballs… they even do sauerkraut.” “Dude,” I said. “We’ve just done an article on eating healthy food. I mean, going German is doing the opposite, right? This isn’t what I moved to Vietnam for.” He looked at me in the eyes and stopped for a while. “There’s nothing wrong with a little variety,” he said eventually. And thus I gave in to the whims of my editor.

owner, surely it must be here. There was also a rumour I heard, a story of some huge guy wearing a German flag sandwich board in rush hour on Dinh Tien Hoang, carrying the descriptive words ‘xuc xich Duc’ as he tried to entice customers into his joint. Arriving for my meal I found this to be true. I saw him with my own eyes and was happy that this was not just one of those charming oddities that you hear of in this city of ours. That the restaurateur, who I can only assume was DB himself, is prepared to put himself out like that, is something you have to respect. So, forgetting my obviously unfounded prejudices about the fat content of hearty German fare, I sat down to my meal of curry sausages and German meatballs with a smile pursing across my lips. It may just really be ‘wunderbar’.

Wonders Never Cease

Curry a la Deutsch

My problem with German cuisine is that it’s hell on my waistline. The food may be tasty, but with all that beer, cholesterol and processed meat, surely everyone German should weigh at least 300 pounds? That they don’t is as much a wonder of modern science as are the highly technical car engines built by the country’s mechanics. Although when you rock up to DB Wunderbar, you may just start to change your mind. First is the name. Wunderbar. Although it means ‘wonderful’ in translation, it takes on a double meaning in a town that has a place named ZanziBar. Wunder-Bar. ZanZiBar? Now, if there was ever a creative gene to be found in a restaurant or bar

The joint itself is small, pleasant and airy. The tables are dark wood, the chairs, beer garden-style white. The walls are white, too, with swirly flowery designs. A barbecue sits on the sidewalk out front, and the beer fridge just inside the entrance stocks hard-to-get brews such as Benediktner and Kostritzer black. Most pleasant here is the price of Bitburger lager — a mere VND45,000 a bottle. Thank you, I said to myself, as I sat down to my curried sausages (VND40,000 each). Germans have their own, unique take on the concept of curry sauce. Made with curry powder it tastes somewhere in between tomato sauce and barbecue sauce with some A1

106 | Word November 2013

thrown in for taste, but all with that Asian, spice-laden kick. DB does it particularly well. So well, in fact, that I was scooping it up off my plate even after the sausage and the side of bread were long gone. The German meatball, or frikadelle (VND75,000), tasted almost identical to mom’s all-American meatloaf, although I’d bet my bottom nickel, dime and dollar that what’s served today is a version of a dish brought Stateside by German immigrants — a bit like the mighty hamburger. And damn, like the curried sausage, it was hearty and fingerlickingly nice — mom would have been proud. Although I’m not so sure about the frozen-style peas, corn, diced carrots and chopped green beans that shared plate space with the nicely peppered fries. Still, another dish to be content with. I also tried a dish on the specials menu — the zigeuner schnitzel (VND100,000) with paprika sauce and French fries replaced by mash. Yup. The meat was tender, the batter a nice golden brown, and this too washed down well with the beer. As the price suggests, great value. Perhaps this is what I love about this place. Here you get home-style cooked German comfort food, but at a fraction of the price you would pay in the central area of District 1. If anything is going to assuage any unfounded reservations, it’s this. The place is cheap. Very cheap. And to Mr. sandwich-board carrying DB, please keep it this way. You’re doing great. DB Wunderbar is at 54 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 ( and is open from 10am to 10pm








15 Value

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

Street Snacker

Ca Ri Ga

If you didn’t already know, Southern Vietnam has its own version of the ubiquitous curry. Just don’t expect to work out how it got here. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Yves Schepiek


n 2000 a friend took me to my first Vietnamese curry joint. A corner restaurant on Dien Bien Phu, the nonspicy, coconut curry dish was served up with bun noodles. Prior to this I had never associated Vietnam with its curries — that was the realm of other Southeast Asian nations. And I’d certainly never seen this coconut milk-dependent dish elsewhere in Vietnam. But stranger still was the lack of spice. Yes, mashed chilli was sat in a bowl on the table, but the actual sauce itself was chilli-free. How is it that Vietnam has one of the only non-spicy curries in the known world? Hit one of the handful of Vietnamese curry restaurants in Saigon, and the sauce is served up with chilli on the side. Is this because it is treated more as a stew or a broth, a dish that is spiced to taste? Or could it be due to the dish’s origin?

A Short History of Ca Ri Ca ri ga, or chicken curry, is only found in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta — areas that were formerly part of Cambodia. But check online and except for the unsubstantiated, none-toosensational revelation that it was brought in from Thailand or Cambodia, nothing is written about the origin of Vietnamese curry. So, here’s my theory — also, unsubstantiated. Chilli made its way to Asia in the late

16th century, when it was brought over by the Portuguese and the Spanish. In 1623, Vietnamese were allowed to settle in Prey Nokor, the village that was to transform itself into Saigon and then Ho Chi Minh City. Yet by the end of the 17th century, most of the Mekong Delta was under Vietnamese rule. So could it be that ca ri ga is in fact a Khmer dish, a coconut milk-flavoured soup left over from before the arrival of chilli and the transformation of the Mekong Delta into the most southerly section of Vietnam? The key signs, of course, come with the ingredients. And between Cambodia and Vietnam they are almost identical. Lemongrass and lime are key components together with coconut milk. Both versions contain chicken legs, thighs and bones, as well as potatoes — sometimes replaced by sweet potatoes or taro. While the modern day Khmer version comes slightly spiced, with fermented fish paste and shrimp paste thrown in for flavour — the Vietnamese version often uses fish sauce — the tastes and cooking method are almost identical. Even the curry powder is made up of almost identical spices.

Cari Deli This is pure conjecture — there is still no evidence that Vietnamese curry is a leftover from the Khmer dominance of the Mekong Delta. But try the ca ri ga at Cari

Deli (101 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1), and you may get my point. Of that new breed of street food restaurants — surely a misnomer — that have taken a well-known dish and put it in a contemporary Saigonese setting, instead of falling into the aircon, chromeplated tabletop trap, here there is a sense of tradition. Old reproduction French era adverts and a blackboard hang on the walls, which themselves are part bare brick, part camouflage green. The floor is brushed grey concrete, while the typical low tables and chairs are all fashioned out of dark wood. The restaurant specialises in the flavours and spices of Mien Tay, the Mekong Delta — thus the curry — and the photo-heavy menu comes in both English and Vietnamese. I like the bun version of the curry here, with the white rice noodles, standard fresh herbs and salad bowl on the side. Served in traditional, Subsidy Era crockery, the presentation also works. Asian basil, a key ingredient, decorates the curry, while the sauce itself is wholesome and rich — the globules of unmixed oils spread evenly through the soup. But key, though, is that this dish is described as having the traditional flavour of the Mekong Delta. If Vietnamese curry was truly brought in from overseas, then why, of all places, would it end up being a speciality of the area where the Mekong River splits into nine tributaries before feeding out into the sea?

November 2013 Word | 107

overscene ho chi minh

melting pot 3

Photos by Francis Xavier Outcast’s quarterly art fair brought out the cider-sippers, lamp-buyers and jewellery-wearers, as the bands played on

108 | Word November 2013

Poni hoax

Photos by Francis Xavier The French brought the big horsepower to Cargo, as the classically-trained electro-rockers celebrated 40 years of French-Vietnamese diplomacy

observatory soft opening

Photos by Hayden Lowry Things got Optimistic as the Club kicked off its 50th night of grooves in their new home, The Observatory, head optimist DJ Hibiya Line’s new venue

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

studio co fashion show

Photos by Mads Monsen Thao Dien’s new artists’ collective celebrated the opening of their flagship store with a fashion and electro-swing dance party at McSorley’s

Mui Ne: Rebirth

Photos by Hayden Lowry The Mui Ne Hills once again got rowdy as Vietnam’s finest beats got the day-glo painted, alien-themed crowd to bust a poolside move

Level 23 Nightspot A Rooftop Lounge with resident DJs Opens from Tuesday to Sunday. From 6.00 PM till late.

Located on the 23rd Floor of SHERATON SAIGON HOTEL & TOWERS

AFL Grand Final

Photos provided by Vietnam Swans Vietnam Swans brought Aussie Rules lovers out for the live broadcast of the championship match at Boomarang

88 Dong Khoi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Email: Website:

©2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Sheraton and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For full terms and conditions, visit


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


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


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


6th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1

Tel: 0938 220 255 Specialising in U.S. personal income tax returns preparation, this firm is IRS Enrolled Agent qualified with big 4 experience. Also provides Vietnam tax and business legal consulting.


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

Advertising & Mktg BBDO VIETNAM

74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6662 BBDO is an award-winning

110 | Word November 2013

global advertising and communications company. Accolades include Network of the Year honours at Cannes four years running.


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


AB TOWER, 23rd Floor, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9005 A 100 percent foreignowned advertising agency established in 2003. We provide through-the-line communication services from brand consultancy, creative concept and development, promotion, digital to media

planning and buying for Toyota, Aji-no-moto, Canon, Panasonic, Kao and Abbott among others.


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


Duong So 12, Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 6388 Dutch industrial designers with over 10 years of working experience in Asia offer (re)design, design engineering (3D CAD) and innovation consultancy for plastics, consumer products, electronics, and metal parts.

Kiko Flame

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


FPT Tower, 153 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3933 3493 Managing successful marketing campaigns since 2002 with four full-service

offices and project management available nationwide. Marketeers Vietnam have designed and implemented locally and globally recognized campaigns.


12th Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q13, Tel: (08) 3821 9529 Well–known marketing communications company combines local know-how with a worldwide network to leverage the brands of multinational clients.


7th Floor, 11bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3933 3377 An independent, creative–led communications company helps brands connect and grow across Southeast Asia. Clients include The Coca–Cola Company, Asia Pacific Breweries, Piaggio and UPI.


9 Nguyen Huu Cash, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 6277 7050 A leading communications company, Purple Asia offers a wide range of services such as graphic design, branding, interactive media, video, photography and production.


10 Phan Ngu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 0169 Long-established branding

HCMC consultancy and marketing agency. The Red team creates and shapes unique marketing strategies that add impact to international and local brands from Vietnam to Australia.


10th Floor HDTC Building, 36 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 2538 Communications network operating in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar for over a decade, specialising in advertising, design, activation, digital, media, PR, research, training, premiums and production.


26 Tran Cao Van, Q3 Tel: (08) 3824 1207 Ranked among the top 100 global advertising agencies, S&S has worked with over half of the 50 best–known brands in the world, providing advertisement planning, direct marketing, marketing consulting and graphic design.


4th Floor, Saigon Finance Center, 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5315 TBWA is a Top-Ten worldwide advertising agency, with marketing services including strategic consultancy, creative development, events and activation, direct mail,

shopper marketing and public relations.

Business Consulting BDG VIETNAM

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


33 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 1481 Consulting and research firm with a range of clients including the Vietnamese government, global US consumer products companies, infrastructure developers, oil companies and the World Bank.


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


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


4th Floor, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 7305 0905 A professional information technology services company offering expertise in data security, email, document management, web hosting, information and communication technology (ICT) relocation services and a full-range of other IT solutions.


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


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


38 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: 0904 410884 Powered by Haines Centre for Strategic Management, STRASOL strives to deliver superior results and sustained competitive advantage through the application of strategic solutions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.


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


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3402 31st Floor, Saigon Trade Cen-

tre, 37 Ton Duc Thang Tel: (08) 3911 0454 An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Business Groups AMCHAM

New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 3562. An independent association of American and international businesses, the objective of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam.


2nd Floor, Eximland Building, 179EF Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9912 A licensed foreign business group established to represent and promote the interests of Australian businesses operating in Vietnam, AusCham coordinates topical breakfast seminars, social networking functions, governmental relations meetings and charity events.


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


Room 305, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3754 Open to all nationalities, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce aims to create an effective network of business associates together and to facilitate discussion forums about business in Vietnam.


17th Floor, Petroland Tower, 12 Tan Trao, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0922 Provides support for Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise.


40/4 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3518 0045 A non-profit organisation

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


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


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

Coaching & Training WE LINK

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


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

112 | Word November 2013

Corporate Services Endo

406/16 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6292 2045 Endo offers garment manufacturing for local resorts, restaurants, hotels, golf courses, travel agencies and apparel shops. They also manufacture giftware from polos and hoodies to keychains, card holders and menu covers.

Event Management EVECOO

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


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


268/3 Nguyen Thai Binh, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6299 0880 Wedding planning business offers comprehensive services for weddings of any size or style. Delivers high-quality, detailed planning and resources to create dream weddings.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 Offers everything from canapés and cocktails,

buffets and set menus to barbeques and wedding catering. Combines excellent food, event management and exclusive venues to make any kind of event a success.

Expat Services CHUM’S HOUSE

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

Housing & Real Estate CBRE

12th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6125 Property developers and consultants with both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Issues a monthly newsletter with the latest property news. Also does research and management services.


32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701, Q1 Tel: 01659 419916 Happy House aims to make Saigon life easier by offering practical solutions to every kind of problem — including bill payments, repairs, motorbike rentals, visa applications, maid placements, plant watering and pet transportation.


Unit 601 48 Hoa Su, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 2226 8855 The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides services from relocation and immigration to cross–cultural and business awareness training.


8FL, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3933 0065 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. Email vn for info.

Jones Lang lasalle

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

HCMC COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Bitexco Office Building, 7th Floor, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 5665 Represents property investors, developers and renters in all matters related to commercial and residential property.

a web–based real estate search service with information on rental properties all around the city, as well as an advisory service for those averse to wading into the internet depths for their needs.


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

Suite 1905, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 2000 Vietnam Sotheby’s International Realty has access to residential real estate both for sale and lease around the world. Contact them to view high–end apartments, villas, resorts and island properties.




Unit 16, 14th Floor, Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7968 Global real estate consultants, specialising in commercial / residential sales and leasing, project management, valuation and research & consultancy.


Tel: 0932 112694 The Easy Saigon website is a useful real estate website helping expats to find apartments in Ho Chi Minh City. Enquiries via their website are welcome.


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

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


49D Phan Dang Luu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3510 1661, Offers hospital costs paid up to VND40 billion with no hidden hospital sub–limits for anyone up to age 74. Also includes a routine heath check and dental care. No claims discount available.


IFC Building, 3rd Floor, 1A Me Linh Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7362 Independent advisors that represent top reputable medical insurers provide you with the best suitable medical cover for individual, family or company needs.


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


Fideco Tower, 18th Floor, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9205 Savills Vietnam is a leading property service provider in Vietnam since 1995, providing research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, retail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and other services.


32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4282 Owners of Snap Café in District 2, Snap offers


Tel: 0934 874271 Represents insurance programs offered by Seven Corners, and other global insurers. Customized health and travel cover options available at competitive rates for corporations, individuals, families, students, and groups.


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


25th F, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 1660 Operating in Vietnam since 1995, Prudential has over 70 customer care centres throughout the country.

Interior Design Professional Painting and Remodeling

Tel: 0936 330869 (Darren Hawk) Thinking about upgrading a bathroom? Perhaps a new colour in the living room? Maybe even a new wood floor? Professional Painting and Remodeling can help with these and many other projects. Provide international standards of quality as well as professional and timely service at reasonable rates. Call today to schedule a free evaluation.

Investment & Finance DRAGON CAPITAL

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


27 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0907 The Ethical Investment Group is dedicated to offering alternative investments to investors looking to make quality, above-average returns, while simultaneously expressing a social conscience with meaningful, measurable and sustainable environmental benefits.


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


17th Floor, Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9930 A leading investment fund management company with extensive experience in the emerging Vietnam market. Manages the Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF), which is a US$839 million investment fund.

Blue Cross Vietnam

8th Floor, River View Tower, 7A Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9908 Blue Cross Vietnam is part of the Pacific Cross group of companies with over 60 years’ experience in providing health and travel insurance to people and businesses who call Asia home. Their reputation for transparent, honest and reliable service means they are the strength behind your insurance. To make sure you are getting the most out of your insurance contact them for a free quote.

November 2013 Word | 113


{business Buff} Expensive Projects

By Shane Dillon

Language Schools ILA VIETNAM

146 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3521 8788 A foreign-owned education and training company that offers a range of educational programmes, such as English-language tuition, university pathway programmes, corporate training, teacher training and overseas study consultancy and placement services.


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



hen we think of expensive things we tend to conjure up images of sports cars, diamonds or luxury houses. However these pale in comparison when put next to the cost of some projects financed by corporations or governments. So what is the most expensive thing ever conceived in the mind of man and completed with huge sums of capital?

The Top 10 10) The Øresund Bridge is a combined twin-track railroad and four-lane highway bridge-tunnel across the Øresund Strait. The Øresund Bridge connects Sweden and Denmark, it was completed in 2000 and cost US$6 billion (VND126 trillion). 9) The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected that it will address the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing our understanding of the deepest laws of nature. It was completed in 2008 and cost US$6 billion (VND126 trillion). 8) ITER (The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international

114 | Word November 2013

tokamak (magnetic confinement fusion) research/engineering project that could help to make the transition from today’s studies of plasmaphysics to future electricityproducing fusion power plants. Expected to be completed in 2016, it has a US$6.5 billion (VND136.5 trillion) price tag. 7) The Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, which is on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia in the municipality of Eurajoki in western Finland and consists of 2 reactors was completed in 2012 for US$7.2 billion (VND151.2 trillion). They are currently building a 3rd and 4th unit. 6) The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), includes the TransAlaska pipeline, 11 pump stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. It was completed in 1977 and cost US$8 billion (VND168 trillion). It is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. 5) The CVN-78-class aircraft carriers (or Ford-class) are a planned class of super carrier for the United States Navy, intended to replace the current Nimitz-class carriers. They will cost US$8.1 billion (VND170.1 trillion) each and should be completed by 2015.

4) The James Bay Project refers to the construction by state-owned utility Hydro-Québec of a series of hydroelectric power stations on the La Grande River in northwestern Quebec, Canada. The system generates a total of 27,000 MW, making it the largest hydroelectric system in the world. It was completed in 1972 and cost US$13.8 billion (VND289.8 trillion). 3) The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River, in Hubei province, China. It is the world’s largest electricity-generating plant of any kind and cost US$25 billion (VND525 trillion). 2) The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. Completed in 1984 it cost US$27 billion (VND567 trillion). 1) The International Space Station (ISS) is an internationally developed research facility that is being assembled in low Earth orbit. It continues to this day and has cost over US$157 billion (VND3,297 trillion). Shane works in financial services. He can be contacted at shanedillon@

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


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 Offers courses ranging from basic conversational Vietnamese to upper elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as special courses including Vietnamese literature, composition or a 6-hour survival crash course.


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


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

Legal Services ALLENS

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


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


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


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


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


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

Management Training EMBERS ASIA

80-82 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3822 4728 The first team-building provider established in Vietnam, Embers specializes in ensuring success in globally competitive markets. Embers’ HR performance management services include excursions, strategic planning retreats, conference facilitations and training workshops.


38/ 6G Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 6292 9288 With campuses throughout Southeast Asia, ERC offers a comprehensive range of business courses from soft skills development programmes to tourism and hospitality, all the way through to MBAs.


6th Floor, Yoco Office Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9919 A 100 percent foreign–invested company focusing on management services and consulting with in–house programmes to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic–based business and management programmes.


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3402 31st Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 0454 An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include assessment and development, team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Market Research CIMIGO

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


3rd Floor, 140 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 6965 Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina.


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

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


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


58 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 6631 With over 11 years in the marketplace, TNS Vietnam offers all three major market research services — customisation, access panels and media monitoring — to a range of local and international clients.

Photography Services Dragon Images

Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 01643 172 660 Dragon Images production studio is a professional team of photographers, stylists. shooting administrators, casting managers and retouchers. They make photos on various topics, from business to sport.


Level 5, 273-273B Ben Chuong Duong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 5517 matterhorncommunications. com Providing public relations and communications support to international and local firms operating in Vietnam. Specialising in corporate communications, media relations, corporate social responsibility and media and issues management and training.



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


130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 5000 Well–known human resources agency with a wide range of services including executive search and online recruitment.

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




1st Floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 6288 3888 Established in 2003, HR2B is one of Vietnam’s top three HR consulting firms, specialising in finding opportunities for senior level professionals. Other services include payroll outsourcing, contract staffing and HR management consulting.


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

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

116 | Word November 2013

5th Floor Vitic Building. 6B Nguyen Thanh Y, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 8209 Established in Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. A partner of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups. 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 1373 Online job-search website with one of the best selections of jobs in Vietnam. Also contains sections with career tips, CV writing advice and information on training courses.

Relocation Agents AGS FOUR WINDS (VIETNAM)

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


58 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3454 With more than 800 offices in over 45 countries, Allied Pickfords is one of the worldwide leaders in removal services. In Vietnam, Allied also provides tailored relocation services.

Asian Tigers Mobility

Unit 9.3, Floor 9, Ree Tower, 9 Doan Van Bo, Ward 12, District 4, HCMC Tel: (08) 3 826 7799 www.asiantigers-mobility. com Asian Tigers is one of the largest regional move management specialists, with services including door-to-

door moving, housing and school searches, local and office moves and pet relocations.


2nd Floor Coteccons Office Tower, 236/6 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 4237 Crown Relocations services include expense management, policy consulting and programme administration, storage, transit protection and domestic and international transportation of household goods.

are subject to the duration of stay.


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


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


396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: (08) 3941 5322 Specialists in international, local, domestic and office moves for household goods and personal effects through our global partner network. Experts in exporting used scooters that do not have documentation.


Unit 601 48 Hoa SU, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 2226 8855 The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides a full range of destination services, cross–cultural training and immigration management services.


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

Serviced Apartments CAM LY HOTEL & APARTMENT

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

Diamond Island Luxury Residences

No 01 – Street No.104-BTT, Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay, Q2. T: 0968 293388 / (08) 3742 5678 Diamond Island Luxury Residences offers 68 fullyfurnished apartments, from two to four-bedroom units with spectacular panoramic views of the city. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, ensuite bathrooms, separate work and living areas, a balcony, modern amenities, elegant furnishings and carefully chosen trimmings.


Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van Huu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 8888 Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon you’ll find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The residences offer panoramic views of the downtown area.


17–19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6111 Offers a wide choice of luxurious and modern furnished accommodation with attentive and discreet service. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, sauna and steam room, as well as two onsite restaurants.


53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4111 Over four Saigon Riverbank hectares, Riverside

Apartments combines a resort lifestyle with the amenities of a fully serviced-apartment. Located minutes from downtown by high-speed boat shuttle.


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


127 Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 2288 Sherwood Residence is a luxurious serviced apartment property where modern living spaces meet prime location, comfort and class, with five–star facilities and service.


8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8899 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9197 628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 6255 9922 Somerset Chancellor Court, Somerset Ho Chi Minh City and Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City serviced residences combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the services of a top-rated hotel. They come with separate living and dining areas, as well as a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare a meal for themselves, their family and friends.


5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 65 serviced apartments located in the city centre overlooking the river. Also has a comprehensive health club for tenants and members, a squash court and a 16th floor swimming pool.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best



* *


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

French & Italian BIBI@ALIBI

5A Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6257 The legendary chef Bibi’s newest creation, a convivial restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine using fresh products bought early morning at the market by Bibi himself. Delicious meats and fish dishes together with the famous tarte tatin.


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


FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555

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.


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


FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 2229 8882 This intimate, open-kitchened restaurant bathed in white specialises in a mix of contemporary Mediterranean and French cuisine. Has a small but well thought out menu, backed up with an extensive wine list.


TRADITIONAL ITALIAN 17B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 1080 This downtown hideaway with rustic–style decorative trawls features fresh, light regional cuisine from across Italy. Try the carpaccio misto di pesce and agnello d’antico. Also specializes in excellent wood-fired pizzas.


CLASSIC FRENCH / EUROPEAN FUSION 40 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 9263 A sociable and popular French bistro serving up 100 percent organic, traditional Gallic staples such as French onion soup, escargot, and moules marinières, plus European fusion dishes, and competitively priced world wines.


CLASSIC FRENCH 31 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8465 Unpretentious but tasty

French fare in a relaxed garden setting within the French cultural centre. The robust, bistro-style cuisine is very well-priced, and excellent, cheap house wine is served by the carafe.


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


TRATTORIA-STYLE ITALIAN 88 Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 3691 A contemporary trattoria in the heart of Saigon, serving home-cooked Italian cuisine with New York flair in a beautifully designed space with high ceilings. The menu features both traditional antipasti and substantial main courses.


Tel: 09765 52042 French backpacker area mainstay attracting a clientele made up of Gallic expats and tourists. Excellent food menu with daily specials backs up a long bar seating area perfect for cradling a Ricard.


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


FRENCH BISTRO / COCKTAILS 18 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q3. Tel: (08) 6252 1333 An jungle-clad oasis in the midst of the concrete of the city, Papagayo is a bistro, lounge bar, swimming pool space and garden complex all in one. Serves up classic French fare with a welcome twist.


PAN-ITALIAN 36 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 6253 2828 Opening out into a large, leafy terracotta-tiled garden area, this trattoria-style

Italian restaurant serves up quality homemade pasta, risotto, gnocchi, excellent pizza and grilled dishes. Another branch downtoan at 87 Nguyen Hue, Q1.


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


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

International AL FRESCO’S

INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 38238424 The downtown outlet of one of Vietnam’s most successful restaurant chains, Al Fresco’s offers international, Australian-influenced comfort fare in a pleasant environment with

November 2013 Word | 117


{F O O D Promos } Promotions of the Month


Tel: 0906 912730 restaurants-ben-style Healthy, calorie-counted sandwich and deli fare

Chez Guido

Tel: (08) 3898 3747 Vietnamese, international fare, pizza, pasta, sandwiches

Domino’s Pizza

Tel: (08) 3939 3030 Pizzas, wings, desserts

Eat.Vn Delivery service website for local restaurants

el gato negro

Tel: (08) 6660 1577 Californian-style burritos

HUNGRYPANDA.VN Delivery service website for local restaurants


Tel: (08) 3848 9999 Fried chicken, chicken burgers, sides

@ Caravelle On Nov. 14, wine lovers on the other side of the spectrum from the Beaujolais Nouveau boozehounds will get a night for their passion — the world’s best wines. Reflections will host five prestigious vintages from Bernard Magrez-owned vineyards, alongside a menu created by Reflections’ head chef, Darren Watson. The dinner begins at 7pm, and is priced at VND1,980,000 net. Call (08) 3823 4999 or email to find out more.

Last Call Saigon’s swankiest late night cocktail option just got a little more cathartic with its acoustic nights, happening every Thursday at 9pm. While you’re there, sample some cocktails from their new menu, featuring such sophisticated yet edgy quaffs like the Bangkok Gimlet — with galangal-infused vodka, ginger syrup and kaffir lime — the rosemary-infused Rosemary’s Baby or the

118 | Word November 2013

kitchen-sink-in-a-glass medley of Bun Bo 59.

Hard Rock Café Dish Downsize Hard Rock Café is turning up the flavour and dialing down the size with their brand new, selectable size menu. Selections include appetizing yet healthy food and beverage options without that ‘one-size-fits-all’ nonsense. Even the burgers now come in two sizes, neither less delicious.

Deals in Danang @ Grand Mercure Danang Grand Mercure Danang is serving food lovers this month with big deals, including all-you-can-eat dim sum daily from 11am to 2pm at only VND350,000 per person. Plus, enjoy Chinese and seafood buffets for only VND400,000, including a free flow of soft drinks — or chip in an additional VND190,000 for free flowing house wine. The little ones between the ages of six and 12 get a 50 percent discount.


BRAZILIAN / BUFFET 238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820 7157 Latino ambiance with great meat dishes and attractive, spacious décor. The churrasco, with 12 cuts of barbecued and cured meats plus unlimited salad, is hand carved at your table. Can get busy.


EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and green-tiled décor.


LEBANESE The Courtyard, 74/13D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2188 A Lebanese restaurant and shisha lounge located downtown, encompasses a multiple-floored restaurant and extensive garden area. As the name suggests the menu has a Lebanese/Arabic theme.


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

AMERICAN 13 Phan Van Dat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2055 Creatively named burgers, tasty Vietnamese-styled sandwiches, spiced up cocktails, mains and more, all served up with a Californian edge at this small but popular two-storey eatery close to the river.

Pizza Hut (PHD)



Grand Cru Wine Dinner

efficient, friendly service to match. Excellent delivery service.

Tel: (08) 3910 0000 Burgers, fried chicken, sides


Tel: (08) 3838 8388 Pizzas, wings, pasta, appetizers


Tel: (08) 3823 5795 Pizzas, pasta, salad, antipasti, desserts

Taco Bich Homemade Mexican fare

willy woo’s

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

Vietnammm Delivery service website for local restaurants


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

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


INTERNATIONAL / GRILL CR2 3-4, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6592 Australian themed but Singaporean-owned eatery and bar on The Crescent with great terraced seating specializing in huge-portioned international fare, all set in a contemporary, spacious environment.


GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 9 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4206 The city’s first contemporary German beer bar and restaurant, Brotzeit offers well known German beer

accompanied by authentic Bavarian Cuisine —sausages, schnitzels and more — in a relaxed yet chic drinking hall setting.


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


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 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.


STEAKHOUSE / INTERNATIONAL 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Although a hotel restaurant, the enticing range of US and Australian steaks plus great grill and comfort food menu in this contemporary eatery make for a quality bite. Decent-sized steaks start at VND390,000.


AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 4327 The comfort food on offer at this striking US-style diner ranges from meatball baguettes to chilli burgers, pizzas, blackened chicken salads and a selection of more expensive international mains.


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1879 Unit CR1-12, The Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6909 A pleasant downtown eatery mixing an Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork, chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 6066 Mixing hearty pub grub such as burgers, salads and prime rib steaks with a sports bar atmosphere, this Australian chain also offers regular promotions and a 4pm to 7pm happy hour. Excellent outdoor terrace.


INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0931

Although a chain restaurant, the international offerings here are consistently good and creative. Excellent service, an attractive outdoor terrace area, and a good kids menu. Check out their pepper steaks.

Joie de Vivre

WESTERN / FRENCH 292/10, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 6260 0066 Homely and comfortable, Joie de Vivre serves up western cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with comfort fare ranging from hamburgers, spaghetti, lasagna and steak through to Frenchstyle cuisine.


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


INTERNATIONAL BUFFET Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 Buffet restaurant specialising in a boutique selection of appetisers, local and imported seafood, succulent steaks from the grill, and hand-crafted noodles. Bakery operates throughout day to ensure that every dish arrives fresh.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE / SEAFOOD 23 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6478 The rustic looking, banana-leaf roofed Mekong Merchant has long been the place in An Phu. Set around a cobble-stoned courtyard the cuisine includes gourmet seafood and pastas. Bakery-style Bistro out front.


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


AMERICAN / FRENCH 25–27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7373 NYSW is well known for serving up formidable prime signature cuts of New York strip steak, rib eye, double strip loins and chateaubriands along with sophisticated sides, in a glitzy, Hollywood-esque atmosphere.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Great buffets draw daily crowds to this downtown hotel restaurant. Streamlined décor and clean lines create a modern am-

bience that makes an excellent backdrop for the extensive range of cuisine.


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


SPANISH / EUROPEAN 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6924 Legs of Iberian ham hang in the downstairs bar at this multi-story bodega serving Spanish-styled tapas. Attractively decorated in warm reds, yellows and oranges, Pacharan’s food menu is traditionally Spanish.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Flagship restaurant of The New World Hotel, serving lavish buffets all day. Many cooking stations ranging from Chinese to Italian, sushi and seafood, to salads, cold cuts, cheese plates and desserts.


TURKISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3677 Sumptuous, Turkish-themed restaurant close to the mosque with Islamic-style white dome décor and comfortable, cushioned seating.Authentically Turkish cuisine with a sprinkling of western fare thrown in.


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


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


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


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

Saigon Café

INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 An all-day dining casual but comfortable restaurant offering probably the most extensive buffet on the city with live carving and BBQ stations and a diverse á la carte menu featuring international cuisine, comfort food favourites and authentic local dishes.



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

The Hungry Pig

BACON BAR / CAFE 144 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 4533 Think bacon, bacon and more bacon, all set in airy, spacious atmosphere, and you get The Hungry Pig, an eatery specialising in anything from the bacon butty through to the bacon Caesar. A popular hangout.

The Loop

HEALTHY CAFÉ FARE / BAGELS 49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08) 3602 6385 A contemporary styled restaurant that serves the An Phu Community with light, homemade, healthy cuisine. Sells Italian coffee brand Hausbrandt from Trieste as well as a wide selection of tea and other freshly prepared drinks. Set lunch and Kids menu available as well. Open from 7am to 9pm.

INTERNATIONAL 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: 0948 901465 scottbinhs.php Serving creative, all homemade comfort food, this restaurant boasts a full bar, ice-cold beer and an international wine list to complement meals. Has a focus on the creative use of local ingredients.

Vesper Bar



CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 9631 A breezy terrace, indoor bar and separate dining room with sweeping views over central Saigon make up this enormous, comfortable space. A wellthought out and romantic venue, with excellent food.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4798 Simple, unpretentious Greekinfluenced, international cuisine ranging from the zucchini carpaccio through to the saganiki, a range of dips, mousaka, osso buco and lamb chop skewers. Also has an excellent upstairs cigar room.

The Burger Corner

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

A Ta ste of Authenticity

INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 Headed up by well-known chef Andy Ertle, Vesper Bar is a sophisticated yet down-to-earth wine and cocktail bar. Serving creative, Japanese-influenced tapas to supplement the drinks, the subtle lighting and loungestyle atmosphere makes this a great drinking and dining venue MIDDLE-EASTERN 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3822 The deep colours, Arabic décor and cushioned outdoor terrace area give this popular venue its unique touch. The food is good, too, taking in tabouleh, houmous, falafel and mutabbal, shwarmas and more. Sells authentic shisha.


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


The Courtyard, 74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8793 The work of former Nobu chef Martin Brito, the JapaneseSouth American fusion cuisine at Blanchy Street is among the tastiest and most unusual in the city. All complemented by fresh,

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

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


By Nicola Connolly

{job Search}


Recruitment and Saving Money

usiness leaders don’t think twice about engaging an outside expert for legal advice or accounting assistance. Yet they will balk at the cost of engaging an outside recruiter to help them resolve their hiring needs. The bad news: only one third of all hires are successful. It’s not uncommon for businesses to make a bad hire. In most cases, only one-third of all hiring decisions are deemed successful; one-third are minimally effective; and one-third are outright failures. The cost of all these mis-hires goes far beyond the cost of their salary. Unfortunately, when you add up the numbers, the cost of mis-hiring is often a company’s biggest and most poorly managed expense. Consider this: — On average employee turnover costs a company 150 per cent of a churned employee’s annual compensation. — This means an employee making VND1 billion per year will cost your company at least VND1.5 billion to replace. — If an average-sized company with 1,000 employees has an annual turnover of 10 per cent, its annual cost of turnover would be VND157.5 billion. — In addition, for every week a position is empty (or improperly filled), the additional cost of lost productivity is 50 per cent of the position’s weekly compensation and benefits, over and above the cost of replacement.

How Do You Fix This? There are ways to improve your odds of success. Believe it or not, working with a good recruiter is usually the most cost-effective way to hire better. Good recruiters bring professional process, industry insight, and an objective perspective to the hiring table. Process and a wider recruitment net guarantee you better hiring results. The counsel they can offer you about the market and

120 | Word November 2013

strategies to retain your existing employees can be invaluable. They can tell you who’s good, who’s not and why. They have their fingers on the pulse of the market. This is an absolutely critical step to secure top talent and something few companies have the resources or experience to do themselves. Ultimately it leads to better hiring. A good recruiter will: — Assist with definition of the position criteria — Provide guidance on your organisation’s structure — Identify and recruit passive candidates (who wouldn’t have replied to an ad) — Qualify, assess and evaluate recruited candidates against the position’s specifications and their fit with the company’s corporate culture — Check references and assist in negotiating (and closing) an offer — Offer hiring counsel above and beyond your expectations

But What About the Cost? Recruiters can appear expensive, often charging a flat rate or percentage fee between 20 and 30 per cent of a new hire’s annual base salary. When you compare this to the opportunity, turnover and additional soft costs of a bad hire, the value is much more obvious. Businesses worried about recruiter costs usually don’t calculate the intangible cost of hiring poorly. Of course there’s no guarantee. You need to work with recruiters who understand the importance of identifying A-level talent, recruiters who are experts in their fields and committed to their craft to get the best results. Even then you will make the occasional mistake, but your odds of a wrong hire are far reduced. And the cumulative and eroding effect of B-level hires is diminished. Nicola Connolly is the general director of Adecco Vietnam. You can contact her on nicolac@adecco.

contemporary decor and a leafy terrace out front.


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


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


JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Noodles can be found in every form in this sleek, open-kitchened eatery. Noodles are served in sets — the lunchtime offering goes for just over VND100,000 — or as individual dishes.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 53-55 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 0039 Sushi Dining AOI offers fullblown Japanese-style sushi, sashimi, and other dishes such as tempura, pork cutlet and cold soba noodles in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Good value set lunches. Probably the best sushi in town.


Authentic Japanese 39 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4634 Located on the main drag in Thao Dien, Tamago has indoor and out door seating, a terrace and private rooms. They have a ladies’ night on Tuesdays as well as a Teppanyaki themed night on Saturday evenings. Have a second restaurant in Mui Ne.


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


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

Pan-Asian ASHOKA

NORTH INDIAN / CHINESE INDIAN 17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1372 33 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel : (08) 3744 4177 ashokaindianrestaurant. com Long-running, award-winning Indian restaurant famed for its excellent kebabs, creamy curries and Chinese-Indian fare.


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


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 6661 This pleasant, airy Indian does the full range of fare from all ends of the subcontinent, from dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka masala, kormas, kebabs and fiery vindaloos.


INDIAN MALAY 35 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 0903 863114 Long running hole-in-thewall halal restaurant opposite the Mosque selling a selection of Malaysian-style Indian cuisine. Simple fancooled dining area with all dishes costing well under VND100,000.

in town. Very friendly service.


CLASSIC THAI 34 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8554 Excellent, long-running restaurant with classic Thai decor. The fare includes laab salads, curries, som tam, fish cakes and dishes such as deep-fried catfish with mango salad. Three VIP rooms upstairs.


ROAST KITCHEN CANTONESE Unit 15, 1/F, Kumho Asiana Saigon, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 8181 Hong Kong casual dining restaurant, Gourmet’s Delight Roast Kitchen is the first of its kind in Saigon serving authentic barbeque and traditional Cantonese dishes in a laid-back atmosphere.


CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang. Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Offers authentic, gourmet Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, classic setting, with striking décor and the bonus of views over the Saigon River. Dishes range from VND80,000 to VND900,000.


CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4423 Modern Thai fusion restaurant serving Thai classics alongside tom yam cappuccinos and more. Koh Thai’s creative cocktails merge Thai flavours with local seasonal fruits and herbs.



THAI / VIETNAMESE 16 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 1311 Owned by a Thai-trained Vietnamese chef this is one of the few eateries in town serving up very good panThai cuisine. Great value, with mains generally around VND70,000.

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



CANTONESE / PAN-CHINESE New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Elegant surroundings, top quality ingredients, attentive service and comfortable, roundtable dining makes Dynasty one of the top Chinese restaurants in town, with a classic dim sum menu.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 15B4 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3017 The ubiquitous mint sauce is thick and creamy and the curries are both authentic and smoky. Ganesh is rated by many as the best Indian

PAN-SOUTHEAST ASIAN 1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 8899 Traditional pan-Southeast Asian favourites served in a visually arresting setting within a French colonial-era villa, just minutes from the backpacker area. Reasonably priced, with healthy juices and smoothies.


KOREAN 33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4297 Seoul House was the first Korean restaurant in town and continues to be popular with a cosmopolitan clientele. Food includes banchan starters, bulgogi, awesome spicy

tofu and minced pork soups.


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


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


PAN-CHINESE 1st Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 Skillful chefs prepare authentic hand-pulled noodles, fresh dim sum and hot wok dishes within an impeccably designed open kitchen, as diners look on. Stylish and spectacular.

Street Food BANH XEO 46A

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


VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917 Specialises in tasty Vietnamese or Australian steak served sizzling on a griddle with thick–cut fries, bread and salad, optional pate or eggs, all for well under VND100,000.


COM TAM (BITTY RICE) 26 Ton That Tung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0935 Downtown branch of the famous budget Thuan Kieu eatery. Broken rice with barbecued pork, bitter gourd broth, stuffed squid etc. Average meal price just VND35,000. English menu.


PHO EATERY 260C Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7943 Huge sized portions dished up at this famous restaurant serving Vietnam’s national dish. Choose from a range of cuts of beef, fresh herbs and spice to taste.


PAN-CHINESE / NOODLES 162 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0824 Bustling 24-hour restaurant offering the full range of Chinese fare,

including dim sum, homemade noodle soup, rice and seafood dishes. Perfect if you have an attack of midnight munchies.


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

Vegetarian PHAP HOA

VEGETARIAN 200 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3839 5893 Good vegetarian eatery with a well-stocked and enticing com binh dan buffet-style counter in the entrance. It’s a pick and choose affair, with a range of faux meat dishes. The staff, though, are not know for their politeness.


VEGAN 378/3 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3834 4473 91/12 Hoa Hung, Q10, Tel: (08) 3864 0154 A pleasant, standalone eatery with the feel of a meditative retreat specialising in hotpots. The vegan menu, however, runs the gamut from faux meat through to noodle and rice dishes.


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


VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Set inside the city’s largest pagoda, this eatery has received many plaudits for its setting, reverent ambiance and interesting menu which includes salted tofu in claypot and hundred flowers hotpot.

Vietnamese 3T QUAN NUONG

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


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


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


MODERN VIETNAMESE 10 Dang Tat, Q1, Tel: (08) 3848 0144 A converted French villa with mixed Indochine and rustic Vietnamese décor, the cuisine here is scrumptious, mixing street food dishes done well with quality ingredients and more contemporary options.


AIRCON STREETFOOD 122 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7901 Take a New York-style industrial atmosphere, add to it a range of grilled dishes, typical of the barbecue fare you’d find on the street, and then add in three types of rice and a range of organic products. Close to Ben Thanh Market, this is com binh dan


NORTHERN / PAN-VIETNAMESE 101 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3602 2069 Named after the mountain highway that skirts the ChineseVietnamese border to the north, Highway 4 serves up authentic north Vietnamese cuisine. Also does excellent Son Tinh branded rice wine.


CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1676 Highly rated restaurant with stunning outdoor terrace. Specialities include pink pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls, fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and a lime leaf marinade.


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


INDOCHINE VIETNAMESE 3/5 Hoang Sa, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 1277 Meaning ‘Cloud’, May utilises homemade recipes and broths developed by the restaurateur’s father, such as pan-fried duck breast served with nuoc mam and ginger, and 1940s style spring rolls. This is the Saigonese cooking of old set in an Indochine atmosphere.


HUE CUISINE 136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 38 250261 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9996

Down an alley near Ben Thanh Market, this pleasant Hue-style eatery is known for its excellent central Vietnamese cuisine. Think banh beo, bun thit nuong, com hen, all at under VND50,000.


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


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


TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3602 2241 Make sure to try the sautéed shrimps with cashew nuts and crispy fried tofu with lime wedge, at this popular, high-quality eatery where all food is served in traditional crockery.

Quan Bui 2

TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 17A Ngo Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 1515 With its leafy roof garden and chic interior, Quan Bui offers a wide selection of Vietnamese cuisine which is cooked in their open kitchen.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9244 Once a hotel for Indian dignitaries visiting old Saigon, the elegant and atmospheric Temple Club is one of the city’s best-preserved buildings. Serving quality Vietnamese and Indochine cuisine at reasonable prices.


HUE / VIETNAMESE 187 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7242 Imperial Hue cuisine mixing dark brown Indochine décor and a more casual and jovial atmosphere than other eateries of its ilk. For the background and quality of cuisine, prices are very reasonable.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


{ Top Eats } House of Salvation

Bars & Restobars 2 LAM SON

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



efore anything else, Van Anh — owner of Ho Chi Minh City's only Indonesian restaurant, House of Salvation — is a musician. She is a multi-talented instrumentalist who has played since she was five years old, and has travelled the world entertaining music lovers. Her restaurant began as a suggestion from a friend who felt that she could bring something special to the industry, and became a reality five months ago. It is tucked away in a small alley, and has gained popularity primarily through word-ofmouth recommendations. The ambiance is understated, with lots of beige and pictures of the signature dishes proudly displayed on the walls standing in for art. There are pops of colour lurking throughout the restaurant, primarily from Indonesian memorabilia. But, if Van Anh is around, the decorations tend to fade into the background.

Music, Food and Happy Customers The moment customers enter, she not only personally greets them but also, without fail, strikes up a conversation. It never feels forced when Van Anh is talking — her empathy envelops everything she says. One is left not only feeling like a guest in her home but also a valued friend. She considers her staff to be family and introduces her

122 | Word November 2013

Photo by Francis Xavier

Indonesian chef with obviously sincere praise. Van Anh offers cooking and music lessons to interested patrons, making a point to provide whatever people want or need, even going so far as to expand her menu to double its former size — so as to better accommodate the tastes of her loyal, but homesick, clientele. House of Salvation has held numerous events where her own band, Huong Sen — quite wellknown in their own right — has played well into the night. Their music lifts the dining experience to a much more visceral place where Van Anh's three great passions — music, food, and making people happy — play off each other. This thoughtfulness is also reflected in the food, which is carefully crafted with a flourish of downhome flavour, and elevated by a true understanding and appreciation of the ingredients. House of Salvation’s crisp and creamy perkedels — five delicious mashed potato fritters, accented with herbs and sour cream (VND40,000) — and ayam bakar — sweet and savoury grilled chicken with rice, drizzled with a soy sauce reduction (VND70,000) — should be sampled by visitors, expats and locals alike. — Jacklynn Blanchard House of Salvation 88/3 De Tham, Q1

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


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


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


SA8-1 Parkview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3282 A downstairs pool table, an open, street side terrace and specials on Tiger draft, this fun but slightly run-down joint is a local haunt for many a resident of Saigon South.

Beer Republic

MODERN BEER HALL 92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: 0945 858034 There is a distinct Hooterslike feel to this modern drinking space focusing on all things beer, although without the skates and the other added extras. Selling the good stuff — from locally brewed to imported beer — all in a pleasant aircon atmosphere, this is the modern day answer to the ubiquitous quan nhau.


RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 0909 028293 This popular downtown three-storied bar attracts late-night revelers thanks to its past midnight opening hours, regular DJ sets, and London-style bar décor. Has a great upstairs terrace.


MINIMALIST CAFÉ BAR 9 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 0907 609202. Reminiscent of a New York or London underground watering hole, this is a great place to enjoy Mediterranean influenced breakfasts, lunch by day and a variety of DJ sets by night.


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


INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD 40/24 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8452 With a free book exchange, and tasty Sunday night roasts, the tiny Bread & Butter is a perfect place for homesick expats and beer enthusiasts (excellent HueBrewed Huda beer served here exclusively in Ho Chi Minh City).


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


RESTOBAR 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3345 6345 Just across the lane from Mc’Sorley’s, this pub with an eccentric European tilt and some nice, authentic cuisine draws an older crowd with darts, pool and weekly poker tourneys.


LIVE MUSIC / BAR 8 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 7699 Named after the famous opera, Carmen has built its reputation on offering a mix of nightly live Latin music, most notably flamenco. Its striking design is a treat for the eyes as well.


LOUNGE RESTOBAR & TERRACE Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372 Chill’s view has only been improved by the addition of a magnificent VIP terrace. A substantial wine list and specialities from the owner’s native Denmark complement the primarily French-influenced cuisine.

CLOUD 9 Live music all days of week

MUSIC BAR / CAFE 41 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan st, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3154 Facebook: Metallic Bar Saigon Starting 20:30 to 24:00 hrs Established in 2003, Metallic showcases a variety of different types of music — anything from rock, pop and rap to Latino — as well as the everlasting songs of Metallica, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Santana and Guns ’n Roses. Covered live by The Tornado, NiBiRu and other well-known, Vietnambased Filipino bands, this is a place to enjoy the musical atmosphere and rock to the beat every day of the week, with the live music starting at 8.30pm and running until midnight.

LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: 0907 502951 The creators of Velvet present this trendy, double-tiered escape, complete with upstairs garden space, an extensive wine list, top shelf spirits and unobtrusive music.


LOUNGE BAR Hem 36, Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: 0908 033982 This hip marriage of living room-of-working-architects and opium den is populated with vintage furniture, records and a thoughtful, intimate vibe. Its only streetside markings are a few Chinese lanterns.


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 187 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 9575 A slightly grungy corner joint banging out indie and pop tunes, Go2 draws in all walks of life at all hours. Whether

you’re looking for affordable Thai / Vietnamese / western cuisine or late-night debauchery, Go2 delivers.

Game On

SPORTS BAR 115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08) 6251 9898 A massive space decked out with wooden tables and seating to match, this Australianrun sports bar shows all the live sport — from Aussie Rules and State of Origin the World Series and EPL. Has a decent food menu and a separate room for the darts.


RESTOBAR / VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 129 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3832 4589 Only a couple blocks from the bru-haha of Bui Vien, Godmother’s is a small watering hole with big attractions including excellent mojitos, good food, and the weekly Optimus Club featuring international DJ’s.

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


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


LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 41/15 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0902 799962 With swings dangling playfully overhead, an expansive mural of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, multi-genre musical attractions, and famous western breakfasts and Mexican dishes, Hideaway awakens the senses and appeals to cosmopolitan sensibilities.


EXPAT BAR 54 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2644 Expats keep returning to this smoky dive bar, largely due to its amicable service, brewsky-downing atmosphere, and spirited dart games. A mainstay in the local darts league.


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


FRENCH / JAPANESE RESTOBAR 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 5994 A seductive watering whole in a great corner location thanks to its old Saigon glamour, Japanese-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, imported beer, classic cocktails, and entertaining music events / DJ sets.


AFTERHOURS LOUNGE 59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3122 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.


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

November 2013 Word | 123

HCMC and Tuesday night pub quizzes.

Level 23 Wine Bar

ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 An outdoor rooftop bar up on high, making it the perfect place to enjoy a pre or post dinner cocktail or beverage of choice while taking in the fresh air, sounds and sights of the bustling city below. Views not to be missed.

Level 23 Nightspot

LOUNGE BAR / NIGHT CLUB Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 There’s a top-end feel to this attractive, split-level and subtly lit rooftop lounge. Served by resident DJs with a dance area and comfortable seating to match, this is a favourite with Saigon residents, business travellers and tourists alike. Closed Mondays.


HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, cnr. Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 The Library captures the romance of a bygone era, offering a sophisticated snack menu and a nostalgic afternoon tea from 2.30 pm to 5pm. A great place to hang out in five-star luxury.


FRENCH / RESTOBAR 207 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 2704 French-run but universally appealing, Long Phi has been serving the backpacker area with excellent cuisine and occasional live music since 1990. Excellent late-night bistro cuisine.


3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 0938 939665 Set on the main road, despite its location this lounge bar has one the best outdoor terraces in town. Lit up at night by fairy lights and with a lightbox-style bar, this is a great hangout for a glass of wine or five.


Tel: 0126 9026006 Standing in the former home of Gaudi, McSorely’s is full of surprises, including a beautifully backlit swimming pool, reggae parties, comedy nights, and sporting events projected onto the patio wall.


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


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


EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAFÉ BAR 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0122 4283198 Up-cycling and innovative design form the foundation for this bar / arts venue / mini- skate park. Come for barbeque and reasonably priced drinks, stick around for entertaining events and adorable puppies.


SPANISH RESTOBAR / LIVE MUSIC 97 Hai Ba Trung , Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6024 Legs of Iberian ham hang from the ceiling in the downstairs bar of this multi-storey homage to everything Spanish. Regular first-floor live music and excellent eats makes it a mainstay for the wining, dining and tapaseating crowd.


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

124 | Word November 2013

to beef rendangs and more. A popular local haunt.


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


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


HOTEL MUSIC BAR 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 1923 Lam Som Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Live Latin music in its various forms is this fan-cooled, Old Saigon-style bar’s main attraction. With the international bands performing nightly, Saigon Saigon also benefits from great views, polished service and a vibrant ambience.


THEMED MUSIC BAR 103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 0007 Wild West-themed bar doubles as a music venue, where three talented Filipino bands (B&U, Wild West and Most Wanted) play covers of rock icons like Bon Jovi, U2 and Guns n’ Roses. Top shelf spirits and friendly, hostess style table service are the name game here.


INTERNATIONAL / SPORT 111 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7670 Spotted Cow delivers the fun-loving atmosphere that its playfully decorated black and white spotted interior promises, as well as decent international comfort food, a range of happy hours, live sports, and darts.


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


R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, Q7 Tel: (08) 5410 3900 The first bar established in Saigon South, great food, great music and loads of laughs. Has regular live music nights, theme nights and a variety of live sports events to please everybody. Big screens and outdoor seating add to the mix, with BBQs available for parties and events.


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


DIVE BAR 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9839 T&R is a popular setting for late night fun and questionable decisions. The bar’s laptop allows patrons to choose their own soundtrack to a pool / darts game, dance-off, or… whatever else they’re doing.

a softly lit downstairs patio, and an upstairs Blue Room chill out lounge area with regular live music.

Vesper Bar

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


WINE BAR / TAPAS The Square, 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 1315 1 Ducong 2, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9059 This downtown wine shop’s terrace is a popular after work drinking spot, where one can select from 10 wines by the glass, a range of imported beer, and an excellent tapas menu. Alternatively, buy from the great selection of wines in the shop and pay a small corkage.

Vinyl Bar

MUSIC & SPORTS BAR 70 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 890623 A small but popular bar with all the shenanigans of the nightlife scene set to a backdrop of classic 60s, 70s and 80s tunes. Has a darts area out back and is a popular space for watching the live English Premier League.


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

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




MUSIC / LOUNGE BAR The Square, 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2888 A veteran fixture of Saigon’s nightlife scene, Vasco’s offers

LOUNGE BAR & RESTOBAR 19-21 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7375 Creative cocktails, an extensive wine list, subtle lighting, international tapas and a

laid-back, lightbox-lit ambience are all part of the offering at the all-new ZanZBar on the river end of Dong Khoi. Popular with a businessy, international crowd.

Nightclubs FUSE

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


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


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


38 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3968 With a huge selection of self-imported wines from Bordeaux, this classy but contemporary venue is a wine bar downstairs, and a lounge on the first floor. Has a French-Asian menu paired to all the wines, with a huge selection of the good stuff sold by the glass.


13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7827 A two-storey, contemporarydesigned wine bar serving 30 wines by the glass, all at reasonable prices. Has an excellent food menu to complement the old and new world wines.



{ Coffee Cup }

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


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


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


EUROPEAN / MEDITERRANEAN 23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Set in a shophouse-style building, Au Parc offers a chic colonial space to indulge in sensibly priced European and Mediterranean food complemented with good coffee and excellent desserts.


INTERNATIONAL 45 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 4090 86 Pham Ngoc Thach, Tel: (08) 6299 1990

Café Bet Choose from a full range of café beverages and a fast-food style menu as you watch the latest Hollywood hits in their upstairs lounge. Check website for movie locations and schedule.


CASUAL CAFE 8A Luong Huu Khanh, Q1, el: (08) 3926 2828 This picturesque coffeehouse is full of charm, providing a quiet location to relax or read from their ‘Borrow-A-Book Nook’. A perfect blend of coffee and creativity.


MIDDLE EASTERN 59 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 5130 This secluded Middle Eastern coffeehouse has both cozy indoor and rooftop seating to admire views of the city. With such a prime downtown location, expect prices to match.


ITALIAN 11-13 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 5946 Conveniently located near the Caravelle Hotel, this casual cafe serves one of the best lattes in town with a mid-range Italian menu including panini and other typical fare.


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


INTERNATIONAL Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3508 7285 157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 9347 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3833 3648 Large portioned coffee lures customers into the flagship store of this international café chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere is bolstered by comfortable seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.


FRENCH 5 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9117 Known for it’s fantastic street-side seating opposite the park on Le Duan and savoury crepes, this hang out café will impress you with its location as much as its food.


INTERNATIONAL 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel: (08) 6271 0115 Trendy without pretense, this two-floor, relaxed café offers beautiful decor and unique original events like live music, film screenings, and art exhibits. Great prices and food with daily specials.


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


INTERNATIONAL 36 le loi , Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2747; 80 Ham Nghi,


o other coffee shops could spark such enthusiasm like Café Bet, a group of undefined small coffee stalls in the park on Han Thuyen in District 1. My workmates shrieked with excitement when I asked, “Is Bet still going?” Just a few minutes later, passionate conversations sparked up about best spots to sit — or even more controversial topics, like what to do when the authorities visit. That’s enough to make me visit Bet again. On a mild Saturday morning, I walked down beautiful-in-a-colonialway Han Thuyen to the park. I went early, expecting the place would be packed by the time I arrived. On the contrary, it was quite empty. I jumped into the centre of the activity and found a spot to sit down, ready to begin my quest. Opposite me, happily chatting away, was a group of young people, whom I reckoned were students. I gingerly approached the group and they welcomed me with shy smiles. One guy in the group had brought a guitar, and when I asked him how he would feel playing it in public, he smiled confidently. “I’ve had experience playing in school gigs before, so I’m not shy.”

A Local Getaway Walking on, a group of seven or eight women in bright, neon-coloured shirts caught my attention. They were carrying

baskets of food and chirping with pleasure. With the sweetest smile on my face, I approached them. When I told them I’d like to speak with them, the boldest woman in the group — dressed demonstratively in a neonyellow bodycon skirt — laughed freely. Soon they all joined in. For them, this coffee place is a convenient getaway from work, stress, boyfriends and husbands, right in the heart of Saigon. My most interesting conversation was, surprisingly, with two young guys who had been sitting next to me for a while. Dressed in casual shirts and shorts, they looked a bit sleepy. One told me, “I really like this spot. It’s a good open place with breeze to talk to friends. I hate going to crowded coffee shops where they play terrible music.” When asked if he would venture out here on his own, he said “Of course not. It’s for meeting friends. On my own I’d just stay home and sleep.” His answer is spot-on about why this coffee shop is so popular amongst Saigon citizens. It’s open, friendly, breezy and welcoming of anyone who wants to sit and relax in the rare green spaces of this city. — Quynh Nguyen The loose confederation of street stalls that make up Café Bet can be found in April 30th Park — north of Reunification Palace in District 1 — on the Han Thuyen side

November 2013 Word | 125

HCMC Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 3704; 97 Nguyan Huu Cau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3844 3295 In typical French fashion with fresh pastries, groomed waiters, and elaborate portions of ice cream, Givral is located opposite Continental Hotel Saigon, offering prime city viewing but higher prices.


INTERNATIONAL 106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 International coffee chain found throughout the city. It may not provide an authentic Vietnamese experience but it does offer comfortable seating and killer ice blended chillers to help beat the heat.


INTERNATIONAL 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 4222 Hidden in a colonial building with an outdoor courwrd, the ample soft, sofa seating renders a great spot to relax. The mouth-watering western menu is on the expensive side.


INTERNATIONAL 96b Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3512 7355 The flagship store of this upscale, somewhat pricey, coffeehouse offers western-style and local-style brews, with other branches also found in prime locations around the tourist area. Cappuccinos and a mediocre café experience costs above VND30,000. But the Wifi is good.


CAFE/ART GALLERY 324bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: 0908 113666 Renowned for its appreciation of art, Himiko is a hybrid of café and art gallery. Regularly displaying the work of young artists, an atmosphere unlike many others flourishes here.


CONTEMPORARY CAFE 34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2910 Centrally located near Ben Thanh Market, i.d offers casual café dining with a wide variety of food and beverages. Where modern design and a warm ambience meet for coffee.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 39-41 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6799 Kita’s colonial-era building and bistro-style decor will have you thinking you’ve been transported to the streets of Europe. Pair your experience with an espresso-based Italian coffee from their Mediterranean-based menu. Excellent sandwiches and salads.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 2718

The outdoor, well-aired terrace is the centrepiece of this popular, contemporary café. Enjoy live music on weekends as you sip on reasonably priced Vietnamese or espresso-based coffee.


FRENCH 112 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2067 A small space is met with a warm, luxurious design in this romantic French-style café. Menus change daily but the friendly staff ensures customer satisfaction.


CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 9565 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.


TEA ROOM 335/31 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: 0169 3583563 Traverse a wooden bridge over a bamboo-shaded goldfish pond to enjoy high quality tea, starting at VND35,000, in this quaint, open-air tearoom. Tea and tea-ware available for purchase.


CONTEMPORARY CAFE 158 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4990 Second-storey coffeehouse offers a quiet atmosphere to chill out or read from their book-nook collection. Comfortable couch seating, open table space and a cappuccino costs VND40,000.


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


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


INTERNATIONAL 5 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 5599 This two-storey building with a mezzanine level boasts an industrial style complex with block walls, steel structures and huge glass windows. The mid-range menu offers over 40 options from appetizers to desserts.

126 | Word November 2013

Ice-Cream Parlours Bach Dang

26-28 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2707 One of the oldest ice cream parlours in Saigon, this spot attracts locals and tourists thanks to their authentic Vietnamese ice cream. Their coconut ice cream is a must try.

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

Baskin Robbins

1 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 7308 3131 With over 7,000 stores worldwide, Baskin Robbins now has a number in Ho Chi Minh City. Offers over a 100 choices of ice cream, with desserts and drinks also on the menu. Delivery is available.


171 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 2778 An American-based ice cream company with over nine stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Bud’s has become a weekend hangout for the locals. Also offers a wide range of Western and Vietnamese food. Price starts at VND28,000 a scoop.


29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1633 For many years, the Frenchrun Fanny has been a favourite of ice-cream lovers. With over 30 flavours to choose from, they also have great selection of sorbets and cakes. Hold an ice-cream buffet on the first Friday of the month.


133 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9339 This cosy and nicely decorated Italian ice-cream parlour has a full range of flavours. Traditional Italian dishes are also on the menu.


11 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 6683 5899 Nestled in a French-inspired location, Häagen-Dazs brings a new experience for café-goers with more than 60 flavours of ice cream and beverages.

Kem Nhan

4 Truong Han Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 6763 A popular street food place for the locals, offers a VND10,000 scoop of either longan or coffee ice cream. Also serves deep-fried fish balls to order along with your ice cream.


30 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7898 With their low fat gelatos and ice cream sourced from Japan, MOF strive to have the best quality Japanese desserts in town. They also specialise in fat-free sorbets, and have a great range of food and drinks on the menu.


Tel: 0902 208812 Peter Stuckings and Mark Stennett are professional travel photographers based in Ho Chi Minh City who offer

CINEMAS Showcasing the latest Hollywood blockbusters and 3D cinematic sensations, chains such as Megastar Media, Lotte and Galaxy Cinema offer the most up-to-date and modern cinema-going experiences in Saigon. For those partial to more esoteric and independent flicks, smaller outlets such as Cinebox and Idecaf carry little known Vietnamese and European efforts.

workshops and tours to help you improve your photography skills.


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


6 Le Van Mien, Q2 Tel: 0907729846 Vin’s Space is an intimate, light-filled space that offers artists a quiet space to work individually or share ideas. Weekly classes include oil painting, drawing and arts and crafts classes for all ages.

Books & Magazines ARTBOOK

13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 38227897 3rd Floor, Lotte Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Q7 Tel: (08) 3775 2521

43 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3502 1559 158ED Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9745 1B1 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 3518 Frequent overseas imports of the latest magazines and books makes Artbook a rarity in this city. The stock covers art and architecture through to graphic design, fashion, cooking, interior design and landscaping.

Galaxy Cinema



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

Lotte Cinema

230 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 6688 116 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 5235 246 Nguyen Hong Dao, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3849 4567


31 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5451

Megastar Cinema

Level 5, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 2222 Level 10, CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6297 1981 Level 5, Parkson Paragon, 3 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0088

469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Tan Hung Tel: (08) 3775 2987 Although there are many branches of Fahasa dotted throughout the city, this is one of the largest, with three floors of books and related products in English, French, Chinese and Vietnamese.


2A Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9650 2nd Floor, Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 7131 Now with over 30 bookstores in Ho Chi Minh City, PNC is probably the leading book retailer in Vietnam. Stocks the full range of Vietnamese fiction and non-fiction books as well as over 2,000 English language titles.


175/24 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 2671 The authorised distributor of Lonely Planet in Vietnam, they also stock non-copied works of fiction in English (both new and second hand) as well as postcards, maps, stamp books, coin collections and travel fiction.


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


27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1 Tel: 0903 888431 Located in a quiet corner of District 1, Craig Thomas Gallery offers a compelling mix of up-and-coming and established local artists. In operation since 2009, its founder has been promoting Vietnamese art for a decade.


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


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 In addition to working with artists based in Vietnam, Galerie Quynh also exhibits the work of artists from around the world. This wellestablished gallery supports education through talks, lectures and publications.


324 Bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: 0958 881908 (Ms. Hoang) A visit to Himiko’s Visual

HCMC Saloon is never anything less than a feast for the eyes. Open for five years, this cafe-cum-gallery has a reputation for showcasing the work of Saigon’s bright young creative things including Himiko herself.


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


129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 07 Phan Chu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3166 Established in 2004, these two galleries feature works by the likes of La Hon, Ton That Bang and Le Xuan Chieu. An eclectic range of styles is exhibited, including abstracts, landscapes and impressionism.


3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 0183 San Art is an independent, artist-run exhibition

space that offers residency programmes for young artists, lecture series and an exchange programme that invites international artists/ curators to organise or collaborate on exhibitions.


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


112 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 5841 This colonial–era theatre holds classic piano recitals and orchestral performances, and is closely connected to performance groups in the city. There are two concert rooms with two performances weekly.


43 tu xuong, Q3 Tel: 0909 930 907 This 40–voice choir and 21-piece orchestra holds both private and public performances, with rehearsals held every Monday from 7.30pm to 9pm at the British International School at 43 Tu Xuong St, Q3.

{ in the Frame } The Winding Line

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

Production Houses CREA TV

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


ui Tien Tuan paints women. In October’s Red Thread exhibition at the Craig Thomas Gallery, they were scantily clothed women. He paints using subdued colours, including — of course — pink, the default ‘feminine’ of the past century. The red is for raunchiness. So far, nothing sounds new. Countless painters have spent centuries doing much of the same. But Tuan shouldn’t be lumped in with many of the male artists of those centuries, who ogled naked female models and perpetuated patriarchal power relations. Tuan’s chirpy images of teasing ladies are not, thankfully, the soft porn that other artists are using with lame excuses about commenting on body image issues and the ravages of an over-advertised society. Tuan has painted women for a good part of his trajectory as an artist, but he does not come across as a pervert, or even as a man with only one thing on his mind. Tuan’s women have a selfassurance about them, they have power. Not the power of twerking someone into a jellylike state. They have the power of Manet’s Olympia, of not giving a hoot about being condemned or judged by the person looking at them. And these ladies certainly do know they are the object of a gaze, and they enjoy it and play with it, as confident in themselves as a consenting adult should be. Except for one

Photo by Yves Schepiek

or two who seem to be enjoying their own naughty company in private.

The Thin Red Line The red thread zigzags across the paintings, weaving a common theme through the show. It ties up the exhibition beautifully. Lacy patterns are also a repetitive motif, well balanced by the trendy polka dot print on some underwear items. The patterns, the red ribbon and the prostrate relaxation may remind some viewers of shunga — Japanese erotic prints. Bui Tien Tuan’s compositions are generally more contemporary, however. One or two compostions seem borrowed from Degas or Schiele, but the diagonal cuts and distant corner placements of some figures are more akin to cinematic angles. Room two of the gallery is devoted to female singers, vocalists who work in cabaret, jazzing up the confetti-infested air. These paintings are busier, like nightclubs. What they lack in intimacy is made up by effervescence. Ink and watercolour on traditional Vietnamese do paper are a bit of a new start for Bui Tien Tuan, who is a trained silk painter. He uses both mediums well, making the most of their delicate tactile quality. The quirky drawings, even cartoonish at times, add a humourous twinkle to what might otherwise be a bit too sugary an image. — Cristina Nualart The Craig Thomas Gallery is at 27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1

November 2013 Word | 127


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


Binh Duong Highway, Phuong Hiep An, Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 389 6389 This huge amusement park is Vietnam’s answer to Disneyland. A bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City gives you access to some amazing rides, a water-park and one of the better zoos in Vietnam. Located 45km away on Highway 13, just after Thu Dau Mot.


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


2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 1425 Dating from 1875, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a vast collection of rare orchids and ornamental plants, and a collection of over one hundred species of animals.

Clubs & Societies

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


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


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


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


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


35 bis Huynh Khuong Ninh, Q1


53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4490 A professionally run dance studio close to District 1. Children age 4+ can learn jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, acro dance and break dance, while adult classes are available from beginner to advanced. International team of qualified dance instructors. Free trial first week of the month for newcomers.


No 96, Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 9429

128 | Word November 2013 To learn how to move your hips like Shakira, head over to this studio for courses in belly dancing and “sexy dancing”. Scheduling information is available online.


Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus Road 1 and 3, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien , Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6960 With a pool, astroturf play area, basketball court and outdoor gym equipment, AIS Sports Centre is a great venue to stay fit. Packages available for family members of students, couples and others.


Tel: 0902 271830 personalfitnessathome. A private fitness trainer assisting with strength training, weight loss and allover body toning to obtain positive lifestyle habits and stronger bodies for females. Sessions take place at clients’ homes and generally last one hour. Group workouts or one on one. Email for details.


65 Truc Duong, Lang Bao Chi Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. 0909 008985 Aquabiking classes help you strengthen and sculpt your body fast while keeping it safe for your joints and refreshing, thanks to the benefits of water. Suitable for all condition levels.

BODY EXPERT SYSTEMS Do you have limited time? Not seeing results? BES’s online software and memberships offer affordable and powerful tools to achieve fantastic fat loss, fitness improvement and overall wellbeing ­— anywhere.


Queen Ann Building, 28–30– 32 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 5999 Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, Q5 Tel: (08) 2222 0299 05 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: (08) 3826 0999

20 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3948 3999 One of the leading fitness and yoga centres in Vietnam featuring modern equipment with over 100 aerobic and yoga classes like Hot Yoga, Indian Dance, Pole dance, Zumba, Body Balance and Body Combat.


19-23 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 This well–equipped gym has rows of cardiovascular machines and free weights, a massage parlour, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, with a pleasant swimming pool.


49A Xa Lo Ha noi, Q2 Tel: 0947 771326 This sports centre in An Phu, started by fitness guru Cyril Terrones, features the same personalised mentorship Cyril’s clients love. Includes Zumba, salsa, boxing and fitness for kids and adults every day. No membership fees. Pay for classes in installments of 10.



13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 A well–equipped gym with steam room, Jacuzzi, massage parlour and swimming pool can be found above this leading department store.


100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0909 540030 K1 offers martial arts, boxing, kick and Thai boxing, Krav–maga, grappling, MMA, kid’s martial art classes and private fitness and conditioning. Open to everyone from kids to adults, beginners to professionals.


Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1812 A colonial–themed gym in a large, open–plan space, situated on top of the Rex Hotel. Includes a tennis court, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, cardio and resistance ma-

chines, sauna and steam rooms.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 5181 Classes in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga, Pilates, Tae Bo, Centergy, aqua–aerobics and body sculpting are offered by internationally certified teachers. There’s also a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.

Panorma Fitness

206 Tran Van Tra, Q7 Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534 Classes in cross-training, an interval-based circuit training programme focused on functional movement. An intensive full body workout that increases strength, speeds up metabolism and burns fat, classes are conducted by professional instructors and personal trainers. All fitness levels welcome.


2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8560 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3744 6672 Offers fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. There is also a spa and a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.


8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Exercise with an unsurpassed city view at this health club with gym, swimming pool, steam room and massage parlour. There’s also a good place to take time out, by the poolside bar.


New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Medium–sized gym with new cardio equipment and spacious changing rooms with adjustable shower settings, Jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna. Also has an excellent guitar–shaped outdoor pool.

Sheraton Fitness

Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 State-of-the-art equipment in a spacious environment. Focusing on mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery, The Sheraton has partnered with Core Performance to customize online training programmes upon guests’ requests. Open 6am to 10pm.


17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 At this small but well– equipped gym the equipment is modern and staff members are extremely helpful. Yoga classes are just one of a number of fitness classes offered.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0253 Steve Chipman, who had a hand in establishing gyms at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is behind Star Fitness — one of Vietnam’s largest and bestequipped gyms.


3rd Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5412 1277 Overlooking the Crescent complex’s lagoon, this centre offers modern facilities, a gym with Technogym equipment allowing users to track their progress. Includes fitness classes, yoga, squash courts, pool, steam bath and nutrition bar.


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

THE SAIGON RIVER CLUB Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 This gym is equipped with advanced equipment, cardiovascular, strength and free

HCMC weight sections, sauna and steam rooms, plus studios offering Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, and Belly Dancing. Includes a large outdoor pool with jacuzzi.



RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 The Saigon Cricket League includes teams from five nations — Australia, England, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — plus a mixed–nationality team called United Cricket Club. New recruits are welcome.

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA) Manish Sogani Tel: 0908 200 598


ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Deeptesh Gill Tel: 01228 770 038

ISCS (INDIAN SPORTS CLUB IN SAIGON) Munish Gupta Tel: 0986 973 244

LES GAULOIS DE SAIGON This originally French team welcomes football enthusiasts looking for competition or conviviality both on and off the pitch.


Contact Fred on 0919 709 024 or Viet Luu 0909 500 171. This predominantly French side has been playing for over 10 years, winning the championship title for the last four years.

SAIGON RAIDERS This team is part of the Saigon International Football League, with regular games against local teams. A sociable football team always on the hunt for enthusiastic new talent.


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 saigonrugbyfootballclub@ The Saigon Geckos play social touch rugby and also welcome men and women to join and enjoy drinks afterwards. There are regular tours of the region, as well as games with visiting teams. Beginners welcome.

SAIGON SAINTS Players train weekly and tour across the region to play in local and international tournaments. New players are actively encouraged to join this SIFL expat football club, running since 1995.

PSSC (PAKISTAN SAIGON CRICKET CLUB) Samie Cashmiri Tel: 0976 469 090

SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB) Steve Treasure Tel: 0903 998 824

SSC (SRI LANKA SPORTS CLUB) Suhard Amit Tel: 0988 571 010

UCC (UNITED CRICKET CLUB) Asif Ali Tel: 0937 079 034


Tel: 0937 683 230 The Vietnam Swans play international footy matches around Asia. Social functions aplenty for everyone. Regardless of age or ability, all are invited to become an active part of the club.


Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 2001 Visitors’ fees are around VND500,000 for a round of golf at this mini nine–hole course. 40 percent discount on Wednesdays. On the driving range, 50 balls cost under VND60,000. Equipment hire available.


77 Binh Duong, Thuan An, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 3756 660 This resort incorporates tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gymnasium at its 18–hole, 6,384–metre course just 22km from the city.

VIETNAM GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB Long Thanh My Village, Q9 Tel: (08) 6280 0101 This facility just off Highway 1 has two courses. Both 18– hole courses are complemented by other attractions such as tennis, boating and an on–site eatery.

Miscellaneous HASH HOUSE HARRIERS Balancing beer and exercise, this long–established running club goes to various out–of–town locations to tear up a few kilometres and burn some of the weekend’s calories. Walking trails offered. Depart from the Caravelle Hotel on Sundays at 2pm.


Buddha Bar, 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0913 408146 Diving courses and trips offered by the longest established PADI dive centres throughout Vietnam. All courses can be started at their state–of–the–art centre in An Phu.

RANGERS BASEBALL TEAM A baseball team with over 25 international members. Practices and games are held on the weekends at RMIT and the Taiwanese Junior High School in District 7.

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL DARTS LEAGUE There are some excellent players in this fun and popular international darts league, which runs a highly competitive competition for a growing number of pub– based teams.

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL SOFTBALL LEAGUE The Saigon International Softball League invites you to play slo-pitch softball. Teams with players from all over the world compete every Sunday.


36 Thao Dien, Q2 saigonshootersnetball. saigonshootersnetball@ A friendly mixed netball league, running on Monday nights, is open to both men and women from the ages of eight and up (including an adult competition).


28 Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 7303 1100 Offers coaching for football, tennis, basketball and swimming for both children and adults. Private lessons are also available throughout the year.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext 176

November 2013 Word | 129


{ Body and Temple } One Man’s Medicine, Another’s…

By Phil Kelly


lthough there are thousands of diet books and millions of people following conventional wisdom advice, we are the most overweight, obese, unhealthy people ever. Even worse, childhood obesity across the modern world is becoming an epidemic. It is clear that this approach of the food plate and convention wisdom, where one diet fits all, is not working. It seems to create more controversy than conclusions. What if all the nutritional controversies could be solved with a better understanding of our DNA and ethnic variation? What do I mean by this? An easy and relevant example to consider is the ability to digest dairy products between people of Northern European ancestry and Southeast Asian ancestry. In most mammals, the gene for lactose tolerance turns off once an animal matures beyond the weaning years. Human’s biology was the same as well… until a mutation in the DNA of an isolated population in Northern Europe around 10,000 years ago created an adaptive tolerance for milk. Southeast Asians did not develop this tolerance. Scientists have found that the ability to digest milk depends on the degree to which you have Northern European blood.

Nutrigenomics Nutrition research and knowledge is being taken to new levels through the study of Nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. It has been associated with the idea of personalised nutrition based on our DNA. Where one person may find a food medicinal, to another the same food may be toxic. Dr John Beradi discusses the topic with a common and popular nutrient — caffeine. Current nutrigenomic research has discovered that caffeinated coffee can either be a medicine or a poison in relation to heart disease. This is all down to a gene called CYP1A2. This gene signals the liver to make one of two enzymes — a slow or a fast version. If your body possesses the gene that makes the fast version, scientists have found that when you consume caffeine your body processes and eliminates the caffeine from your blood stream very quickly. This results in a decreased risk of heart disease

130 | Word November 2013

when you drink a moderate amount of caffeine per day. However, if your body possesses the slow version of the enzyme, your body processes and eliminates the caffeine from your bloodstream very slowly, which increases your risk of heart disease when drinking the same amount of caffeine per day. Where health is concerned our genetics really do establish if food is one person’s poison and another’s medicine.

One Person’s Poison… This concept of nutritional genetics is also true if we consider that a high carb, low fat diet is suitable for one genetic type of person and ‘poison’ for another. How food affects us on a cellular level is the real key to health and achieving great body composition. Genes and hormones play a much more important role than calories ever will. The main hormones that play crucial roles in achieving fat loss, and health are insulin, glucagon, human growth hormone (HGH), cortisol, leptin and ghrelin. Insulin and glucagon control sugar usage and whether fat is stored or ‘burnt off’. Ghrelin and leptin are hunger hormones that send messages to the brain controlling how

much you eat. If you’re eating or lifestyle habits stimulate increased or decreased levels, or are resistant to these hormones, you will experience food cravings or reduced satiety levels no matter how much you eat. Hormones like cortisol and estrogen can even determine where in the body fat will be stored or burned. In addition, human growth hormone (HGH) is very important, as there is no better fat burner than our muscles. HGH stimulates your body to burn fat rather than store it. With even a better understanding of your genetic code you could devise a much more individualised nutritional plan to optimise your health and function. Good nutrition does not need to be complicated. However, we all have bodies that are built in different ways, react differently, look different… we are all unique. We are as chemically different on the inside as we are physically on the outside. There can never be any one diet that works for everyone. These are key considerations when devising a nutritional plan. Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website or through Star Fitness on

HCMC Membership is open to non–Landmark residents for use of the courts. Private instruction is available for new players or those without a partner. Racquet rental with balls inclusive. Book in advance.


436A/33 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: 0938 889899 Founded in Singapore, they train every Saturday morning from 10am to midday. Everyone is welcome. For more information about games and the club in Vietnam contact James or Rina.


RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Pan–Asian competitions are often organised for the more experienced and everyone can join in this exciting modern sport held every Sunday afternoon in Saigon South from 4pm to 5.30pm.


7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 6278 5794 Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional

location in District 2.

Tennis KY HOA II

796 Su Van Hanh, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3706 Hourly hire for courts starts from VND80,000. Private coaching is available, and a small shop stocks all the equipment. Also has an excellent gym and swimming pool.



291 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3862 7144 Private coaching sessions and group lessons are available at this popular club. You can rent one of several courts from VND40,000 per hour. There is also equipment for hire.

vietnameselanguagegarden. com A Vietnamese language school specialising in personalized, one-on-one instruction at a comfortable and centrally located facility, in your home, office, or over Skype.




45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 90 Le Van Thiem, Q7 Tel: (08) 3910 5673 This professional school has built a good reputation over 12 years. Offers set and tailor–made courses for all abilities in both northern and southern Vietnamese within high quality facilities.


Tel: 0908 604 753 Contact outgoing and experienced instructor Mr Hoang, who takes individuals or groups from beginner level up to fluency. VND220,000 per hour.


135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh Tel: 0916 670 771

Yoga & Meditation ANUPA YOGA

9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 AT anupa’s private studio, we offer classes to individuals or small groups. The primary focus is to support students who want to regularly practise traditional yoga. For information contact us via email support@ or phone.

shivaprakashyoga@yahoo. com A qualified yoga master from India who has been teaching in Ho Chi Minh City in different locations including L’Apothiquaire and Nutrifort. Yoga styles include Asthanga, Hatha, Dynamic, Vital and Power yoga. 107/39 Truong Dinh, Q3 Tel: 0909 648193 E-RYT200-certified yoga instructor offering Vinyasa yoga classes at various locations around the city. Private and corporate yoga programmes available.


Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 Saigon Pearl’s luxury, stateof-the-art health club provides a number of Yoga classes held throughout the week with experienced practitioners at varied times in a specifically designed softfloored studio.


Tel: 0908 352265 Founder Suzanne Vian, has two decades of experience and is a Yoga Alliance

‘Experienced Instructor’. Iyengar-influenced classes, specialising in Hatha, Flow, Hot, Pre and Post-natal Yoga, Restorative, Injury Rehabilitation, Retreats and Trainings.


54/2/25 Bach Dang, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3848 5347 modern yoga studio focusing on Ashtanga Yoga and suitable for all levels. Prenatal and postnatal classes also available. Classes are bilingual with internationally certified instructors in cooperation with Tirisulayoga Singapore.


1st Floor The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0253 Yoga professionals teach regular yoga classes in three disciplines at this gym. Members get free access. Contact Star Fitness directly for schedules and non–member prices.


84T/4 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 5813 Soham Yoga Studio and Boutique specialises in highquality yoga training, offer-

ing Vinyasa Flow, Sivananda, Power yoga and more with Yoga Alliance-certified yoga instructors. Soham’s yoga shop also sells high quality yoga products.

VAJRAYANA BUDDHISM MEDITATION GROUP Meditation group specializing in the methods of Tibetan Buddhism. Help the practitioners understand and experience the nature of their mind and the nature of all phenomena.


Tel: 01266 626 467 Daphne offers yoga classes, Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage across the city. Each session is unique and different to provide the perfect balance in nurturing the body and mind.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

November 2013 Word | 131


From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3939 3930 A clinic provides world class Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Foot Care. We specialize in provides effective treatment for back, neck and knee pain, sports injuries, and all types of foot problems. We also provide effective treatment for Flat foot syndrome in children.


Family Medical Practice Tel: (08) 3822 7848 American-educated and licensed physical therapist with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree in Vietnam. Specialising in orthopedic injuries, joint pain, sports injuries and post-operative rehabilitation.


34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: 01268 654 202 American-trained and nationally certified massage therapist and National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer offering orthopedic manual therapy, corrective exercise and orthopedic massage, focusing on pain management well as injury rehab/ prevention.


Tel: 0906 684 969 Dr Kim Sung Soo offers a range of alternative oriental treatments, including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, physical therapy, plus treatment for fertility, chronic pain (headache, backache, arthritis, muscular), obesity, allergies and menopausal disorders.


273–275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Q3 Tel: (08) 3997 1146 Apart from standard treatments such as acupuncture and massage, this hospital and training centre places emphasis on physiotherapy — the use of herbs to stimulate and protect the immune system.

Massage Therapy with Sarah Martin Tel: 0937 442516 Australian massage therapist offering deep tissue/ sports massage, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, prenatal massage, Reiki, massage training and workshops. Located in District 2. Email sarahmichaela@hotmail. com for more information.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINE HOSPITAL 187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 6579 One of the city’s leading centres of traditional Chinese medicine infused with modern understanding. Up–to–date and clean with friendly staff, but you will need a translator.

432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7

132 | Word November 2013


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6758 American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children by an American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 17 years of experience. The American-standard facility is equipped with state of the art equipments for the early detection and treatment of important eye diseases from Lasik and cataract surgeries to presbyopia, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery and Botox injections are also available.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 This modern international– standard hospital has a full cosmetic surgery department offering body contouring, breast augmentation, Botox, a range of facial surgery options, laser skin improvement, with expert French and Vietnamese doctors.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 Conveniently located downtown clinic provid-

ing modern, safe and fast treatments including Botox and restylane, by an experienced American doctor. Also provides cosmetic surgery consultations with French and Vietnamese doctors.


Level 2, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 6999 The Australian and Canadian managed SIAN Clinic offers a wide range of skincare medical therapies to treat problems by an experienced dermatologist and facial care team. The clinic utilises the latest therapies.


254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 Stamford Skin Centre offers a broad range of medical and aesthetic skin treatments. Their international dermatologists and doctors ensure accurate diagnosis and safe treatment procedures. It houses excellent equipment for a variety of procedures.

Counselling WE LINK

64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2900 Psychological counselling services for individual, group and family. Diverse counsellors and therapists, using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Art Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy. For adolescents and adults. Vietnamese, English, French and Spanish spoken.


Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8800 Accadent Vietnam is supported by Accadent Germany and offers high quality standards, high–tech materials and equipment, German precision and hygiene standards for your teeth.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3431 Full–service dental clinic at this international–class hospital covers the entire spectrum from examinations and cleaning to braces and implants, all carried out to the highest standards.


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 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.


2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Long–established, modern clinic with French, Canadian, Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the for-

eign residential community due to its modern and effective treatments allied with extremely reasonable prices.


Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6999 The Practice, Level 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6777 An international dental clinic equipped with the latest technology, the comfortable clinics offer cosmetic and implant dentistry with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free.


173 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phong Ward, Q7 Tel: 5413 6634 9am to 12pm, 2pm to 6.30pm (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat); 2pm to 6.30pm (Thurs); 9am to 12pm (Sun); Closed Wednesdays A contemporary Japanese dental clinic that provides a full range of standard and specialised dental services and treatments, including 60-minute teeth whitening..., Smile Dental Clinic opens Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat: 9AM-12PM, 2PM6:30PM. Thu: 2PM-6:30PM. Sun: 9AM-12PM, closes on Weds__ and PUBLIC-HOLIDAYS. English - Vietnamese and Japanese are also available to call


November 2013 Word | 133

HCMC From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


Fideco Riverview Building, 14 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6475 anthony@aglondonsalon. Top British stylist “George” brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. A modern and professional salon, the products used here are exclusively Dermalogica, Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal.


37B Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 0913 47 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1101 A four–floor, one–stop hair salon for people who like highlights and a sharp–looking mane. Even the stylists here sport modern, funky styles. A cut above the rest.


48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4625 Open daily from 9am to 8pm Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated her long-standing flagship salon Venus Coiffure to a villa in Thao Dien. A full range of services is offered including a dedicated kids salon.


45 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2737 Spa–related salon with a good reputation for quality and comfort offers washes and leisurely haircuts from VND330,000 plus a range of related services.


41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 6298 This salon can make you look naturally blond or help you to revamp your hairstyle. Using international brands like L’Oreal and Wella, your hair will be given that healthy, bouncier new look.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 Run by Canadian hair stylist Ky The Guy, YKC Hair Studio attracts a loyal expat clientele thanks to the well-trained staff and friendly Englishspeaking environment. Top industry products such as Tigi and Goldwell are used.

Medical AUSTRALIAN CLINIC & PATHOLOGY DIAGNOSTICS 273–275 Ly Thai To, Q10 Tel: (08) 3834 9941 Services includes general outpatient healthcare, corporate

/ visa health–checks, X–ray, full laboratory and in–house pharmacy including specialist medical services covering cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedics and dermatology.

perienced American, French, and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health care. Plus sports medicine, cosmetic treatments, skin care and surgical consultations.



Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0757 Sister clinic of the Family Medical Practice, Care 1 opened in 2007 and offers preventative healthcare checkups as well as a full range of corporate health services for international companies in Vietnam.

CENTRE MEDICAL INTERNATIONAL (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy and traditional medicine.


8 Alexandre de Rhodes, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8888 Well–established and well– regarded, offers emergency and primary medical care with international and Vietnamese doctors on call 24 hours a day. Prices are very reasonable.


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7848 95 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2000 Full–service 24–hour healthcare provider with highly– qualified doctors handling everything from emergencies to tests and X–rays, in–patient and out–patient care, check– ups, travel medicine and medical evacuations.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 Emergency: (08) 5411 3500 International hospital whose standard of health care matches that found anywhere, with 19 full–time French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing expertise in 30 medical and surgical areas, especially maternity care.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 State–of–the–art medical centre located in District 1. Ex-

134 | Word November 2013

601B Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3977 8130 Mottoed “Building Stem Cell bridges for everyone”, HMIC comprises a medical clinic and associated pathology laboratory with Applied Research Center of Regenerate medicine.

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CENTRE (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, OB–GYN, ophthalmology, paediatrics, and sports medicine.


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

STAMFORD MEDICAL CLINIC 254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 Stamford Medical Clinic offers services in internal medicine, dermatology, aesthetic medicine, infectious diseases, and general medicine.

VICTORIA HEALTHCARE INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3910 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations and specialising in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology, women’s health and internal medicine. Offers a membership programme and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad.


3 Truong Dinh, Q1 Tel: 0909 682 827 A nail spa in Saigon with a modern ambiance. Services range from classic manicures and spa treatment to acrylic

and gel enhancements.


40 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1407 Grooming salon for men which, as well as its standard hairdressing services, offers massages for the tired executive. A good place to escape the hustle and bustle of Saigon.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 100 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 3932 5181 Award–winning salon very highly rated by foreign visitors offers body massages, facials, sports fatigue massages, slimming wraps and waxing. Also offers gentleman’s care.


23C Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Specialising in all forms of skincare, this is well–designed, ambient and outfitted day spa offers body treatments as well as facials and foot treatments.

Aqua Day Spa

Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Nestled between the 20-meter lap pool, a purpose built sauna, a fitness centre and a poolside restaurant, the natural charcoal stone, local timber and earthy colours of Aqua Day Spa encompass seven spa suites, complete with showers, as well as double rooms for couples. Open daily from 10am to 11pm.


Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel:(08) 3519 4671 Aveda is a boutique spa based on Ayurveda. They use a range of 100 percent natural and herbal products. Their Ayurvedic recipes are designed to take you to new heights of relaxation and rejuvenation.


one suite with a Jacuzzi bath; offers hand and foot care and a hair styling area.

and beautifully decorated. Treatments focus on relaxation therapies.



69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7188 Indochine Spa provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural French products in a clean and pleasant environment.


112, Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 0563 10am to 10pm (last booking 9.30pm) Mekong Bliss Spa is a top place to enjoy authentic Vietnamese spa treatments. As well as offering an impressive array of services, part of the proceeds help disadvantaged youth in the Mekong Delta.


31Q Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3905 4609 An old world, Indochineesque interior complete with wooden floors, flowers and flowing drapes makes this an excellent atmosphere in which to enjoy a massage. Also offers hair styling and facials.


110 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 589290 A new spa that offers services such as body massage, facial and hair treatments. The price list includes service with discounts for members.


3rd Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 Spa InterContinental offers guests the professional spa expertise and a truly sensory experience. With an extensive menu, the Spa InterContinental provides the caring touch of local therapists.


63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 8926 Aimed exclusively at ladies and couples only, treatments at this Japanese spa include facial, body and foot care, and Japanese-style haircuts, as well as steam-sauna, paraffin and waxing services.

79 Phan Ke Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 5575 Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the refurbished former Chilean Consulate. Spa Tropic has a long-standing reputation among expats and visitors alike for its professional quality service.



129A Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8368 Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages lasting from 30 minutes, to two-hour hot stone therapy, includes

Nguyen Du Villas, 111 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0885 High–end spa set in the elegant grounds of one of the city’s most enviable addresses. The spa itself is intimate

22nd floor, Sailing Tower, 111A Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 2220 2600 A luxury health spa that offers both relaxation and health care therapies to clients.Oriental remedies and therapies collected from the Traditional Medicine Institutes of Vietnam are used by the centre’s therapists.


Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9007 Saigon Centre, 3M Floor, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 1800 Located at two serviced apartment locations, The Spa offers foot massages, body massages and treatments, facial skin treatments and pampering packages.


76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Elegant facility offering relaxation at the highest level. Different treatment rooms are available to deliver contemporary rejuvenation treatments. Spacious changing rooms with jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna.


Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1234 Breathtaking luxury spa with a tranquil atmosphere, Vichy shower room and range of high–quality massages, facial, body and foot treatments, and overall spa packages complemented by the use of Comfort Zone products.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 Exceptional service and customer satisfaction has established YKC as a premier pampering destination for Saigon’s expats and visitors. YKC operates with the utmost integrity and respect in regards to serving its clients.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


* ELECTRONICS Nope, Ho Chi Minh City is not as cheap as Hong Kong or Bangkok when it comes to those camera and computer purchases we are all obsessed with these days. But it’s not far off. Here’s a lowdown on where stuff is available


Saigon’s photography lovers need look no further than Huynh Thuc Khang, Ho Tung Mau, Nguyen Hue and Le Loi to find dozens of stores stocking everything from digital to disposable cameras. Camera accessories, such as lenses and caps, digital image printing and other services are also available too as is a range of second-hand lenses and camera bodies.


11/13 Ho Dac Di, Tan Phu Tel: 0937 868 679 8.30am to 6.30pm This is a typical Vietnamese retail outlet without decoration and with products displayed in glass cases. Selling digital and video cameras of well-known brands such as Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony and JVC, prices start at VND9 million for a profes-

sional camera and VND5.5 million for a standard video camera. Also sells a range of accessories.


Tel: 0903 035 271 Wear it or mount it. Waterproof, professional, true HD and extremely small. The world’s most versatile camera and accessories are available in Vietnam from authorised distributor Silver Sun Ltd Co. in Da Nang. Call for details of stockists or for a direct order.


113 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 1166 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as The Lost Art, Le Vu Nikon specializes mainly in Nikon products with a full range of cameras and accessories. A normal DSLR Nikon camera with a lens that can be disassembled is priced

at VND12 million. Batteries cost between VND200,000 and VND300,000. Also offers a maintenance service and part exchange.


Fitting & Services Centre, 117/28 Nguyen Huu Canh,Q2 Tel: (08) 6294 5448 Ctrack GPS vehicle solutions. A world leader in real time monitoring and data collection, Ctrack GPS has operations in 56 countries and have more than 20 years of hands on experiences in solutions related to GPS and management logistics. Juotec T-eye Dashboard Cameras record events outside and inside vehicles with high-res 1.3Mb cameras.


11 Le Cong Kieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5888 Situated in one of the most beautiful antique-store streets in the city, this small shop restores and fixes all

kinds of cameras from Nikon and Canon to Sony. They will locate and identify the specific problem and quote a price before fixing the camera. Speak good English.


Bui Thi Xuan, Nguyen Cu Trinh and Ton That Tung streets are considered to be the places to shop for computers, selling everything from LCD monitors, RAM sticks, keyboards, webcams and internet phone cards through to speaker systems at reliable and affordable prices. Many of the stores also offer a computer maintenance service.


81 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0999 8am to 5pm This Australian company

provides an impressive selection of printing solutions such as ink, lasers, faxes, photocopier cartridges and high-quality paper. Free pick-up and delivery service, and a refill service is available at reliable prices. With professional staff, the store offers an effective and quick restoration and maintenance service for printers of well-known brands such as HP, Epson, Canon, Xerox and Brother.


236 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 7300 6666 8am to 5pm A large internet service supplier, FPT is also known for being one of the biggest Vietnamese IT brands. Manufacturing IT products including deskstops, notebooks, servers and accessories, their stores are found nationwide. Prices start at VND5,7 million for a desktop without monitors,

and a notebook costs from VND11 million. Accessories vary, from flash memory cards and scandisks to USB bars. Visit the website for information and product prices.


Hoan Long Building, 244 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 2999 8am to 9pm Located opposite Co-Op Mart, this glass building carries a full range of IT equipment and accessories, including laptops, desktops, Acer RAM and products by Dell and Sony. Also sells Apple’s iPad, starting at VND21.8 million for the 3G version and MacBooks for VND28 million. In addition has a small selection of digital video cameras. Offers an assembly service for both domestic and international orders. Good post-sale maintenance and customer-service.

Platinum sponsors

194 Hoang Van Thu Street, Ward 9, Phu Nhuan District Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 09:30am - 2:00pm Entry: 100,000VND Free entry for children under 10 accompamied by adult A chance to experience different cultures, handicrafts and foods from across the globe. Raffle draw begins at 12:00 noon. Photos with Santa Claus for 100,000VND. All proceeds go to charity. To become a sponsor for the Charity Bazaar, email: To purchase tickets in advance, please contact: Consulate General of the State of Kuwait - Tel: 08.38270555 or email: November 2013 Word | 135


INTERIORS Give your home that look you’ve always dreamed of. Furniture and repro art is not just manufactured in Vietnam for export. Apparently you can even buy bicycles made from bamboo here. Oops, no. Those beauties are for export only.


50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7962 8.30am to 8.30pm With a sister gallery in Hanoi, this airy and spacious place is ideal for people interested in Vietnamese-themed art. Displays and sells works by local leading artists, from past masters to new rising stars. Think carefully before purchasing as the cheapest piece starts at VND40 million.


1st Floor, 43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8272 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as Saigon Kitsch, Dogma stocks many cool and interesting tidbits, including propaganda art costing from VND450,000 per poster, Uncle Ho statues, books and themed postcards. If you want to wear these pieces of propaganda art, there is a wide range of propagandaprinted tees and jackets for both men and women, stocking at around VND600,000. A small selection of jewellery is also available.


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 10am to 6pm, Closed on Monday Although situated close to the canal in one of the poorer parts of District 1, this gallery retains it distinct character, providing visitors with an authentic artsy feel that avoids the jaded, Vietnamese-themed stereotypes available elsewhere in town. Open from Tuesday to Saturday and run by Viet Kieu Pham Quynh and her partner Robert Cianchi, the art and installations on display here are the work of both international and contemporary Vietnamese artists. The helpful local staff speak good English. Visit the website for information on up-coming exhibitions.


257 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 7692 11am to 10pm Located opposite Highlands Coffee in Pham Ngu Lao, this small shop is decorated with lacquer paintings of Buddhist

and Vietnamese landscapes and flowers. Nhu Y takes custom orders and prices vary from VND150,000 for the smallest piece (20cm x 20cm) rising to VND1.1 million for a 40cm x 80cm painting.


7 Phan Chu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3166 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 www.phuongmaigallery. com 9am to 8.30pm Located opposite the Vincom Center, this tiny white space displays selected contemporary artworks by Vietnamese artists. Styles include abstract works, landscapes and modern day impressionism, focusing mainly on lacquer on wood, oils on canvas and silk paintings. More paintings are displayed at the Le Thanh Ton gallery in a four-floor building with each floor yielding a different style of art. Prices start from VND2.7 million. Credit cards are accepted.


STREET – BUI VIEN, Q1 Although available elsewhere in town, Bui Vien in the Backpackers’ Area is the best place to find reproductions of masterpieces by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Degas as well as Andy Warhol copies and the works of a whole host of other artists. Depending on size, style and material, prices vary but generally start from VND1 million per painting. Shops include Truu Tuong (No. 158), Buddha Art (No. 230), Duc Tai (No. 155A), Hanh Dung (No. 210), Duc Anh (No. 136), Nam Phuong (No. 105) and The Sun 3 (No. 145).

Crafts EM EM

38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4408 8am to 9.30pm With its ancient-looking dark brown and tiled roof, many Japanese tourists favour this petite shop. Carries a full range of products including souvenirs, embroidered handkerchiefs, kitchenware, home décor and much more. There are also large selections of men’s shirts, ties and women’s dresses and skirts. Offers order-madeclothes to fit individual sizes and tastes.

136 | Word November 2013


35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 S17 – Sky Garden, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 A project of the NGO Mekong Plus designed to support community development programmes in remote villages in Vietnam and Cambodia. All products are locally produced, including paper mache, ratten, bamboo and hyacinth products, contained and displayed in a simple white-painted space. Bamboo vases from VND350,000 and rag ranges from VND400,000.


2 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9459 8am to 8pm The dark, musty décor gives Nguyen Freres the aura of a haunted house. Strange, unique yet seductively attractive, this retail shop doesn’t stand out as much as other places in the same area but it is big and carries a wide range of products concentrating on northern and hill-tribe culture with ethnic clothing, hand-crafted décor items and antique furniture. Items costing as low as VND20,000 can be found here.


83 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9079 42 Le Loi, Q1 (08) 3824 7456 8am to 10pm With more than 10 stores around the city, this Vietnamese company is known for its hand-embroidered and crocheted products including bedding, tablecloths, napkins and placemats. This packed and slightly haphazard looking shop also stocks children’s and adult’s wear as well as souvenirs. All products are made from linen and cotton. Prices vary but normally start from VND110,000 per item.


209 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9780 69 Dong Khoi, Q1 7am to 10.30pm Gorgeous tribally-inspired handbags, dresses and accessories on the ground floor combine with authentic tribal

clothing on the floor above. Concerning itself mainly with the hand–woven clothing of the northern rural Vietnamese tribes such as the Hmong, there is also a cute line of ladies’ shoes, silk wraps and bags.


1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 S17-1 Sky Garden , Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 A charity organization helping poor women in rural areas, all products are handmade with a wide range of quilts in many designs and fabrics. Special orders can be taken for delivery within 5-6 weeks. Also stocks accessories such as aprons, sheets and tablecloths.


20 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 0023 Austinhomevn.blogspot. com 9am to 6.30pm Located in a villa-style building, this An Phu-based shop stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so it’s limited and exclusive with only one or two pieces of each particular item. Also has a great range of imported fabrics up on the 2nd floor and an in-house sewing room for cushions, sofas and curtains. Offers custom-made furniture and delivery within four weeks. Home décor orders are also available.


Km 11 + 300 Hanoi Highway, Q9 Tel: (08) 3730 9856 8am to 4.30pm, closed on Sundays Produces high-end Danish design sofas and armchairs in contemporary and traditional styles. With imported materials, the brand provides a large amount of high quality products for the Vietnamese market and exports to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Also offers to produce customers’ own designs. Their products are stocked at AA Deco with Their products are stocked at Nha Xinh showroom.


The Crescent Mall, 101Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7355 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 4201 A branch of the AA Corporation, Bellavita specialises in the distribution of imported high-end furniture manufactured by well-known brands such as Walter Knoll, Poltrona Frau, Minotti and Cassina. Most products displayed in this airy space include chairs, tables and other high quality glassware. Orders are taken 10 to 12 weeks in advance before delivery. There is also a selection of home décor items such as pottery.


68-70 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 6604 The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7357 Located next to Sheraton Hotel, the first BoConcept shop stands out thanks to its black signage and glassy atrium. The shop carries a full range of furniture including sofas, beds, wardrobes, tables and chairs; all are imported from Denmark. Delivery of non-stock items takes up to two weeks. Also has a range of furnishing accessories such as mirrors, rugs, paintings and lamps.


53 Pham Ngoc Thach Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 3696 160 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 1090 175 Ha Noi Highway, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4543 8am to 9pm This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a good choice for most families with its respected highquality designs and competitive prices. Located on the corner of Pham Ngoc Thach and Dien Bien Phu, the spacious showroom specialises in sofas and other furniture such as table sets, shelves and kitchen cabinets. There is a large selection of carpets as well as numerous choices of curtains and accessories.


112 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9917 Everything you need to furnish your home in the showroom, from tables, beds, cupboards and shelves made of wood and steel to

tableware, decoration accessories and candels. Nice range of furniture for babies and toddlers. Custom design services and project supply avaiable.


13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1803 9am to 8pm The two-storey shop stocks contemporary and colorful furniture and decorative accessories, from sofas and armchairs to tables and cabinets, lightings, votives, kitchenware, vases and a full range of modern home accessories. Special orders are possible for delivery all over the world.


11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7371 9am to 7pm Having just moved to its new location, this large twostorey outlet specialises in interior and external designs. Products include beds, sofas, wardrobes and shelves made from high-quality woods. Also offers antique reproductions as well as madeto-order furniture such as sofas and home décor designs. Lamps, lampshades and other accessories are also stocked.


51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2181 8am to 6pm, closed Sundays Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this three-storey building is so packed full of items for sale that it doesn’t seem to have enough space for all of its products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture such as bamboo-imitation and mosaic table sets, while the second level stocks all types of indoor furniture except beds. Accessories are found on the level above. Special orders are taken for delivery within three weeks. Also offers a rental service.


81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643 8am to 6pm This two-storey shop carries all types of furniture, displayed simply so as to give clients a general idea of each product’s style and quality.

HCMC Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


34 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: (08) 3825 7750 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Hung Vuong Plaza

126 Hung Vuong, Q5. Tel: (08) 2222 0383 9.30am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Parkson Plaza

35-45 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3827 7636 9.30am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Saigon Centre

65 Le Loi, Q1. Tel: (08) 3829 4888 9am to 9pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Saigon Square

77-89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 9am to 9pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics

Saigon Tax Trading Centre

135 Nguyen Hue, Q1. Tel: (08) 3821 3849 9am to 9.30pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Souvenirs, Restaurant

Vincom Center

70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3936 9999 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Zen Plaza

54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 0339 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Items for sale include chairs, tables, wardrobes, drawers and other furniture made from Kiwi pinewood and acacia. Custom orders are accepted and take about four weeks for delivery. Free shipping is included for orders costing more than VND10 million and within Ho Chi Minh City. As a general pricing gauge, a bed costs VND5.6 million and a wardrobe starts at VND6 million.


3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 6657 0788 thefurniturewarehouse. 9am to 7pm Specialises in high-end European-style furniture for outdoor and indoor design and home décor. Products include wardrobes, armchairs, sofas, tables and shelves made from pine, oak, acacia and hardwood. There is also a selection of antique furniture and décor items. Free shipping and made-to-order available for small quantities. Visit the website for more information and prices.


1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 10am to 8pm Set in one of the most attractive post-World War II buildings in the city, Gaya has a reputation for chic and sophisticated indoor and outdoor sofas, pod seats, lamps and tableware, with all products both constructed and designed locally. You can find a wide range of mirrors and lacquerware with bowls, vases and contemporary Asian-style boxes as well as a fantastic selection of linenembroidered bedding in all colours and designs. Prices here match the quality of the products.


7/30B, road 13, Binh Hoa, Thuan An, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 883 700 Typical of the large, slightly out-of-town stores found in Europe, North America and Australia that focus on all things for the home, Gomo represents the arrival of a new style of homewares shop in Vietnam.


46A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 7300 8am to 8pm This giant glass showroom features a comprehensive range of products including exclusive kitchen and bathroom appliances, furniture, and light and locking systems. This is also a good place to pick up sensor equipment and items such as rubbish bins, doors and lights. The selection of door handles is endless and all

products are imported from Germany. Like Gaya, prices are top-end but the quality is beyond reproach.


59 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7614 9am to 7pm This narrow four-storey building carries products ranging from sofas, chairs and tables to beds, bookshelves, cabinets, dressers and wardrobes. Accessories include ceramic pots, candles and mirrors. Special orders can be taken based on the catalogue or custom design and will be delivered within three weeks. Also stocks a range of bedding made from cotton, linen and silk.


45 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 6080 9am to 5pm With more than 10 years in the business, this old world, French colonial styled store has a reputation for restoring and reproducing antique furniture. Products include armchairs, sofas, tables, bookshelves, drawers, lamps, paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and much more. Also offers an exclusive interior design service package, from initial design to installation with natural wood imported from the US. Free consultation is provided via phone or email.

Monroe, Chairman Mao and other well-known characters are also stocked.


152 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 3648 Inspired by the sumptuous textiles, rich palettes, and hotels of the 1940s, Verlim stocks a well-curated and eclectic trove of French, Chinese and Vietnamese Deco furniture and accessories, including outsized teak-framed mirrors, panelled screens and low-slung armchairs. There is also a selection of antiques and art deco reproduction. Arranges shipping and offers custommade items.


Tel:0903 873599 Vivacolour offers professional interior design services for your home that create a personalised ambience to express your style and personality, business colour consultations to build a tailor-made environment for your team and clients, visually expressing your brand and communicating your values to your customers. Contact Pascaline for more information.



It’s easy to figure this area out with all the stainless steel goods hanging from the rows of shops. You can quite literally find everything for the bathroom and kitchen, from sinks to cups and dish shelves to buckets. Compared to other shops in the centre of town, prices tend to be cheaper here. However, prepare to bargain.

Lighting AO DONG

92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3460 8am to 7pm Located opposite Saigon Square, this big store displays all types of lights from ceiling and wall lights to table and desk lamps with lampshades in all designs and styles. All products are self-produced and designed, and are made from a comprehensive selection of high-quality domestic and international materials. Good customer service with enthusiastic staff. Customised orders are accepted.


Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1854 36 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3926 0114 CaoDong Design is an official distributor of the awardwinning TouchAble brand. Stocks elegant and fashionable interiors, and a selection of souvenirs, leather boxes and luxury stationary. Includes table-standing lamps, pendant lights and hand-painted lampshades imported from Spain and the UK. Promises to deliver non in-stock orders within 30 to 45 days.

Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4634 This eye-popping lime green-painted boutique carries furniture, tableware and decorative home accessories. Also stocks an exclusive selection of lights and lamps, including lotus lamps at VND300,000, lacquer lamps at VND400,000 and orchid lamps at VND650,000. All products are Vietnamese-themed and are made from bamboo. As well as selling locally, Mosaique exports to Europe, the US, Australia and Africa.


2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6115 CR3, The Crescent Mall, 111 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6657 8.30am to 9.30pm One of the most renowned Vietnamese furniture suppliers, this brand has over 15 years experience in the business, selling a wide range of furniture products made for the bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Custom orders are also accepted. Also sells a large selection of home decorations such as handmade flowers, statues and modern lamps. Offers a good design consultation service.


222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 4190 9am to 9pm This white-painted building sells highly stylized, contemporary imported indoor furniture made from various materials. From wood to plastic, and crystal to stainless steel, this shop stocks a large selection of sofas, tables and chairs. Accessories include exclusive clocks and lamps. Paintings of Marilyn

November 2013 Word | 137



From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not talking Tous Les Jours. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread

Bakeries BakeUp Atelier

244 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 8392 The baking arm of the well-known Bakers on Thao Dien, Voelker. Provide flash frozen breads and patisseries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, pain raisins, pizza dough, pates feuillete and much more. Serves the hospitality industry in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Ho Chi Minh City.


84 Nguyen Cong Tru,Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 9087 Specialising in freshly baked cupcakes such as the Ravishing Red Velvet, Foxy Banoffee, and Heavenly Honey, this boutique cupcake shop also offers coffees, teas and juices. Wi-Fi available.


117 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1992 Dubbed “the local bakery”, Crumbs serves up a variety of baked goods including baguettes, muffins, cheese and garlic–based buns and loafs, meat–filled pastries, sweet pastries, health–conscious breads and more. There is also a breakfast menu and variety of sandwiches available.


33 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 7777 The air of American donuts infuses this pleasant and popular venue, with a variety of the sweet circular treat complementing an excellent selection of coffees, teas and juices. Specials include the mixed fruits donut, ice cream donut, and ice cream & sauce/peanuts donut. The store is open from 7am to 10pm daily and offers free Wi-Fi and a non-smoking area.


30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3547 0577 Made to order baking delivery specialists by phone or email. Scones, bagels, breads (everything from 12 grain loaves to Italian focaccia), muffins, cookies, buns, fudge cake and more, from upwards of VND45,000. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.


64–68 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1338 50 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2970 Selling baguette–style bread for VND5,000 and basic freshly made sandwiches for around VND15,000. Also has a range of Vietnamese pastries and savouries. Open 24 hours.


SL15-1 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: 0908 828552 For anyone with a sweet tooth, this cake delivery service offers homebaked products using the finest ingredients including fresh fruit, imported butter and chocolate. No preservatives or hydrogenated fats are used. All cakes and cookies are made to order and can be customised upon request. Free delivery is available. Place orders one day in advance.


153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3518 0897 Located in the premises of the Hospitality School, Sesame Bakery provides practical experience to its students. Has a wide variety of French pastries, loaves, baguettes, cookies and cakes at good prices. Special order and delivery available.


180 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 8302 59 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 4350 187 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3925 1908 Although tailored to the local market, this Korean–owned bakery chain and café bakes a tasty range of pastries, bread and cakes all at very affordable prices. Excellent baguettes and sandwich bread. Also does a slightly sweet version of croque monsieur.


39 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6296 0066 French–run bakery selling probably the tastiest range of patisseries, breads, quiches and pies in town. The signature passion–fruit tart is a must try.

138 | Word November 2013


7 Bis Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1565 Available all year round for birthday cakes, BBQs, corporate events, private parties, wine tastings and more, Au Parc Catering provide a full service including drinks, glass rentals, waiters and crockery. For a quote, email or call Mr. Loi on 3829 2772.


100 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9830 New delicatessen shop offering western–fusion French food. French Chef Stephane Courtin and his team will assist you in a Gastro’Home food experience. Visit the shop in An Phu or try the “at your home” catering service for a dinner, buffet or cocktail party.



Tel: (08) 6274 0647 A French food delivery service that does cocktail parties, buffets and events specialising in salads, sandwiches, gratin, quiche, pies, desert, muffins and more. Visit website for full menu.

NORFOLK CATERING SERVICE Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Delicious food and professional service for any special occasion including company functions, formal banquets, Christmas and New Year parties. Reasonably priced.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 With extensive experience in menu design, The Caterers will come up with an original menu for your party or gathering, then prepare all the food and serve it to your guests. Also offers a venue for clients to use.


84 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien Ward, Q2 Tel: 0913 981 128 SCC can create a menu to meet your exact requirements and budget.Theirchefs

use the freshest ingredients to produce quality, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented food at reasonable prices.

Groceries 100%

26B Thao Dien, Q2 Stocking only quality products sourced and manufactured in Vietnam, 100% guarantees that all their foodstuffs are safe, natural and traceable. From fresh fish to delicatessen fair, fresh juices, fruit, vegetables and tea, even the French cheeses and bottled soups are made locally. Open 8am to 8pm daily.



16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2630 Attractive and spacious French–owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury branded products from the likes of Fauchon. The deli upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung branch serves tasty baguette rolls in a comfortable lounge area with free Wi–Fi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured meats in town. Free delivery for Districts 1, 2 and 3.


45 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 8126 aussie– Aussie Fruits are among the first in Vietnam to promote a full range of Australian seasonal fruits. Their mission is to bring the best quality fruits from Australia into Vietnam, with professionally trained customer support along with a state of the art facility that guarantees 100% freshness directly from Australian farms. Check their website to see what’s in season.


No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street), Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 7105 Supplier for the city’s five– star hotels, also distributing brands like San Pellegrino, Rougie foie gras, Galbani cheese, fresh poultries, meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all the products at the gourmet

shop on location.


73 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 4376 Stocks a comprehensive range of fresh meat products imported directly from Australia. Beef and lamb make up the bulk of the selection, but some locally–sourced poultry and fish products are also on offer. Also does pre–packaged prepared meat like chicken strips – perfect for the freezer. Open seven days a week.


58 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1318 Mini supermarket stocking a large range of imported foods, cheese, meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and good wines. Friendly service and helpful staff, although the selection of products is slightly smaller than its next door neighbour, Thai Ha.


60 Ham Nghi, Q1 Supermarket that vies with its next door neighbour, Phuong Ha, for customers. Excellent selection of imported goods including canned foods, dairy products, cereals and meat products. The staff here speak reasonable English although the service is better next door.


29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8526 Packed from floor to ceiling with imported cereals, meats, cheeses, and almost anything else you can think of, this is a very popular choice for expats doing their weekly shop. The walk–in fridge at the back is a draw in itself.

Liquor & Wine ANNAM SHOP


16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9332 Here you’ll find anything from Guinness to Leffe, with a whole lot of Belgian, Australian and German beers in between. Also has an excellent selection of imported wines and liquors.


158D Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3306 103 Ton Dan Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 3829 3306 A range of spirits, whiskies and wines at affordable pric-

es. Wines come from all over the world with an especially good selection from France, Chile and South Africa. Also has an excellent range of single malts, top shelf tequilas and has an on–site wine tasting machine, the Enomatic, the first of its kind in Vietnam.


74E Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 3575 46A Tran Quang Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 7147 A premier importer/distributor of quality wines, spirits, non–alcohol drinks, representing over 400 wines, spirits and drinks from 12 countries since 1995.


6/7 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q1 Tel: (08) 6210 2986 Wine wholesaler importing well–known Australian wines. Present portfolio includes Kangarilla Road, Zema Estate, Buller, Bethany and Chapel Hill.


22 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 0021 One of the largest distributors in town, stocks around 90,000 bottles from virtually every region in the world. Sells both retail and wholesale.


178 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8826 924 Tran Hung Dao, Q5 Tel: (08) 6261 1526 One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition to their excellent range of wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral water and spirits.


7 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0860 Well–known and respected wine importer and distributor stocking a number of old and new world wines. Brands include Perrin & Fils, Pere & Fils, Dr Loosen, Kracher and William Fevre.


74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 1315 Corner of Thao Dien & Duong 2, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9059 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines. Also offers regular popular wine courses. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new vintage.



Got kids? Looking for that perfect school for your children? Want to give them involved in some extra-curricular activities? Search no further. Here are some options for you

Baby Equipment BELLI BLOSSOM

12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6615 4th Floor, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7574 Stocks imported brands of maternity wear and nursing accessories, infant clothes, baby utensils, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags and more.


17/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Q1 Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi Q1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton Q1 Sells clothing for kids from newborn to toddlers, as well as bedding, equipment, accessories and organic jarred baby food.


Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8724 184 Le Dai Hanh, Q1, Tel: 0912 161642 Carries strollers, car seats, baby utensils, clothing, and accessories. Most products are made by the Japanese company Combi.


230 Vo Thi Sau, Q3,40 Ton That Tung Q1; 101-103 Khanh Hoi, Q4; 141D Phan Dang Luu; 287A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nuan, Q7 Tel: (08) 3932 1611 The closest this city has to Mothercare, stocking apparel, bottles and sterilisers.

Classes & Sports DANCENTER

53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4490

Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at this modern dance studio.


189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0903 955780 French painter offers daytime and evening courses for children and adults, teaching beginners about different mediums and techniques and helping artists of all skill levels unlock their creativity.


37 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0932 737700 Private music lessons in piano and violin from beginner level up to Grade 8 and beyond. Also runs a chamber music club with

regular concerts and ensemble lessons for strings and woodwind.


79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: 0908 460267 An early childhood centre offering early learning programmes for children aged 18 months to five, including toddler playgroups, preschool classes and enrichment activities. Also has after-school activities for kids aged four to eight.


94A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7691 Former conservatory student Nguyen Trung Minh offers lessons in piano at Minh Nguyen piano boutique for all ages and levels.


Since 2007


42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 Geneva Conservatory graduate Steffen Christophe teaches an introduction to musical instruments for students aged four upwards at Montessori, as well as private and group lessons in guitar, keyboard and voice.

PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY OF SAIGON 19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9679 Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and a mixture of private and group classes.


Tel: 01225 636682 Suitable for kids of all ages,

these piano lessons range from basic to advanced.


Tel: 0122 7163844 Infant water familiarisation classes for little ones from six months to three years, run by Elizabeth Hollins.


Tel: 0987 027 722 saigonmovement@gmail. com Aiming to improve children’s total body awareness through games and sports activities, Saigon Movement offers a variety of classes in movement development for ages two to 11. Contact Abbie Klein.


55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2 Tel: 0905 098 279 This 15-week PADI programme conducted by Rainbow Divers, the lead-

The Montessori

International School of Vietnam


Fully Implemented Montessori Preschool Programs For children 6 months to 7 yeas old Thao Dien and An Phu Campus Half day, full day and customized schedules International, Bilingual programs: Vietnamese, French, Mandarin After-school program open to public for 3-10 yrs: Sports, Kindermusik, Painting, Cooking, Language classes, etc.

Call or Mail Now!

Admissions accepted all year round

Contact for more info: (08) 37442639, 0903858659,

November 2013 Word | 139

HCMC ing PADI dive centre in Vietnam, offers scuba diving adventures in a swimming pool for eight to nine year olds.


38, Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, Q2 Tel: 0913 733360 An excellent way for children to escape the urban bustle is to ride one of the 16 ponies and learn riding techniques from three, part–time teachers.


28 Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 7303 1100 International coaches provide training in soccer, basketball, tennis and swimming for children aged four to 16 years and private lessons for children and adults. Youth soccer league Sundays from 2pm to 6pm in District 7.


BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918 149 Martial arts expert Mr. Phuc welcomes anyone over the age of five to take part in his thrice–weekly classes. An additional fee for non– members applies.


6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729 846 Provides kids classes in anything from mixed art, oil painting, crafts and still life drawing through to jewellery making and fashion design.


90 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9881 Provides boys and girls’ clothing from ages five to 14 with clothes imported from Singapore.


Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 7592 A range of apparel for children from newborns to pre-teens with clothing imported from the UK.


37 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2 Tel: 0917 567506 In addition to a varied selection of garments for babies and children up to 10 years old, Little Anh-Em stocks sleeping bags and other accessories.


42 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7456 83 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9079 Offers 100 percent cotton hand-embroidered apparel for children ages one to 14.

Children's Books FAHASA

60-62 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8832 Good selection of imported books for all ages as well as cheap stationery, stickers and other odds and ends.


2A Le Duan, Q1, Picture books for babies to stories and education books for older children can be found here.


(Mum and Baby Bookstore) 46 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8386 Supplies a variety of books, paintings, pictures, CDs, VCDs and DVDs, stationery and gift accessories for mums, dads, children and educators.


2, 1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh, Tel: (08) 5431 1833 Serving students from 32 nations, ages two to 18, ABC delivers a curriculum wholly based on UK standards, culminating in IGCSE’s and A levels (awarded upon graduation by Cambridge University examinations board).


East-West Highway, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3747 1234 Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG boasts comprehensive education programmes from kindergarten to high school, a range of extracurricular activities, and impressive facilities.


Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 2727 Thao Dien Campus, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, Q2 , Tel: (08) 3744 6960 Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3742 4040 The Australian International School is an IB World School with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering an international education from kindergarten to senior school with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programme (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).


246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2335 Inspected and approved by the British Government, BIS provides a British-style curriculum for an international student body and is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISSEA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.


Horizon Tower, 214 Tran Quang Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3526 8833 7 Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 8488 Flemington Tower, 2nd Floor 182 Le Dai Hanh, Q11, Tel: (08) 3962 1218 CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.


15 Tran Doan Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3302 Promoting and facilitating English language acquisition, Compass Education offers a range of courses designed to meet academic, corporate, and professional goals. Offers nanny and teacher placements as well as career counselling.


Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st Floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7008 Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children up to five years old for over 30 years, making them a leader in early childhood development programmes.


13C Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh Tel: (08) 5412 3456 The first Canadian international school in Vietnam

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

140 | Word November 2013

serves local and foreign students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the internationally recognised Ontario curriculum to create a studentcentred learning environment promoting academic excellence.


28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9100 The only fully authorized IB World School in Ho Chi Minh City, ISHCMC has been awarding graduates with an IB Diploma and sending them off to high-profile overseas universities since 1999.


92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 2222 7788 ISSP offers a rigorous American-standard curriculum, as well as unique extra-curriculars like golf and Mandarin Language classes. A brand new, state-of-the-art campus caters to students from nursery through to grade 5.


Crescent Residence 2, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 0907 099 480 Kindermusik is the world’s premier music, movement and English language programme for children from birth to age 7. Each weekly lesson promotes early literacy and English language acquisition, social skills and more.


102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5421 1052 Little Genius Kindergarten shares a curriculum with its sister school in the US. Its facilities and learning environment remain unsurpassed by any other kindergarten in Vietnam.


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

Renaissance International School Saigon (RISS)

74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7, Tel: (08) 3773 3171 RISS provides students from over 25 nations with a British / international education. Students ages two to 18 enjoy classes taught by qualified native English speakers at their state–of– the–art campus.

Saigon International College (SIC)

21K Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 0938 371760 Overseen by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, SIC’s program for years 10 to 12 provides graduating students with the Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), allowing direct entry to all Australian universities.

German International School – GIS

730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 7300 7257 The German International School offers a unique bi-lingual German-English programme for students, from a variety of nationalities, from 2 to 16 years old. Its curriculum is based on the internationally recognised Primary Years Programmes (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB) system.


74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7 Tel: (08) 3773 3171 RISS provides students from over 25 nations with a British / international education. Students ages two to 18 enjoy classes taught by qualified native English speakers at their state–of– the–art campus.


21K Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 6046

Overseen by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, SIC’s program for years 10 to 12 provides graduating students with the Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), allowing direct entry to all Australian universities.


15 Street 12, perpendicular to Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 8081 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.


78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 0901 Offers an American-style education (SAT, IB and AP) from elementary to highschool, emphasizing a multi–cultural student environment and a commitment to well–rounded education at all levels.


Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi, Q2 Tel: (08) 3742 7827 Supported by the Cambridge International Primary Programme, SSIS integrates Montessori methods into nursery and kindergarten programmes to create a stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes allow experienced teachers to cater to individual needs.


1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6076 26, Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9816 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4236 This international childcare centre provides children ages 18 months to six years with a high quality education in a playful and friendly environment.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0903 952223 An independent and private university preparatory school with an individualised programme, The American School of Vietnam offers a US-based curriculum for Kindergarten through to Grade 12.


98 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 7278 23 Tran Cao Van, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 7278 One of the leading schools in Vietnam, VAS provides programmes from kindergarten to secondary school. In line with their mission to encourage a global mindset in new generations, VAS integrates international educational methods.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 90 Le Van Thiem, Q7 Tel: (08) 3602 6694 VLS has built a reputation over 18 years by offering courses tailored to all abilities. Classes are located either at VLS’s high quality facilities, or at the learner’s

office/ home.


1147 Duong Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3556 6020 Features a landscaped park, weekend buffets, and children’s activities and entertainment. Reachable by boat from District 1.


3 Hoa Binh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3963 4963 Popular theme park / water park provides fun for the whole family at a low price.


34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 Features a fourth–floor bowling alley and video arcade as well as youth–oriented eating options such as KFC and Pizza Hut.


35 Bis Le 45, Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7636 Parkson Plaza has a large selection of arcade games along with a bowling alley and a food court one floor down where you can regroup after zapping millions of aliens.


2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3728 A wide variety of animals, well maintained facilities, peaceful atmosphere, and fun activities for kids including bumper cars and playgrounds.


Specializing in first through fifth birthday parties, Gymboree will take care of everything, including venue, invitations, party favours and more. Offers themes such as Princess Palace and Dinosaur Adventures.


120 AH 1, Tan Phu, Q9 Tel: (08) 3896 0260 Offers all of the expected amusement park attractions in a spectacular setting that includes a manmade beach, a dinosaur garden and a zoo.

100/531B Thich Quang Duc, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3990 3560 For an unusual and special performer, contact the excellent Balloon Man, who has earned a reputation for dashing instantly to any party that needs balloon shapes.



75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 6278 5794 Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre, purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.


Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7008

46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 Although mainly focused on grown–up events, this company does an excellent job catering for kids’ parties.


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6758 An American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 15 years of experience in the US treats vision problems such as hyperopia, astigmatism, focusing problems,

myopia, strabismus and lazy eyes.


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com Three paediatricians practice their speciality at this well–equipped medical care centre. Also has obstetrics and gynaecology services for expectant mothers including pre–natal screening.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 This international–standard hospital has a dedicated and fully equipped pediatric centre staffed by a team of international specialists. Also offers other maternity services.



2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Modern, well–equipped clinic with both western and local dentists experienced in providing preventative care and reconstructive procedures for children of all ages.


79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Q7 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Committed to pediatrics, this clinic provides services including general examinations (vision and hearing checks, immunisation, growth and development assessment) as well as specialist consultations.

Toys Toyville Cafe

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8424 Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the internationally experienced pediatric team at this clinic will meet your family’s preventative, diagnostic and treatment needs. House call service is also available.

At Snap

32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918 960 (Alex) / 0918 339 734 (Y Nhu) Wide selection of branded toys and games, from the usual suspects to the real hard to find. Specialises in ages 3 to 10, open daily from 9am to 7pm

November 2013 Word | 141

Hanoi City Guide BUSINESS 158 / bars 160 / Cafes 161 / Eat 162 / Leisure 166/ fashion 168 / home 171/ medical 173 Photo by Marc Forster-Pert 142 | Word November 2013


The Promotions................................... 165 The Alchemist................................. 166 Book Buff.......................................... 167 The Therapist........................ 169 A World of Good.......... 170 Medical Buff................. 172 Student Eye............ 174

Street Talk

Nguyen Thai Hoc 144 Leisure

Get Your Skates On! 148 Day Tripper

Beyond Tam Coc 150 travel

Climbing on Cat Ba 152 MYSTERY DINER

Tet Decor Cafe 154 street snaker

Chao Trai 155 November 2013 Word | 143


Street Talk

Nguyen Thai Hoc Once one of the most ‘romantic’ streets in the capital, Nguyen Thai Hoc remains home to many of Hanoi’s cultural and artistic treasures. Words by Hoa Le. Photos by Thiep Nguyen

144 | Word November 2013


he front area of the house at 65 Nguyen Thai Hoc is almost completely covered with copied paintings and gilt frames, all for sale. At first glance it’s nothing unique, but just one of the many similar businesses on this bustling street. Yet, under the curved brick roof, there is a little sign centred with an eye-catching Buddhist painting that reveals the history of this building. Once the home of the country’s most famous artists, poets and musicians, and often known as the ‘hub of culture’ by many

local residents, Number 65 was the place where artist Nguyen Sang drew his now precious painting, The Cat, where Nguyen Tu Nghiem painted his signature works in lacquer, where poet Nguyen Dinh Thi and legendary musician Do Nhuan created their poems and songs. The three-storey, French colonial building has changed — all the artists have passed away — but a few of their offspring who are still living there have memories. Both this building and the street on which it sits were once known as one of the most romantic spots in the capital.

A Glorious Past Nguyen Thai Hoc is chock full of historical sites including The Temple of Literature, The Museum of Fine Arts, and one end of Hang Day Stadium. Named after a revolutionary and leader of the Vietnamese Nationalist Party — Nguyen Thai Hoc was executed in 1930 by the French when he was only 28 years old — the street of today runs for 1.7km from Kim Ma Bus Station to the busy intersection at Cua Nam. Tran Hien Lan, daughter of artist Tran Dong Luong, was born and has been living

November 2013 Word | 145

in her father’s studio at Number 65 since 1956. Her memories of the street are closely attached to the tinkle-tinkle metal sound of the street trams running past during the quiet of midday. Bicycles and trams were the only major transportation when she was young, which gave peace to the neighbourhood. She remembers the joy of children like herself as they played in the wide-open spaces of the street, or when they would hang out in the front yards of the museum or the temple without the supervision of security guards. She also has memories of groups of tourists gathering in front of her building to admire its beauty — the French colonial architecture, and the unique cay dau nguoi tree with big yellow flowers that stood in front of her house. “In those days, people didn’t have many possessions, so they left their doors wide open and the children would run from one house to another playing,” recalls Lan. When her parents’ artist friends finished their work, they would often call the kids into the building to see. “We saw Nguyen Sang painting his cat pictures, and the

artist Nguyen Tu Nghiem painting on wood cutting boards or bamboo baskets.” Those colourful and toy-like paintings for Lan and her friends were the source of these artists’ success and became worth thousands of dollars. Nguyen Thai Hoc carries with it other pieces of history. During the French era Tien Bo publishing house at the Kim Ma end was once an old coin-making factory — later on it was converted by the colonials into a prison. In his book Hanoi Streets, historian Nguyen Vinh Phuc has revealed the story behind the house at Number 53, which from 1951 until the liberation of Hanoi in 1954 was a secret meeting place of the Viet Cong. The two-storey building still maintains that touch of architectural history on the second floor, but the first floor has been rented out and transformed into a sewing machine shop. The corner of Nguyen Thai Hoc and Le Truc has a sculpture showing the image of an American RA-SC airplane that was shot down in May 1967. Here and there 100-year-old houses can still be spotted

through the date of the construction printed on their walls. But conservation is not universal — some are being knocked down to make way for modernity.

The Modern Touch The wide pavements and the first floors of most houses along Nguyen Thai Hoc street are now occupied with shops. According to Lan, the transformation started in the early 1990s. First, it was the sewing machines that were popular together with sports shops. Then a few faux painting and picture frame outlets appeared. About five years ago, billboard making services and other shops started to dominate the street; the house at Number 52 started selling feng shui stone paintings — this brought a new trend to the area. Hien, the owner of sports equipment outlet Quang Hien, says the street is now like a big market. “People from everywhere come to buy things here. Once when you opened a shop, it was unlikely that your business would survive.” Living with her family in Thanh Xuan District, Hien has

“Nguyen Thai Hoc carries with it other pieces of history. During the French era Tien Bo publishing house at the Kim Ma end was once an old coin-making factory — later on it was converted by the colonials into a prison”

rented her place for over 10 years and has a few other relatives also selling sports equipment and clothing on the same street. Since the early 2000s, young artist Phong has also been running a business in commercial paintings out of his shop at Number 171. “There were only one or two Chinese painting shops in 1997 when I first visited this street,” he says. “But in the last five years, there are so many that it’s become like mushrooms sprouting up after the rain.” According to Phong, some current well-known artists developed their career from his little workshop with copied paintings. In 1997, the Goethe Institut was opened at number 54-56. With its frequent events, and its mantra to help the development of Vietnamese artists, this has added some cultural feeling to the area. “Life has to move on and of course the street has changed to keep up with people’s economic demands,” says Lan. But deep inside she says she’s still nostalgic for the beautiful area that once held a special place in the hearts of many Hanoians.

November 2013 Word | 147



Get Your Skates On!

Vietnam is a tropical country. So how would the first genuine ice rink in the capital, in the new Vincom Mega Mall, be received with the public? Words by Marc ForsterPert. Photos by Francis Roux, translation by Tran Phuong Dung 148 | Word November 2013


first remember visiting Royal City and being amazed to find a 1,280sqm ice rink in Vietnam, not only because of the summer heat but also for the fact it’s inside an underground shopping mall. Wonders will never cease, I thought, especially when I saw everyone but the instructors clinging to the sides, or wobbling along with a plastic penguin for support. Two months on and I thought it was time to find out a little more about Vietnam’s only rink with real ice, now that Ho Chi Minh City’s miniature counterpart has closed down. Had the standard improved? And what did the residents of Hanoi think about gliding on ice?

A New Form of Entertainment According to Vinpearl Ice Rink manager, Nguyen Linh Son, it was Mr. Vincom himself, Pham Nhat Vuong, who came up with idea of bringing an ice rink to Vietnam. “He wanted to combine a new kind of entertainment with the shopping.” So far it seems to have worked. A maximum of 150 people can skate for a session, which lasts just under an hour, and if you turn up at evenings or weekends, you’re likely to find the place fully booked. Hai, an instructor, says, “More and more people are coming, it’s definitely becoming more popular.” Although people are flocking from as far afield as Nam Dinh, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City to take to the ice, it’s also proving popular with international visitors. Hai adds: “We get people from everywhere, especially Canadians, Europeans and Koreans.” There’s now even a children’s hockey team who come to practise every Wednesday. The standard also looks to have improved with a lot less wobbling replaced with a bit more skill. The two instructors on my session have only been on the ice for two months, but they look as though they’ve been skating since childhood. “They’re really good, they learn fast here,” says Elya, who’s been drafted in from Ukraine with her figure skating partner to train the local staff. They also perform shows that have drawn large crowds on the weekend. With all this talent and the exposure to skilled skaters from around the world, I asked if we might see a Vietnamese representation at the Winter Olympics some day. “We’re a long way off right now, but you never know,” jokes Elya.

The Experience For the majority on the ice, it was their first time visiting the rink. I approached someone in their late teens who looked like he had tried it before. “Oh no,” he laughed. “It’s my first time, but I like in-line skating, it’s very similar.” He wasn’t alone in showing off some technique. “I’ve only been skating for 40 minutes, but I haven’t fallen over and I’m getting the hang of it,” boasts another young man.

A group of girls were also finding their feet well. They came to check the hype. “Everyone is talking about it, so we wanted to come along and practise.” They added: “It’s a popular place to hang out with friends, but it’s slightly expensive, so it’s a once in a while treat.” Manager, Son, agrees that the price is a little steep for most Vietnamese, but he attributes the high demand to the novelty factor, leaving people keen to try. The cooling system uses convection technology through coils 10cm below the ice, and has environmentally friendly ventilation that is unlikely to be cheap to maintain. But the international-standard ice rink certainly offers great value for money. There’s plenty of room to skate and achieve some speed or, if you know what you’re doing, pull off some tricks, which the instructors were trying and succeeding in, impressing the untrained eye. Phuong, the other instructor, who was sporting a bandage on her wrist proving her dedication, says, “I was scared at first, I only applied because I spoke Russian. But now I love my job — it’s a great place to come, everyone has fun.” And she’s right, judging by the wide grins on everyone’s face, it’s an energetic and fun-filled hour that will leave you smiling for some time after. The instructors are also on hand to offer free coaching and guidance, if you’re new to the sport, using plastic Arctic animals to steady the novice — or, if you’re lazy, you can be pushed around by a willing volunteer on the seals; a great deal of fun. This is a picture of the changing face of Vietnam, a mall that mixes shopping and entertainment that’s bigger and better than what existed before. It’s also been done remarkably well, rivalling any skating I’ve done on a temporary rink at Christmas time. The experience is smooth, well-organised, the staff properly trained, and with a bit of commitment from budding youngsters, it could be the start of a long relationship with Vietnam and the ice, perhaps even spawning a future gold medalist. Watch this space.

Want to Skate? Vinpearl Ice Rink can be found inside Vincom Mega Mall Royal City, 72A Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan.

P rices

Monday to Friday VND100,000 for children and VND170,000 for adults Weekends and holidays VND150,000 for children and VND220,000 for adults Skates VND 50,000 per pair Lockers are provided free of charge

For more information go to Vincommegaroyalcity

November 2013 Word | 149


Day Tripper

Beyond Tam Coc


Deciding against a one-day tour and primed with some screen shots of Google Maps, Marc Forster-Pert went to Ninh Binh Province to explore some of the lesser-known sites around Tam Coc he research for this trip was simple: search for Tam Coc in the Google Maps searchbar and look around the area to discover what else there was

to see. The one-day tours out of Hanoi don’t have much variety. Any sense of relaxation is spoiled by the cramped conditions sat inside a minibus, a strict timetable and a lack of movement on what you actually get to see. Determined to avoid the tour groups but intent on experiencing the beauty of the area, one that uniquely blends a verdant wetland with dramatic limestone karsts, the trip had to be organic, made up as the day went on with just a few selected dots on a map to visit with no idea what to expect.

The Journey Begins Wanting to finish the day at Tam Coc, the first stop, which appeared as a green expanse on the map, was Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Was it going to be another tourist hot spot with ticket booths and hawkers? Or was it going to be a small dyke road with kingfishers and herons stalking for lunch? I found out that asking bemused locals was something I was to get used to. With wild laughs and big smiles, the security guards of a quarry detailed a route to the ‘boats’. Peeking above the paddy fields like meerkats as I arrived, a minibus was dropping off passengers who were about to board the scores of bamboo crafts docked on the shore. A member of a group, who had just disembarked, said it was like a dreamland; so peaceful and serene. The murky, overcast

150 | Word November 2013

weather, recovering after Typoon Nari, added to the scene, reminiscent of the fantasy books of C.S. Lewis. But, as this was about avoiding the tour groups, the boat trip was declined and instead I followed a signpost to a temple a few more kilometres along the dyke road. Hard to find, it’s an eager eye that picks up the five-element Buddhist flag at the top of a peak. Climbing up the steps, I arrived at the temple which was nestled in a secluded garden guarded by steep peaks. Although the path and the steps looked new, there was no one there. This was the time for quiet reflection as the next destination turned out to be one of Vietnam’s newest and busiest tourist attractions.

Largest in Vietnam To get there, a diversion, obeying another intriguing signpost to ‘hot springs’, took me through the village of Kenh Ga, which translates as ‘chicken canal’. The riverside settlement, that almost has a continental feel, with its church and uniformly separated trees marking the shore, no longer has so many wild chickens, but a boat trip can be taken to the old floating village and the hot springs. Again, an eager offer was politely declined and on it was to Chua Bai Dinh. The Buddhist complex looms large on the map where it has a title of Thap Chuong, but it’s only when you arrive that you can appreciate the sheer size of the place. Built on the grounds of an ancient temple (which still stands), a new temple and pagoda complex was constructed in 2003 and covers

an area of 700 hectares. It’s still being added to, and an unfinished 13-storey pagoda visible from miles around sits proudly on the mountainside. It is the largest complex of Buddhist temples and pagodas in Vietnam and also sets several more records nationally and internationally for its size and contents. On my arrival I was told it was unusually quiet — meaning the existence of some pockets of tranquility in the smaller temples. But for the most part crowds of mainly domestic tourists were everywhere, as were the hawkers. Worth a stop is the old ancient capital of Hoa Lu with two temples still standing on the site favoured by the Dinh and Le dynasties. A steep climb to the tomb of Emperor Dinh Tien Huong also provides magnificent views over the surrounding area — if you have the energy.

Dusk Setting In The pinnacle of the day was Hang Mua. After getting lost (for about the fifth time), the sun was setting fast but along some back roads and again, not populated by tourists you’ll find a small cave where the main attraction is actually the climb of 450 steps up the side of a mountain to an altar at the top. It sounds clichéd, but the climb marked a great end to my day trip out of Hanoi. The sun setting behind the karst landscape to one side cast a shadow over the pan-flat rice fields. On the other were the distant lights of Ninh Binh City. I’ll be back for the boat trips. Ninh Binh has more to offer than just Tam Coc. And I didn’t even make it to Cuc Phuong National Park.

“Determined to avoid the tour groups but intent on experiencing the beauty of the area, one that uniquely blends a verdant wetland with dramatic limestone karsts, the trip had to be organic, made up as the day went on�

November 2013 Word | 151



’ve often thought that “You are not special” is a terrible thing to say to someone as it trivialises the human experience. But staring up at 30 metres of raw Cat Ba Island mountain that you are expected to climb is a humbling experience — one that could make the most rock-strong of our bretheren feel a bit trivial or even unspecial. My girlfriend and I hadn’t been climbing for very long (I started just four months ago), but the range of difficulties and the expertise of the guides working for Asia Outdoors really do — forgive the overused, dustbin of the advertising world phrase — offer “something for everyone”. Our first morning was lazy enough: a kayak ride through Halong Bay, ducking under arches into hidden lagoons followed by a lunch of fish and mixed veg on the boat. The second half was spent on Moody Beach, a little fruit slice of sand that claims a wartime munitions bunker and five memorable climbs of varying degrees — ranging from a 45-degree hike that a German friend aptly described as “damn easy” to an overhang that half of the group chickened out on and left the author getting a face full of palm tree after an unsuccessful attempt at a heel hook. The night was spent on the roof of The Good Bar drinking Singapore Slings and looking up at a cat’s-eye marble of the moon, holding my girl and wondering what the next day would bring.

The Cat Ba Sling

g n i a b B m i t l C Ca n o

e th , s r ve land em. o c is a Is e th d B v r de Cat at lo by n Be s of rs th ided s t t ck u v r Ma g ro ang pro tdoo bi he l otos Ou d t Ph sia A an

152 | Word November 2013

The second day was a rise-and-shine day of deep-water soloing — free-climbing — in the bay. No equipment other than an old pair of shoes (which you should probably rent) is required. A basket boat rolls you up within reach of a free-standing rock and you climb until you feel your testes shrink up into your stomach. Then, turn and jump. You’ll definitely land in the water, but on the way down you’ll experience the three levels of falling wherein: (1) you’re cool with it — (2) you feel like you’ve been falling for a bit too long — (3) panic. Leave your sunglasses on the boat or they will be destroyed upon impact (this happened). Ton Sai in Thailand is more famous for deep-water soloing in this region of the world, but having been to both I can promise you Cat Ba is at least twice as pretty. Keep an eye out to your right on the boat ride back as Cat Ba langurs (only 68 left in the world at last count) like to populate the rocks in that region. The aptly named Butterfly Valley — a 20-minute motorbike ride from Cat Ba city — is the easiest place for experienced climbers (going with a trail guide) to venture out to. Again, climbs range from double bolts your grandma could do, to craggy, 5.12-grade faces that the guidebook suggests using “a series of acrobatic swings” to get to the top of. My favourite was the Roots, Rock, Reggae route, where the climber can go back and forth between the criss-crossing roots of an old tree and thick, palm-sized slabs of

“Turn and jump. You’ll definitely land in the water, but on the way down you’ll experience the three levels of falling wherein: (1) you’re cool with it — (2) you feel like you’ve been falling for a bit too long — (3) panic” limestone. We spent two days there and it didn’t feel like anywhere near enough time.

Tiger Beach The last day was spent deep-water soloing again in the morning followed by an afternoon on Tiger Beach, a party island that tourists in Hanoi pay US$180 (VND3.8 million) to get sailed out to so they can pay VND25,000 per beer and sleep on the sand. I’m not sure what the reasoning is, but the owners of this Bacchanalian venture thought it would be a good idea to set up two top ropes and allow drunks to climb the formidable rock walls that encircle the island. As you can guess, the results are hilarious. Three hours hanging out by the wall yielded two girls bursting into tears and a stream of bros who looked like they had just stepped out of a chest wax advertisement, daring each other to take a turn. To see these guys later wearing a pair of skin-tight climbing shoes, harness and a tiny plastic helmet was priceless. Very few of them made it to the top, but those that did descended with the kind of glow that can only be attributed to climber’s high. They were hooked. My favourite was a kid — Ryan from Liverpool — whose buddies were floating in the water like drunken starfish and cat-calling him. “Yer neva gonna make it, Ry. Jus’ come

down now and save yerself the trouble.” Ryan was clearly drunk when he signed on for this ascent, and the fact that his voice sounded like he could double for Tom Waits should he want a new career caused me to think that he had been drunk and having shouty conversations with his friends for several afternoons before this one. “Come on down, ya slag.” Ryan’s laugh had an uncomfortable timbre to it, like a stray dog with a meaty street bone, happy yet well-aware that someone may come up and take it from him. His climb was slow, but he made it to the top and gave the anchor a victory slap. Clearly losing focus, his descent was all swinging legs and spinning in dizzy circles. He held two fists up and yelled again when his feet hit the beach. I was standing right next to where he landed and he naturally just started talking to me. “Bloody brilliant,” he said, his neck 180 degrees vertical as he contemplated the rock. “Just effing… brilliant.” One of his buddies shouted his name and he bounded back down the beach a slightly, it seemed, different person than he’d been before. For more information on climbing tours to Cat Ba, go to Vietclimb ( also offer tours to both Cat Ba and further afield including Huu Lung near Lang Son and to various locations in Central Vietnam

November 2013 Word | 153



Can healthy, café-style fare in Hanoi’s West Lake area mould itself a place in people’s hearts? Our undercover reporter finds out. Photos by Francis Roux


he Healing Power is really good. It’s got lots of ginger for the season,” Pete

Wilkes says. He might sound like a doctor of alternative medicine, but Wilkes is actually the brains behind Tet Decor Cafe on Dang Thai Mai, which opened in April and quickly became the hangout of the moment. Unlike many Hanoi coffee lounges, Tet Decor is not only a place to open your MacBook Pro and pretend to do work. It’s also a culinary destination. Nourishing comfort food like pancakes, organic lentils and gluten free bread makes those who prefer wheat berries to wheat beer feel right at home. There is one western food that you will not find here: the cocktail. You can get a Hanoi Beer or a glass of house wine, but these seem to have been tacked onto the menu as a concession. I opt instead for a soy latte (VND55,000) and an Immune Boost (VND80,000), a fresh-pressed juice whose ingredient list reads like my last Whole Foods receipt: apple, celery, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, avocado, ginger. Hearing the blender kick into high gear, I have a feeling of minor anxiety. But when the drink arrives, it’s perfectly cheery and innocuous: bright orange and frothy, with the overwhelming flavor of ginger. There might be broccoli and avocado in here, but rest assured, you can’t taste it.

An Ethnic Touch? The eponymous decor is in the spotlight here — or rather, the

154 | Word November 2013

Tet Decor Cafe

lack thereof. The dim lighting and thatched roof conjure up the atmosphere of a traditional ethnic minority house in Sapa, where Wilkes started Tet Lifestyle Collection, the hotel and restaurant group that includes Tet Decor as well as nearby 6 on Sixteen. Many staff members also come from ethnic minority groups, part of the enterprise’s sustainable mission. Chairs are crafted from coiled bamboo and rattan; traditional terra cotta roof shingles and brightly colored Black H’mong skirts line the walls. Like the food, the ceramic centerpieces on each table are chemical-free and produced by hand on a small scale. The ethnic decor feels a bit incongruous with the food, which is more like what you’d find in New York’s East Village than a village in Sapa. As Wilkes puts it, “We make all the foods that people miss.” I order the Big Vegetarian Breakfast (VND120,000). It’s almost noon, but put the words “big” and “breakfast” next to each other on a menu and I’m sold. It’s a lot to promise. Tet Decor, however, delivers. The giant plate arrives heaped with food: thick, golden potato hotcakes studded with feta; slabs of hearty Donkey Bakery multigrain bread; creamy scrambled eggs. (The latter doesn’t come with the breakfast, but you can easily add them on as a side for VND40,000, along with other items like fruit salad, bacon and sausage.) The menu also promises “delicious homemade baked beans.” They are indisputably homemade, but stronger on nostalgia than on

seasoning; whether you think they are truly “delicious” depends on whether you grew up eating cans of Heinz. The word could be more accurately used to describe the mushrooms and wilted spinach piled modestly to the side: these buttery greens, coupled with the earthy fungi, might be the best part of the breakfast feast. You wish that there were more of them; perhaps an additional few leaves of spinach could replace the cold lettuce that lines each plate.

Daily Specials Each day offers a new selection of gluten free desserts, baked fresh in house. I was tempted in succession by lemon polenta cake, carrot zucchini muffins and banana bread. But there is only one way to finish a Big Breakfast, and that’s with a brownie and New Zealand Natural ice cream (VND100,000). Rich and decadent with a slight crunch, the brownie could satisfy any glutton for gluten. The presentation is surprisingly elegant for this casual cafe, with the brownie split into two triangles (a subtle hint that it’s intended for sharing?), set on a long rectangular plate and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The ice cream comes with an unexpected bonus: a glass of sliced pineapple. While it’s certainly nutritious, it’s an odd choice flavour-wise, as the heap of fruit is bigger than the dainty scoop of cookies ‘n cream and overwhelmingly acidic. At least it’ll boost my immune system? Tet Decor Cafe is at Villa 25, Area 1.3 Ha, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho. Tel: (04) 3718 5705


12 Food



13 Décor

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

street snacker

Chao Trai Hot rice porridge and clams is the perfect dish for cooler weather and that warming afternoon snack. Words by Huyen Tran. Photos by Francis Roux


ovember is when Hanoi says goodbye to autumn and welcomes winter. The pleasant mild and cool weather is said to tempt people to eat — just thinking of hot rice porridge or steaming rice dumplings warms you up while riding back from work. Not surprisingly, at this time of year, mid-afternoon snacks are popular with Hanoians. This has been an intrinsic feature of the capital since the 1980s. These hot foods were once sold by street vendors with shoulder poles along street pavements, or by ladies sitting at street corners with tiny chairs. They have now been largely replaced by eateries. Some Hanoians are skeptical — when these snacks are sold in large amounts, they say, they don’t taste nearly as good as they do on the small food stands. However, there are some eateries where the taste of the food remains unchanged. One place selling clam rice porridge or chao trai on Tran Xuan Soan is an example.

Ladeling Tradition So how good is this eatery? How did their chao trai taste in the past? Made with clam meat, a tasty bowl of chao trai requires the rice porridge to be light, and sweet smelling, while the clam meat

should be fresh, rich in taste, but not too tough nor floury. A normal bowl gets watery after eating a few spoonfuls. However, the perfect chao trai is blended and not watery until the final drop. For taste, the dish comes with additional ingredients: laksa leaf (rau ram), onion, dried red chilli and crispy quay (fried bread stick). According to the traditions of Hanoi gastronomy, the rau ram must come from Lang village — the type grown there gives chao trai the best aroma. All of these above qualities, you can find at the eatery on Tran Xuan Soan. “My mother used to sell rice for bluecollar workers on this street corner every lunchtime,” says Hang, a daughter of the original owner. “She started her trade in colonial times and then, during the 1980s, she began cooking chao trai for her neighbours. They insisted that she open a small stand and sell it every afternoon. So she decided to sell chao trai on shoulder poles as additional income for our family. Now she is old and us three siblings have taken over. We continue to follow the discipline of her cooking that made her chao trai so popular.” She adds: “We raise the clams in our own dam. That way, we have fresh and clean clams for serving every day. There are two types of clam: the floury

clam and the tough clam. It’s not easy to differentiate. The floury one is not delicious and can give diners a stomach ache. Therefore, the cook has to be smart and only choose the tough ones. While boiling them, it’s necessary to keep the fire high. Only when the clams are fully open do we pick them out. “The broth to cook rice porridge is the soul of the dish. To get sweet and light rice porridge, the tip is to not use 100 percent boiled clam broth. So instead, we combine pork stock with clam stock. The best rice is both starchy and sweet smelling, but mustn’t be too dense. The fire while cooking the porridge should be mild and the cook should constantly mix it to avoid crumbling.” In a cool breeze and the gentle cold winter air penetrating every alley, a bowl of hot chao trai is warming and makes people feel closer. The dish may have originated in the countryside, but it has been an intrinsic feature of Hanoian culinary habits whenever the ambience of winter embraces the city’s streets. The eatery is located at 20B Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung and is open from 10.30am every weekday and from 3pm at weekends. The price is VND25,000 per bowl inclusive of the quay breadsticks

November 2013 Word | 155

overscene hanoi

catting the walk

Photos by Woolmark As part of 40 years in Vietnam, the Australian Embassy organized a fashion show at the Daewoo Hotel with Australian brand, Woolmark

156 | Word November 2013

a new tipple

Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc Wine distributer and retailer, The Warehouse, flaunted their new, industrial-styled premises on Xuan Dieu with not one, but two grand openings

Bling and More Bling Photos provided by Rooftop The Rooftop put on the glitz and then some glamour, too, as it celebrated its third year as the one of the premier rooftop bars in the city

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

Napping in the Park

Photos provided by L’Espace Thong Nhat Park was transformed into a dance festival as Les Siestes Electronics, the alternative beats extravaganza from France, touched down in Vietnam

Bikes, Beer and More Bikes

Photos by Thiep Nguyen Social enterprise VIP Bikes turned five and headed down to R&R Bar for a bit, of erm, R&R. The beer flowed, the live music played, and the guests turned up in their droves‌

November 2013 Word | 157


BUSINE$$ * *

* *

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

Hanoi Websites hanoigrapevine. com

The place to go for all things related to the arts in a city that is developing its own, vibrant contemporary arts scene. Has event calendars, event postings, blogs, addresses and contact details, and covers anything from classical music through to installations, rock concerts and more.

infosharehanoi. com

Provides the expat community with essential information for living and working in Hanoi including comprehensive and up-to-date events listings as well as address lists of galleries, cinemas, theatres, hotels, housing agencies, embassies and much more. Subscribe to receive their weekly newsletter.

Event photos, a what’s on calendar, restaurant and bar listings and in fact, pretty much everything you want to know about nightlife in Hanoi can be found on this popular website. Also organize regular events and parties.

The city’s best known website, The New Hanoian provides usergenerated listings, reviews and event information on pretty much anything and everything in the capital. Register, create your profile, write a review and receive frequent newsletters.

The online extension of The Word, contains both content from the print edition as well as blogs, events, news, a what’s on calendar, party photos and much more. Also has downloadable PDF versions of the whole publication.

Accounting & Audit KPMG

46th Floor, 72 Building Keangnam Hanoi, Landmark Tower E6, Me Tri, Tel: (04) 3946 1600 Worldwide firm specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and management consulting services. Also does executive search and selection.

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS 16th floor, Keangnam Hanoi Landmark 72, Pham Hung Road, Tu Liem District Tel: (04) 3946 2246 Provides business services including auditing, business and technology solutions and tax and legal consulting. Has more than ten years experience in Vietnam and works in all major industry sectors throughout the country.

business groups ICHAM

Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2229 The Chamber has the main purpose of undertaking activities to support commercial exchanges with Italy and to assist economic agents, as well as to foster the developmew nt of economic relations and cooperation among entrepreneurs of the various countries. The Chamber will not engage in commercial activities with the aim of producing profits.


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


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

158 | Word November 2013

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Business Center, Ground Floor, Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: (04) 4772 0833 An association that actively fosters business relations with other business communities while promoting social, cultural, recreational, educational and charitable activities.

Corporate Services Endo

79, Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3783 2085 Endo offers garment manufacturing for local resorts, restaurants, hotels, golf courses, travel agencies and apparel shops. They also manufacture giftware from polos and hoodies to keychains, card holders and menu covers.

Education British Vietnam International School (BVIS)

H3-H4, Hoa Lan, Vincom Village, Long Bien Tel: (04) 3946 0435 BVIS Hanoi offers British standard education from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12. Provides a creative learning environment with modern facilities and resources combined with well-rounded bilingual curricula. Highly qualified educators teach Cambridge AS/A Levels qualifications.

British University Vietnam (BUV)

193 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3974 3596 The first university in Vietnam to offer degrees awarded by Staffordshire University and University of London, BUV provides excellent higher education at an affordable price. Offers courses ranging from Management to Accounting. Various scholarships are available.


6 Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 2220 0220 Finding the perfect accommodation to meet your various demands in Hanoi is made simple thanks to CBRE’s residential leasing team. Our services are

inclusive of site finding, travelling fees, contract negotiation and resolving any other issues which arise during the term of the lease, all of which are free of charge for the tenant.

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Capital Tower, 10th Floor, 109 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3941 3277 Represent property investors, developers and occupiers in all matters related to commercial and residential property. Services include leasing and sales, valuation and research, property management and support services. Attempt to accelerate the success of their clients by making their knowledge your property.


Room 802, Building 101, 101 Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: (04) 2246 2232 A real estate company that provides both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Also offers free brokerage and many other support services.


33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 Thoughtfully appointed and decorated, Daluva Home features a cosy bedroom for true rest, plus open living, dining, and work areas. Extras include two LCD TVs, iPod dock, and outdoor patio. Housekeeping, and daily breakfast from the Daluva Breakfast Menu are also included. Private car and tour booking service available.

International School of Vietnam

6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai Tel: 3540 9183 The International School of Vietnam (ISV) is a not-forprofit, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school serving the international and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of any nationality aged 3 and up. ISV offers an international education experience. Highly qualified and experienced international educators are supported by a 21st-century campus with the latest in educational technology plus excellent resources for learning. Class sizes are small.


6th floor, Sentinel Place, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3946 1300 A leading global real estate service provider listed on the London Stock Exchange with over 200 offices worldwide. Provides consultancy services, property management, space planning, facilities management, corporate real estate services, leasing, valuation and sales to the key segments of commercial, industrial, retail, residential and investment property.

insurance AIG

Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 1455 Offers a range of insurance products and services including property, casualty and marine exposure insurance. Also has comprehensive travel and accident coverage, as well as healthcare packages for expats residing in Vietnam.


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


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


48 Lieu Giai , Ba Dinh With schooling available for students studying at the elementary through to secondary levels of education, HIS is one of the few private, international education options in the capi-

tal. The institution offers Cambridge IGCSE and IB Diploma for students at the secondary level. Located near the Japanese Embassy.


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


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


Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra, Tel: (04) 3743 0360 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 7243 C5-C11, 1st Floor, The Manor Building, My Dinh, Me Tri New Urban, Tu Liem District Tel: +84 4 3794 0209 Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the assistance of a Vietnamese teacher according to the teacher-student ratio. KinderWorld provides pre

hanoi school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.


Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551 With more than 800 students from 50 different countries, UNIS is a nonprofit IB World School that instructs students from as young as three years old through to grade 12. Established in 1988 by agencies representing the United Nations, the pristine campus has a broad range of facilities and is located in the gated community of Ciputra.

language schools APOLLO

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


20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3728 1922 The cultural arm of the Brit-

ish government’s presence in Vietnam, the BC offers a variety of English language courses – business writing, corporate training and general English – in a large learning centre close to West Lake.


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

legal services BAKER & MCKENZIE

Unit 1001, 10th Floor, Indochina Plaza Hanoi, 241 Xuan Thuy, Cau Glay Tel: (04) 3825 1428 One of the first international law firms to establish representative offices in Vietnam, Baker & McKenzie provide on-the-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.

management training G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES

HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3762 3805 A 100% foreign-invested company focusing on management services and consulting with in-house programs to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic-based business and management programmes.


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

market research CIMIGO

142 Le Duan, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3518 6696 Independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in Hanoi and the Asia Pacific region in general. Services include auditing and optimising research programs, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models, and

assessing market opportunities.

relocation & tracking agents ALLIED PICKFORDS

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

Asian Tigers Transpo

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


6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04)3826 0334 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is currently a

leader in the field. Has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. For more information email

serviced apartments ATLANTA RESIDENCES

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


33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 Whether traveling or on a temporary stay, Daluva can provide space & comfort. Thoughtfully appointed Daluva Homes feature a cozy bedroom for true rest, and an open living area that opens up to a terrace with plants.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 8877 Great location in Syrena Tower on West Lake, Fraser Suites offer a tranquil repose from the busy city. Has several apartments with excellent views and provides gold-standard service.


No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 0888 175 well-designed, furnished apartments and villas combining the comforts of home with the conveniences of a fine hotel.


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

HANOI REDRIVERRUNNERS presents supporting:

media partner:


song hong half marathon


10km, 5km & kids fun run!

hanoi 8th december online registration required before december 1st

(participants paying cash must still register online before making payment)


November 2013 Word | 159





Drink and be done by, or as the t-shirt tells us, khong say, khong ve. Our pick of the best drinking haunts in Hanoi Think we've missed somewhere? Email us on

Bars & Nightclubs 88 LOUNGE

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


MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 01262 054970 Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight With well-poured drinks, a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be — and that’s refreshing. The space is a part time venue for smaller acts and DJs. The venue is hip, comfortable and will likely provide the serious drinker with a reliable place to pull up a stool and take pulls in a relaxed haven.


LATE NIGHT LOCAL 1 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 032829 8pm to late Last building on the right before Hang Buom, this popular with the French (and everyone else) watering hole is a classic. Has the same Old Quarter vibe; small, cosy and personal with funky twists – and an awesome logo. Spread over two floors with good tunes, drinks specials and a foosball table, Cheeky is open till late. Also does tasty paninis into the early hours.


DANCEHALL LOUNGE 15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 4926 2177 11am — late One of the better venues in the Old Quarter for dancing on the weekends. Although crammed into a small space, cheap drinks and a mix of chart chits makes Dragonfly the regular goto for younger Vietnamese crowds, tourists and the foreign resident looking to get up on the dance floor. If you don’t feel like dancing, relax upstairs with shisha and friends with one of the two lounges on the second floor. The sister venue on Phung

Hung has a bigger menu and an earlier opening hour (11am instead of 6pm) but still keeps with the shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.

Chime Bar

Level 1, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9000 Chime bar is the perfect spot for a refreshing glass of wine and a bite to eat. Offering a wide selection of tapas dishes in a lounge atmosphere, this is a great space to unwind, while listening to some soothing jazz to wash your blues away.


DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 5333 6087 4pm to late Straddling Bia Hoi Corner and the cobblestoned end of Ta Hien, FatCat Bar is a small establishment from the minds behind the party and event organisers, LinkHanoi. The bar has tables filling the first floor and spilling onto the sidewalk as well as a small loft area for lounging. Nightly cocktail specials, reasonable bottles deals starting at VND500,000 and a DJ on the decks make up the mix.


ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3292 7614 8pm to late Owned by the people behind Face Club, the low, LED-lit venue has the feel of a VIP room situated in a larger club, only it’s not. While techno and trance are the genre’s of choice spun in the establishment by live DJs, patrons treat the space more like a lounge than a dancehall and typically order bottle service and cocktails. One of the Ta Hien mainstays.


LATE NIGHT LOCAL / LOUNGE 32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0947 893232 10am to late In the same building as the old Bucket Bar, Hair of the Dog, the first floor offers a large drinking space, graph-

160 | Word November 2013

ic artwork, sidewalk seating and a dance floor. Up the spiral staircase, there’s the late-night bar and shisha lounge complete with beanbags. Drawing in a mix of expats, backpackers and locals, when the bars across the street shut down, the mayhem continues in ‘The Dog’.


LATE DIVE BAR 62 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1943 3pm to late Often a bit dark and somewhat gloomy, “The Noodle” is still a hit with long term residents. With its all-hour eating options — ranging from cheese toasties and pizzas to grilled cod and bun cha — and its popular happy hour, this Old Quarter old-timer is still up there with the options. Between 11pm and 12.30am, local beers go for VND15,000 and mixers go for VND30,000. Friendly staff and talkative patrons included.


LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 01633 166170 5pm to midnight With a downstairs, Englishstyle pub garden area and an upstairs space dedicated to live music and live production, Hanoi Rock City is the only venue in the capital of its kind. Has weekly live events featuring bands both from Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming. Email jimihendrix@ for more information or check out their page on Facebook.


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


IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 2212 6821

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


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

Late Delivery Service (LSD)

Tel: (04) 6290 7907 The only beverage delivery service in Hanoi operating throughout the night (6pm to 4 am). This unique delivery service runs every day and offers a wide variety of spirits, beers and other non –alcoholic drinks for you ro order from your home. Affordable prices with delivery available withing the six main districts of the city. Product origin and quality guaranteed.


CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hai Ba Trung 8pm to late Lasers, pulsating trance, bottle service and nightly model shows. This venue is largely filled with flashy Vietnamese youngsters or older business types flashing their wads. Bottle service is a must, which is a little pricey, so if you ain’t got enough money then you probably won’t be sticking around to see the honeys.


LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0959 5pm to 2am

A bit musty and jaded, despite being one of the oldest pubs in the city, this staple watering hole on Bao Khanh continues to be a hit. Probably the closest thing Hanoi has to an authentic Englishstyle pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, billiards and live football matches.


LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Tay Ho, Tay Ho Monday to Friday, 2pm to 11.30pm. Weekends open from 11am Located on the lakeside road just below Xuan Dieu and close to the entrance to The Sheraton, this quiet, casual pub offers up a variety of beer, wine and mixed drinks, juice, tea, Nespresso coffee and espresso and milkshakes, all with a nice view of West Lake. Nonsmoking indoors, Red River


HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 2269 1107 Fronted by the affable Sean, and with Guinness, Jameson’s and a surprising amount of draught beer flowing from the taps, since its inauguration the tiny Spy Bar has managed to create a dedicated following despite its tiny size. With pictures of spies dotting the wall (both Vietnamese and international) and food delivery available from three restaurants, this is a great place to chill and shoot some welldeserved, Chuong Duong Bridge breeze.


ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 ext. 5314 4pm to Midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm to 2am Thursday to Saturday While there are a few ‘rooftop bars’ in the capital, few hold a candle to the view on offer at the Summit Lounge. With a chilled but lively ambience, top shelf cocktails, and a Southeast Asian fusion bar menu, the Summit Lounge is a great place to pitch yourself above the madness and peer down at the chaos below in peace. Sunsets are particularly special.


MEET-UP SPOT 100A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6917

4pm to late Filled with wooden furnishings and a downstairs bar with two beers on tap — as well as wine, cocktails and spirits on the shelves — this newcomer venue has a grill menu catering to the tastes of both East and West. For those in search of a good old-fashioned Sloppy Joe or grilled cheese, you’ll be glad to know the kitchen is stocked to the ceiling with comfort foods.


LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 1874 8am to midnight A stone’s throw from Ta Hien, this bar-cum-loungecum-restaurant has all of the atmosphere present in bars scattered throughout the Old Quarter without being a dive. Enjoy a mixed drink, tacos or a Vietnamese staple starter with the occasional live DJ breaking out classic funk, soul and hip hop in the comfortable furnishings or on the back patio.




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


INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0936 063303 4pm to late Slim but stylish two-storey bar located just at the bend on Bao Khanh. The friendly staff can make a range of well-made and colourful cocktails. Frequent DJ nights and parties are commonplace at this watering hole that caters to both foreign and Vietnamese. Does an excellent happy hour with specials on Ricard.


11th Floor, Hanoitourist Building, 18 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0968 385555 One of the city’s top-end nightclubs, FUSE has been dominating the social scene with its vast selection of imported liquor, top-end service and live music. Hosts monthly parties and social events.


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

Cafes Ciao Café

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


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


LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung; 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 2247 0602 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communistdriven theme saturating this quaint cafe, most patrons are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats. Sip on a blended cup of joe with beans from the Central Highlands, knock back one of the many different types of tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the Spartan cups in one of the hippest cafes on ‘cafe street’. If you like pre-doi moi nostalgia, here is the place to go. And if you like more space and an outdoor terrace, hit Cong Caphe take two on Dien Bien Phu.


CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 3228 7am to 11pm As with any chain that attempts self-replication, there is a tried and tested formula. At Highlands it is

comfortable seating, good Wi-Fi, unobtrusive music and a mid-range, generic atmosphere. It works, too. The Starbucks of Vietnam, a French-influenced, international and pan-Asian food menu sits alongside the teas, coffee and cakes. Has other locations at 49 Hai Ba Trung, The Opera House, The Syrena Centre, Pacific Place and more.

Joma Bakery Cafe

COFFEE/BAKERY 222 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 3388; 43 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6071 7am to 9pm With two branches, Joma has brought a little slice of ‘home’ to Hanoi for expatriates with a contemporary western feel to the counter-style service and atmosphere. The food is all there too: breakfasts, salads, soups, ice cream, muffins, cakes, cereals and bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2009. Joma contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.


PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3825 0216 7am – 8pm A must-go-to place on a lazy day, Mr Chi’s long-standing patisserie is somewhat famous for its honest, homecooked food, no frills-butrelaxing environment and sour yoghurt fit for celebrities — Catherine Deneuve ate here daily during her time shooting Indochine. Hot fresh milk, exclusive coffee, awesome croque madames and local dishes, too. Replace WiFi with a book and aircon with ceiling fans; eat in, take away, the pastries are great and the price is always right.


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


La Grace

ART CAFE & GALLERY 8B/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 0912 666736 7.15am to 10pm Located on a peaceful street named after the famous painter, To Ngoc Van, La Grace is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: drinks, food, arts and sometimes live music. Clean, comfortable and friendly, the venue has a nice selection of juices and smoothies and a Vietnamese-cum-Japanese food menu put together using organic vegetables. Set lunches cost VND150,000, and the café also has strong WiFi as well as separate non-smoking and smoking areas.

ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 0212 7am to 11pm Names of some of the world’s greatest cities cover the front wall of Segafredo, an Italian cafe and eatery serving up some of the best espresso-based coffee in town. Red and white decor, lifestyle black and white coffee drinking images and an open plan space make up the mix. Besides the caffeine-based drinks, also does granita, teas, shakes and modern Italian fare ranging from panini and focaccia through to pizza, pasta, salads and desserts.

TET Décor Café

Art Café & Espresso Bar Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai, Tay Ho 8am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday Cloistered among the back streets of West Lake and sheltered from the noise of

hanoi Xuan Dieu, TET Décor Café is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: coffee, food, art and music. Simple and unpretentious, the café has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel combined with unique and inspiring art installations.

mood so takes you. Organising bicycle tours, running yoga sessions and holding music concerts in their upstairs cafe area, they also sell, rent and fix bikes and are an official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment. Eclectic? Not a chance!



SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (entrance on street behind Au Trieu); 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 39382513 7:30am – 5pm Small a cozy café hidden on the quietest of Hanoian streets, with a new outlet on Nghi Tam, which is more like the big-windowed coffee shops you expect to see in Europe. The Cart serves and delivers tasty baguettes, homemade juices, quiches, pies, muffins and cakes. The delivery service is quick and reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you need to eat at the desk.


44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 9am to 10pm Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is not just a place for all bicycle lovers, but a café that also sells Spanish tapas served up with gin & tonic, if the

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

Twitter Beans Coffee

45B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiemm Tel: (04) 3824 0760 With its modern and stylish décor, Twitter Beans attracts customers from all corners of Hanoi thanks to its diverse collection of 100 percent pure, roasted coffee, ranging from Arabica to reduced-caffeine coffee.


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


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

November 2013 Word | 161



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


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


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


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

tive selection of fare. Has an extensive wine list and an excellent, well-priced three-course lunch menu.

Saint Honore

19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3944 6317 11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 9.15pm Situated in an art-deco villa that was once owned by a Vietnamese mandarin, this establishment is now owned and run by perhaps the most famous French chef in the country. With modestly priced set lunches and subtle Vietnamese touches on the dishes, which primarily come from carefully selected domestic spices, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine.

BOULANGERIE / BISTRO 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this bakery and French-style bistro is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma of bread, croissants and patisseries hits you as you walk through the door. The downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small non-smoking dining space on the other. The upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple French and international fare is served at meal times. Has additional venues at 31 Thai Phien, Hai Ba Trung and Unimart, 8 Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da




Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 6919 6am to 10am, 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm Classic French Indochine décor and subtle lighting give the Sofitel Metropole Legend’s signature restaurant an elegance rarely found in Vietnam’s capital. The a la carte menu pits classic French cuisine against contemporary Vietnamese cooking with dishes like Nha Trang lobster with saffron pot au feu, the pan fried veal tenderloin on a lemongrass skewer and the calisson parfait marinated with orange, pomelo and lemon balm. Has an extensive wine list.

FRENCH BRASSERIE/ VIETNAMESE SPECIALITIES 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 7207 8am to 11pm Situated on Hanoi’s not-soserene ‘Pub Street’, Stop sponges up the surrounding atmosphere, which gives the French delicatessen a relaxed vibe that avoids pretension. The spot specialises in serving a mixture of western, French and Vietnamese fare, along with coffee, shakes and juice. The venue is more affordable then it’s sister location upstairs, Café de Arts, and is prime real estate to nibble on some quiche and quaff a juice on a sunny day.


PAN-FRENCH 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 10.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm Clean and fresh with a fine-dining vibe, the Millennium restaurant is the minimal and chic result of a Café Des Arts makeover. The street’s new go-to for a high standard of eating and drinking goes over two floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and cables of the Old Quarter.

indian FOODSHOP 45

INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3716 2959 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3993 1399 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

162 | Word November 2013

curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.


11 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 5657 Established in 1993, Khazaana remains the first Indian restaurant in Hanoi to offer traditional Indian cuisine. Serving authentic Indian dishes filled with aromatic spices. Khazaana truly brings a taste of India to Hanoi. A typical meal costs from VND250,000 toVND 500,000. Provides a vegetarian menu.


47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3935 2400 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm The latest newcomer to the Indian restaurants family, Namaste specializes in dishes from both northern and southern India — using Halal meat throughout. A meal will cost you between VND150,000 and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts. Available to dine in or out with a free delivery


CONTEMPORARY INDIAN RESTAURANT 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0580 Located in the upstairs portion of its sister restaurant, Tamarind, Spice is an impressive extension to the Indian food choices in the city, providing quality nonvegetarian dishes and a comfortable seating area. Includes lounge seating and a colourful dining area with thoughtful artwork and photographs along its walls. Spice is a tropical, artistic, cultural, and attractive addition to the Old Quarter’s dining options. Specializes in seafood and classic Indian dishes.


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

international AL FRESCO’S

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 5322 8.30am to 11pm With a real ‘diner’ kind of feel, Al Fresco’s serves up munchies-busting Aussie inspired food from a number of locations across the city including their original restaurant at 23L Hai Ba Trung. Topping the menu are the jumbo ribs at VND395,000, with generous helpings of pizzas, pastas, burgers, Tex-Mex, soups and salads going for less. The set business lunch is three courses for VND155,000. See the website for delivery numbers and don’t forget to ask for delivery deals. Have an efficient delivery service, but make sure you ask for knives and forks.


6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3845 5224 11am to 2pm, 5pm to midnight A nicely themed Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse offering all you can eat grilled meat and seafood on the skewer, Au Lac do Brazil is not for the feint of stomach. In typical Brazilian rodízio fashion, waiters bring cuts of meat to the table for patrons to pick and choose, all for a set price. They also offer wine pairings, a salad bar and an a la carte menu, with a creative selection of

fruit caipirinhas on hand to wash it all down. The prices aren’t for anyone on a budget, but the amount and quality of meat is more than worth cost.

CAFÉ 129

MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3821 5342 7.30am to 9.30pm Service at this “slow food café” is seriously snail paced, but that is part of the charm of this modest eatery with only a few tables and small stools. Popular as a weekend hangover mainstay for the greasy eggs with cheese, the café is best known for its not-quite Mexican food. But hey, when there’s guacamole, salsa fresca, beans and cheese, what can go wrong? Be sure to try the fresh juices, like the superbooster with beetroot, and the coffee with whipped egg.


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


CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16 Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 3719 Monday to Friday, 10am to late. Weekends 8am to late A bakery, bistro, restaurant, wine retailer, oyster bar and top floor lounge bar all in one, this lake-facing venue is the work of charismatic Canadian restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done well, the main restaurant menu includes anything from wood-grilled rare tuna steak with fra-

grant Chinese black bean beurre noir to gourmet pizza and pasta dishes such as the likes of Iberian pata negra ham egg pasta served with crushed roasted garlic and manchego. Does an excellent range of imported oysters and has an extensive wine list.


99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6991 4pm to late This welcomed eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with two venues in Saigon — one near the Opera House and the other in Saigon South — the essence of this popular chain is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay, but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting and an extensive wine list and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.


WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3928 9916 7.30am to 11.30pm Sophisticated restaurant set inside an Old Quarter boutique hotel. Formerly a school, and now also on Cat Ba Island, Green Mango serves Vietnamese and western food, ranging from sandwiches and pasta to lamb chops and VND700,000 Angus rib-eyes. Buy-one-getone-free deals on cocktails and beers every day from 4pm to 6pm and Lavazza coffee at all hours. With comfy seats and a soft setting, the function room at the back often hosts charity events and semi-formal gettogethers.


SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 29 Xuan Dieu, Ty Ho Tel: (04) 3946 0121 Monday – Saturday 11am to 11pm. Closed on Sundays A secluded courtyard in the heart of Pacific Place plays host to one of the capital’s best restaurants. A two-floored venue split into a downstairs tapas and bar area,with a refined dining space located on the level above, the menu includes Singaporean specialities such as the shrimp satay salad and the chilli crab spaghetti. A panEuropean classical menu mixed in with light Asian flavours is also on offer, with dishes such as pan-braised Alaskan cod with sea winkle crust and the braised pork belly in shoyu and sweet mirin making an appearance. Has an extensive wine list.


Sheraton Hotel, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 9000 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm The newest Steak & Seafood dining experience in Hanoi. Hemispheres Steak & Seafood Grill offers a wonderful menu covering both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Choose from Black Angus, US Prime Sirloin, Rib Eye, Rump and Tenderloin grilled to perfection. Prefer Seafood – no problem, Lobster, Oysters, Prawns, Fresh Fish, Clams and Crabs are all available for your dining pleasure, as well as an impressive array of wines by the glass & bottle from our


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 34 Rue Chau Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3942 4448 Open from 7am to 10pm This restaurant, which schools and employs disadvantaged youths, has been popular for 11 years — as a grand villa and courtyard setting tucked away in the corner of Ha Hoi. Popular with business types, tourists and expats alike, who enjoy good food while supporting a good cause, mains like cha ca and steaks go for VND99,000 and VND289,000 respectively, and there are six set menus available which take in Vietnamese, French and Italian cuisine.


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


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

Western staff speak English and French.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE 7A, 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 2679 7am to 9pm Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracotta-tiled terrace out front, a great space for eating the decent breakfasts (check out the breakfast burrito), the creatively titled sandwiches and the selection of international salads. Also does a range of Mexican dishes (available after 5pm) and an innovative smattering of healthy, smoothie-style drinks. Has amiable know-your-name staff and a good delivery service.


RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3747 0337 Monday: 7.00am to 4pm; Tuesday to Sunday: 7am to 9.30pm All profit is invested back into the cause at Koto, which is a school and workplace for disadvantaged students opposite the Temple of Literature. Authentic Asian and European cuisine comes out of a visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.


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


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 5333 7:30am — 11:00pm A tourist hotspot and one for locals, too, Little Hanoi near Hoan Kiem Lake has been going sturdy since 1994 — mainly for its central location, range of sandwiches, pastas and Vietnamese cuisine. Baguettes go from VND95,000 and mango salads VND99,000, not to mention the coffee at around VND50,000, wines and fresh fruit juices. With Indochina-inspired art on the walls and jazz in the background, Little Hanoi is a little escape from the chaos of the central lake.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3734 3098 11am to 11pm Located in the grounds of the Fine Arts Museum, this classy restaurant and wine bar mixes attractive décor with western cuisine, all cooked up by a New Zealand-trained Vietnamese chef. Famed for its salads, good cuts of steak, lamb shank and its various pasta fare, the menu here also incorporates a number of well-known Vietnamese dishes.


PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3831 3333 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm Elegant and luxurious, May Man has long been regarded as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese culinary delights and Yum Cha at its finest, with seven private dining rooms this is a place to get dressed up for. Has extensive a la carte menus, dim sum menus and set menus. Reservations recommended.


PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3823 8888 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm A fine dining destination at the


IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 25 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 9052 8am to 11pm A small but eternally popular Spanish-themed café and bar with an extensive list of reliable cuisine. Tapas are available, as well as full courses such as veal, and duck with currant sauce. Known for its good, European-style coffee and fantastic first-floor terrace area with views over the cathedral.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

November 2013 Word | 163

hanoi * * * TOP 100

Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants in Hanoi. Feel we're missing something or have included the wrong places? Simply email

Sofitel Plaza serving Cantonese and pan-Chinese cuisine in a sleek modern setting with private dining rooms. With more than 80 dim sum selections available along with Chinese entrees, Ming’s is an ideal eatery for those hungry for higher end Chinese fare.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3933 4801 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm Named after the completion date of the Opera House under which it is located, walk inside and a labyrinthine-like, barebrick wall hallway leads you through to the main dining area. With dark browns, deep yellow tablecloths and a refined ambience aided by background classical music, the menu takes in western, pan-Asian and seafood fare and even has its own section dedicated entirely to foie gras. Has a 100-strong old and new world wine list that includes Bordeaux vintages and also boasts a cheaper, outdoor garden space next to Highlands Coffee.


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


TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912223966 The successor of My Burger My, this American-run, self-styled burger bar and restaurant fits a lot into a tiny, multi-storey space.

Specializing in tasty, American-style, chargrilled burgers from around VND50,000 with a range of additional toppings including jalapeno peppers, smoked bacon, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and avocado, the creative menu also has a good range of Tex-Mex fare, a number of pan-Asian dishes and a decent delivery service.


CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0580 5.30am to 10.30pm Perhaps the only restaurant in Hanoi to cater to vegetarians that doesn’t focus on faux meat, Tamarind features a wide range of juices and shakes in a crunchy granola backpacker atmosphere. Breakfast is served all day and with Asian favourites, like vegetarian pho, Ma-Po tofu and Thai glass noodle salad, along with some falafel and western influences, vegetarians and carnivores alike will find something to try on this menu.

THBC Bistro

44, Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 Not just a place for bicycle lovers, The Hanoi Bicyle Collective is also the home of Spanish tapas courtesy of their downstairs and upstairs café area. Classic Iberian bites are mixed with baguettes and more. Try their huge — we mean huge — gin and tonics. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 9.30pm. Closed Mondays. Also runs cinema nights and live music.


FRENCH FLAIR 2/2c Van Phuc, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3726 4782 7.30am to 9pm A modern eatery offering western cuisine with shades of French influence in a comfortable setting. Think gardens in a courtyard, drink and food deals and a warm indoor atmosphere — you know, just how the French do it.

Zenith Yoga Studio II & Café

16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 Besides offering a range of yoga, pilates and tai chi classes, Zenith sports a café with fresh, healthy and daily homemade food. Serves up vegetarian, veg-

an, raw cuisine, fresh juice and delicious smoothies.

italian ANGELINA

CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 56 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 6919 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30am to late (restaurant) 11am to 2am (bar) There are only two truly top-end, contemporary Italians in Vietnam and Angelina claims pride of place in this elite group. This doesn’t mean that prices here are off limits — take a similar eatery in Europe and here you are paying a third, which all makes a meal here a special affair. The carpaccios are to die for, the pastas are all home made, the pizzas are wood-fired and the steaks are chargrilled. Does a great three-course set lunch for VND520,000++.


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


CLASSIC ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 3823 7338 11am to 11pm This old-favourite Italian restaurant has been going for 10 years. It uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND60,000 to buildyour-own-skies-the-limit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space with over 35 covers and an outside courtyard, seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses — the latter often bought by other restaurants. Monthly photo exhibitions and opera nights make it well worth a visit, as does the large wine list and choice of desserts.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

164 | Word November 2013


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


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

Japanese & Korean Asahi Sushi

288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3974 5945 Authentic Japanese restaurant with most of the ingredients and produce imported from Japan. Dishes range from VND50,000 to VND300,000 for their sushi and sashimi, grill dishes start from around VND500,000. Has a good delivery service.


JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3978 1386 11.30am to 1.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm, closed Sunday Sushi, soba, sake. Buy a big bottle of sake and the staff will put your name on it and keep it until next time. Dine at the downstairs bar or in one of the private rooms with sliding doors for an authentic Japanese experience. Although Ky Y specialises in rice-style working man’s fare, it’s

hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but the Japanese omelets, tempura and saucy eggplant dishes are perennial crowd pleasers.


SINGAPORE PERANAKAN CUISINE 63 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2992 5pm to midnight By the shores of Truc Bach Lake is the newly opened Singapore Peranakan Restaurant with its authentic, Straits fusion fare emanating from Singapore, Malacca and Penang. Boasting the mouthwatering nasi lemak as its signature dish, all the fare here is homecooked by the owner / partner who spent five years living and studying in Singapore. This is tasty, home-cooked, well-priced fare in a pleasant but tranquil setting.

Vietnamese Club Opera Novel

17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3972 8001 Located in the heart of the city, this airy and spacious restaurant has a relaxed, high-end atmosphere thanks to historical décor from the French era. Serves traditional Vietnamese dishes with a twist. Has an extensive wine selection.


VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 4200 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3771 6372 54 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3796 2647 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0639 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6377 10am to midnight Always busy, often hectic, this multi-floored restaurant is for diners who don’t mind loud noises and sitting on the floor. It’s best for groups so you can order an array of dishes ranging from the more exotic frog legs, buffalo and ostrich, to the trusted standbys; catfish spring rolls, papaya salad and fried tofu. But it’s the exclusive Highway 4 flavoured rice wines that can be taken as shots or mixed into cocktails that keep this

place crowded.


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


57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3944 0204 11.30am to late Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.


29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 6282 5555 ext. 6414 Situated in the heart of Hotel de l’Opera’s 8 storey central atrium, Satine offers a high class dining experience. Signature Vietnamese dishes from around the country will be presented to guests including some of the country’s best kept culinary secrets passed down by generations.

Restobars DALUVA

CLASSY FUSION 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 8am until late A popular hang-out for expats and trendy Vietnamese in the Xuan Dieu area on West Lake. This bar and restaurant offers casual dining with a classy twist, as well as wine, tapas, events and attractive décor. Additional services include catering, BBQ rentals, play-


{THE Promotions} room, kids menu, takeaway and local delivery.


FRENCH LOUNGE 95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh Tel: 0976 751331 10am to midnight A favourite among those who roam further west of the city centre, this multistorey restobar has been going strong for more than two years. It has balconies, mezzanine seating and a long bar guarding exactly 50 different cocktails. For many the Ete burger is right on the mark as are the sandwiches, tartines and salads. It’s always crowded — especially during the weekends. Amiable staff, pleasant vibes.


INTERNATIONAL G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3758 2400 7am to 11pm One of the larger and more comfortable bars in Hanoi, J.A.F.A. is a great place for drinking cocktails by the pool. The beverages are not the cheapest, but this is made up for by service and ambiance. They also have a full menu featuring familiar western dishes such as pizza and cheeseburgers and cater for large parties or dinner functions. Periodic buffets and drink specials are also offered.


23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 8388 9.30am to midnight This new addition to the city from the Alfresco’s Group is definitely the meatiest yet. In the shape of a four floor, chic restobar — which has a bar lounge on the ground, a restaurant vibe on the second and third, and a “boardroom” on the fourth — Jacksons Steakhouse serves of well presented plates of imported Oz and New Zealand steaks as well as seafood. Of course, the large restaurant wouldn’t be complete without a large wine list to match.


ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3941 3336 8am to 10pm Located on the corner of

Quang Trung, this large new cafe, restaurant and bar is housed in a restored colonial building. The beautiful courtyard is liberally decorated with plants, fans, blowlight jets of water, and shade is provided by tasteful cream parasols. Inside, a non-smoking, air-conditioned room is the perfect place to escape the heat. Western and Vietnamese fare is on offer, they have a huge range of wine, beer and coffee and they serve excellent fries too.


BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 2104 7am to midnight Dark red walls and even darker brown seating run through the homely and casual Le Pub, one of the few bars in town with a regular stream of clientele. A long list of imported beer, Tiger draft, a decent international cum Vietnamese food menu, happy hour specials and live sport make up the comfortable mix. The venue also gets involved in the local community through regular events. Has a second Le Pub at Third Floor, 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho.


INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1745 Open 24 hours This spacious spot on food street is open around the clock, offering Aussie-inspired comfort food along with more eclectic Irish nachos, cottage pies and pan-Asian fare. Upstairs is fit for social gatherings and live music while the nosmoking downstairs space is filled with people working and socialising. Serves as community centre, catering both to ravenous backpackers who’ve just arrived off the night train from Sapa and locals looking to meet up.


BAR, CAFÉ AND MUSIC VENUE 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6295 8215 Come grab a drink at the newly revamped R &R to enjoy a taste of American style brew and their comforting Western dishes. The pub still lives up to its old name, providing an array of drinks, buzzing chatter, and of course, some quality live rock music. Its upstairs area is equipped with

a sound system and stage setup for weekly shows and events while the downstairs area houses a classic bar that gives a finishing touch to the friendly community environment.


SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3946 1901 8am to midnight If location counts for anything, then here it is spectacular. With a 270-degree view over the whole of the city, the up-on-high theme of the Rooftop is used to its full. The bar is pretty cool, too, with bare brick, sofastyle seating, glass fronted wine displays and a private room out back for more intimate drinking. Also does day-time office lunches, coffee and decent bar food.


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1979 Sunday to Wednesday 11.30am to midnight. Thursday to Saturday 11.30am to 2am An American-run casual yet sophisticated restobar on Food Street with a great outdoor terrace area, a shared indoor bar space, a chef’s table and upstairs seating. Matched by contemporary décor, the creative food menu focuses on doing comfort food well, while a decent new and old world wine list and innovative cocktails make up the mix. Popular with the media and artsy set.


Building A Second Floor ,9 Tran Thanh Tong Tel: (04) 6680 9124 8.30am to Midnight Alternative and nostalgic restaurant bar with a dim lit conversational ambience. This French-style villa is adorned with old-world architectural styles and hints of engaging contemporary artwork along its walls. Enjoy a glass of wine to complement a variety of succulent light dishes in this combination café, bar, and gallery. Includes lounge seating, two bars, an outdoor patio, and two multi-purpose rooms for small gatherings. Tadioto is an exciting, intimate venue for live music, literary readings, and art showcases.

Street Food at Melia Hanoi This month at El Oriental Restaurant is giving its customers a chance to explore Vietnamese street food as part of its buffet with an assortment of fresh spring rolls, bun cha, banh xeo and much more. El Oriental Restaurant is at Melia Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3934 3343 ext. 7507

Come and meet Van Chai Resorts Van Chai Resort is offering an all-in-one meeting package (stay two days one night and have a half day meeting) at only VND1,393,000++ person for groups of 50 or more. The package includes a night’s accommodation in a Garden View room (based on Twin share); daily breakfast; two complimentary mineral waters, tea and coffee in the room; a special set dinner at Ngu Ong Restaurant; two set lunches at Ocean Restaurant; half day usage of the ballroom with professional set up with flowers, mineral water, candy, papers, pens, flipcharts, a white board, projector and screen and sound system; A tea/coffee break served at the meeting. This package is available until Apr. 15, 2014. Contact Van Chai’s Hanoi Sales Office for further information. Tel: (04) 3717 2438 or email sales@,

Specials and Thanksgiving at Brasserie Westlake Chef Andre understands that

festive time is approaching and that is reflected in his daily specials menu throughout November. On Mondays there is a selection of crepes, while on Tuesdays it’s caramelised pork leg. Wednesdays are freshlycooked pasta, Thursday is roasted turkey while on Friday it’s boiled clams, Saturday is steamed tapioca cake and on Sunday there’s a perfect kid’s corner. There is also a 20 percent lunch and dinner buffet discount on food bills only for groups of six or more people to celebrate Vietnamese Teachers’ Day on Nov. 20 and American Thanksgiving on Nov. 28. Brasserie Westlake is on the Lobby Level, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 ext. 5311

Café Lautrec’s Tuscany Buffet For the whole of November, Café Lautrec will be running a wine promotion with Good Hope Pinotage Chenin Blanc and Good Hope Pinotage Pinot up for grabs at just VND150,000 a glass and VND700,000 a bottle. To balance that the Touch of Tuscany international buffet lunch with live Italian cooking will warm you up during the cold season — available from Monday to Friday for lunch between 11.30am and 2.30pm at just VND420,000++ person. Café Lautrec is at Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 6282 5555 ext. 6421

November 2013 Word | 165


{THE Alchemist} The Numbers Game

LEISU Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time

book shops

swimming pools


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

Cinemas Cinematheque


recently celebrated my 50th birthday. When people learn my age, they are surprised at my youthful appearance. I’ve been told so many times that I don’t look my age that I’m reluctant to mention it, not because I’m ashamed of my age but because others have such a hard time believing it. One day, I know this will all come to an end and people won’t be surprised. But for now I’m intrigued. What is a certain age supposed to look like? Yes, as children physiologically develop, there are markers of growth and development, but once we hit adulthood are the markers socially imposed?

compliment or an ageist remark? I would say, both. The comment is well intended, however embedded in it is western society’s fear of aging. We are constantly exposed to messages in the media that praise youth and vitality and depict old age as an infirmity. The messages are so subtle that ageist remarks generally go unnoticed or are perceived as compliments. While it is not the intent of this article to expound on the pitfalls of ageism, it is worth mentioning the seemingly innocuous nature in which it is prevalent in western societies and in modern cultures in general.

Compliment or Ageist Remark?

Our True Nature

The overall message conveyed in western societies is, being old isn’t attractive or desirable and is certainly to be avoided for as long as possible. When someone says, “you don’t look that old”, is it a

166 | Word November 2013

The underlying question is, how do we get others to see us for who we are without the labels of age brackets, gender, ethnicity, social class, or degree of physical or mental ableness? First and foremost, each

of us needs to recognise the beauty and uniqueness within ourselves and then project this for the world to see. Although this requires a certain level of self-confidence, if we can be true to ourselves and love ourselves for who we are, others will see our true nature, regardless of our chronological age, physical traits or any other external attributes.

Earn It A parting quote to ponder written by George Orwell: “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” Dare I modify it and say, “At 50, everyone has the face he or she has earned.” While you’re busy earning your face, don’t forget to smile, indeed laugh with abandon. Some say it’s the key to longevity. Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit

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

Clubs & Societies American Club

21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3824 1850 A bit worn around the edges, but the facilities are still useful and the grounds pleasant. They host frequent events that are open to the public. Wide lawn, volleyball and basketball courts may make the place worth a visit.

Hanoi International Theatre Society (HITS) A non-profit theatre club that produces small scale drama productions in English, often with Vietnamese subtitles. Since 2001, HITS have been drawing the attention of a large audience all over Vietnam. Auditions are open to anyone with a passion for theatre.


24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 2164 A space for creativity, arts appreciation and performing arts. As a French cultural club, members can enjoy a variety of French classic films, music and theatre, as well as socialise with friends

Army Hotel

33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 2896

Four Seasons

14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da Tel: 3537 6250

Hanoi Club

76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115

Horison Fitness Center 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808

Melia Hotel

44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343


4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049

Sao Mai

10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161

Sofitel Plaza Fitness Center 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888

Than Nhan

Vo Thi Sau, Hai Ba Trung, (Inside the park)

Thang Loi Hotel 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho

over an espresso in the petite café in the building.


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



{ book Buff } Countries of the Mind

and propping up the bar, you know.


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

From Canadian Nobel Prize winners to Greek cuisine, this month Bookworm’s Truong takes us on a trip from Ontario to the Mediterranean


68, Ngo 27 Xuan Dieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0976848301 The well-known restaurant also offers one-off cooking courses in the kitchens at their Truc Bach location. Don’t worry if you forget some of the tricks, as the class includes a recipe booklet.


Lane 52/28, House 9, To Ngoc Van Tel: 01268706708 This charitable organisation, which helps street kids gain the skills to succeed in the hospitality industry, also offers cooking classes to the public on Tuesdays at their training centre. Learn how to make some of the items on their menu at home. Pick up is also available at their Van Mieu location.


THBC - The Hanoi Bicycle Collective

44, Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 A place for bicycle lovers, THBC is the official supplier of ORBEA, TREK and Surly bicycles and cycling equipment. They also rent bicycles (city, MTB or touring) and organise guided bicycle tours under the name Urban Discovery, with a 25-year experienced European mechanic as part of the team. THBC Bistro serves a great menu of Spanish tapas and drinks, and THBC also runs cinema nights and live music. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 9.30pm. Closed Mondays.


lot of readers were probably hoping that Haruki Murakami would win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature mainly because his output is immediately readable and popular. However the various reviewers at Bookworm are over the moon that this year our favourite author got the nod in Stockholm. At the venerable age of 82, and just after she’d announced that she was retiring from writing, Canadian Alice Munro was the perfect choice. Munro only writes short stories, but short stories so beautifully constructed that she is considered to be the literary benchmark to which all authors should aspire. Her 20 plus anthologies are used as examples of perfect story telling in the world’s best creative writing courses. Munro’s last book, Dear Life, was released in 2012 and, like most of its predecessors, its stories are set in provincial Ontario and are wonderfully small vignettes of ordinary life. The best ones are those towards the back of the book that are based on her early experiences. Thanks to the Nobel committee’s excellent decision, Munro’s books will be back in print. Every volume is a precious gem of great writing.

The Atwood Factor Another Canadian author to whom we like to see a future Nobel Prize awarded is 73-year-old Margaret Atwood. John Updike aptly describes her use of words as “pure poetry with scarcely a sentence of her quick, dry yet avid prose failing to do useful work”. Attwood’s just released conclusion

to her futuristic, dystopian trilogy is brilliant and chilling. Before getting stuck into the pages of MaddAdam it may be advisable for readers unfamiliar with the riveting first two novels to catch up with the characters and events in Oryx and Crake and then The Year of the Flood and their ominous tales of global warming, bioengineered genetic experimentation and a deliberately man-made plague that sweeps the earth leaving a small group of survivors. MaddAddam will make anyone, apart from the most one-eyed climate change deniers or fanatic proponents of genetic splicing, pause and reflect. The conclusion with the bio-engineered, green eyed Crakers discovering how to write and record new theological ideas makes you wonder if a future civilization on our planet will be able to rise above the pettinesses, factionalisms and struggles for power that have epitomized all those preceding it.

Greek Food A regular browser at the Bookworm is one of Hanoi’s most inventive cooks and he was really excited when he spied a copy of Rena Salaman’s Greek Food on the shelves. Now this book, crammed full of mouth-watering recipes, isn’t one of those tantalizingly glossy food extravaganzas that you desperately don’t want to get olive oil, eggs and flour splattered all over. It’s a no-nonsense, un-illustrated, novel sized 320 pager that takes in the wonderfully varied cuisine of a rural people reliant upon seasonal vegetables, fruit, fish and occasional meat; a people famous for

spontaneous generosity and sharing of food (which puts them on a par with hospitable, regional Vietnamese folk who spread their scrumptious dishes over communal floor mats). The next time our observant chef visited us he brought along his original 1994 version of Salaman’s book, yellowed, dog eared and held together with an elastic band. Over the pages you could imagine splashes of arnaki yiemisto me koukounaria (stuffed lamb with pine nuts), psari a la Spetsiota (baked fish from the island of Spetsai) or anginares avgolemono (artichokes in sticky egg and lemon sauce) to name just a few of the recipes that we’d like to be featured at our next gastronomic gathering of staff members, with a few fusion intrusions such as local rau tom taking the place of fresh, aromatic mountain herbs. Salaman cashed in on the fame of Greek Food and wrote numerous foodie books featuring recipes and glossy pics from her homeland as well as Lebanon and Turkey. As a postscript for the budding authors amongst us: it might pay to part of the twittering set. Author Jonathan Franzen (who likes to be unplugged) states that a lot of major literary agents won’t even look at your manuscripts unless you can demonstrate that you have at least 250 Twitter followers. For more information on Bookworm go to Besides their original store on Chau Long, Bookworm have a second, smaller shop in Nghi Tam Village in the West Lake area. Located behind the Sheraton and in the same alley as VilaTom Coffee, it can be found at Lane 1/28 Au Co, Lang Nghi Tam, Tay Ho

November 2013 Word | 167

hanoi The Hanoi Bicycle Collective (THBC)

44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is a place for all bicycle lovers! An official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment, the joint not only sells but also rents and fixes bicycles. To add to the eclectic, community spirit they also organise bicycle tours, run yoga sessions, hold music concerts in their upstairs cafe area and run a great menu of Spanish tapas served up, if you so wish, with gin & tonic. Quite a mix!


139 Nghi Tam, Q.Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6869 Cosy, friendly and well equipped dance studios offering dance and fitness classes for adults and children. Classes include ballet, folk dance, jazz, hiphop, contemporary, belly dance, salsa, zumba and yoga for family. Instructors are qualified and certified from Vietnam Dance College or overseas.

Fitness California Fitness & Yoga

Capital Tower, 41 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 0888 One of the leading fitness and yoga centres in Vietnam, with a complete set of modern, top-end gym equipment. Yoga, Zumba and Aerobic classes are available.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.

Hanoi Club

76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3823 8115 A great socialising spot for golf enthusiasts. The views from the driving range look straight out on to the beautiful West Lake. Members can also participate in adventurous water activities such as kayaking. Has a gym and fitness centre, a spa, restaurant and bar.

N Shape Fitness

5th Floor, 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 6266 0495 N Shape Fitness has maintained its high reputation since 2009 with its diverse range of equipment, facilities and classes. Spacious and airy, this gym also has a juice bar providing healthy and refreshing drinks.

Shiva Studios

51 A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Najla Ammouri’s new studio offering yoga, pilates, meditation and Bollywood Dancing only recently opened, but already has a following. Najla is an internationally qualified life coach and a yoga and pilates instructor, with over 15 years experience of transforming people’s lives.


40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho Tel: 0914143185 Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a Frenchowned, 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 threemonth pass.

Hairdressers & Salons DINH HAIR SALON

2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh Tel: 09877 18899 A small but popular hair salon that serves both expats and locals. The many repeat customers go back because of Dinh’s willingness to both follow instructions, or to be creative when asked. Services include scalp massage, shampooing, colouring and styling.

Studios Work Room Four

Building E, Floor 4, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung A place to work. A space to create. Somewhere to see something new. Work Room Four is pulling together the threads of creative endeavours across Hanoi. A collective that promotes collaboration and new ideas, exhibitions, workshops, artist studios, courses, contacts and events.

Recreation Royal City Ice Skating Rink

72A-74 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan, Tel: 0936 469799

168 | Word November 2013

The first internationalstandard ice skating rink in Hanoi. Spreads over 3,000 sqm, Royal City Ice Rink has attracted many visitors and skating enthusiasts around the city since its recent opening. Skating shoes can be hired.

Tay Ho Paintball Club

80, Alley 445, Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Tel: 0934 529992 If you’re up for some action then paintball is the perfect option for you. Instructors and referrers are always available to help. A one-hour game will set you back VND150,000.


So 40, Ngo 76, An Duong Tel: 0914 548903 Vietclimb was first started to bring together the climbing community around North Vietnam. In 2010 they decided to open the first climbing gym in Hanoi. The gym has 100 climbing problems of different grades suitable for every level. Also run tours to various climbing locations close to Hanoi.



77 Hong Mai, Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3627 7106 The first and only Laser Tag Arena in Hanoi, modeled after an abandoned chemical factory. Refreshments with Vietnamese and western food are served at the bar. Also provides gaming for players waiting outside. VND50,000 for an hour game during weekdays, VND100,000 on weekends.

Swimming Pools Keangnam Swimming Pool

Landmark 72 Tower, Pham Hung, Cau Giay Tel: (04) 3772 3801 With two separate swimming pools, one to relax and bask in the sun and one for fitness, The Landmark 72 provides a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of the new city.

Yoga & Meditation ZENITH YOGA

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

FASHION Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Hanoi

Accessories & Footwear BOO SKATESHOP

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 1147 This skateshop offers a variety of clothes, shoes and skateboarding equipment. Most of the T-shirts are made and designed in Vietnam, while the shoes and other equipment are made for export, often rejected due to minor defects. Staff is knowledgeable about Hanoi’s best skateboarding spots.


15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3928 8725 The jewellery on offer, designed by a Belgian expat, often features chunkier gold shapes with small, wellplaced diamonds. Hidden in the back of the store there is also a display case featuring less-expensive costume jewelry.


222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay

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

Citimart Hanoi Towers


Supermarkets Big C Supermarket

49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

Citimart Vincom Towers 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung


210 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem 10 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh 671 Hoàng Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da 51 Xuân Dieu, Tay Ho 93 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Online shopping:


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


Hanoi Star Supermarket

33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6758; 21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 2419 L’Atelier’s two store stock women’s wear, leather bags, shoes and handcrafts. This chic boutique offers both ready-to-wear and made-tofit clothing.



36 Cat Linh, Dong Da

22 & 23 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem 131-135 Hao Nam, Dong Da 17 Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung 27 Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da


126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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


21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1968

A distinctly designed boutique around the corner from the cathedral, bringing the latest from European and American Designers. Think Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Top Shop. Markup seems high on some pieces, but all designers are authentic. No fakes here


27 Pho Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 6965 This boutique, whose name comes from the Vietnamese word for “life”, stocks highend linen and silk clothes in a serene store awash with the fresh scent of mint. Located just across the street from the cathedral, prices are on par with its higherend neighbours.


61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1154 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-of-akind pieces to add to your home furnishings or wardrobe. Located across the street from the other Tan My, one of the oldest silk and embroidery stores in Hanoi.


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

Zeds Threads

51A To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 0947 536515 Classical men’s clothing in expertly tailored western sizes both off the rack and made-tomeasure. The menswear range includes formal and casual shirts; khaki, linen, chino and denim trousers; Bermuda style shorts in chino, denim and linen; and casual light denim jackets. Affordably priced, all clothing is handmade under fair working conditions from 100% natural fabrics. For more information email info@zedsthreads.


{ the Therapist } Fidelity and Confusion

Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, answers your questions and offers advice Dear Douglas, I am 32 years old and have been married to a man for seven years. We met and got married quite quickly. We have a threeyear-old son. I have a good job and my husband works part time and takes care of our child. Twice in the past six months I have found myself in situations where I am feeling a powerful attraction to other men. I have flirted and kissed a little in both cases. Afterwards, I have felt guilty and upset with myself. The truth is that my husband is a good man and loves me, but I no longer feel passion or connection with him. I am confused and don’t know what to do with myself. I am afraid I will do something that I will regret and it will hurt my husband and my son. What should I do? — Longing For More Dear Longing, What you do… depends on who you are. Your decisions about love and marriage are rooted in a value system and a set of beliefs that are all your own. Different

people will respond differently in the same situation. It is not for me to decide what is right or wrong or what others might do. In therapy, what I can do is help you understand your core beliefs about relationships, and why these lead you to feel guilty. And what you have come to expect from marriage, and how you see the impact your decisions have on others. I can also help you consider the power of your feelings and how it relates to being balanced in your approach to making decisions in life. I work from the premise that we are all responsible for the decisions we make, but that we are also learning how to live life as we go. It is normal to make mistakes, but, ultimately, we are trying to find a way to be true to ourselves and to love those around us. You never imagined that you would find yourself with such strong and conflicting feelings, so confused and with so much at stake. You are wondering how you got to this place and how do you get out of it. It might appear that there is no good

solution and that anything you decide will hurt yourself and others. It is often in these moments of ‘crisis’ that we learn to integrate the changes that come from the living of life. One of the purposes of therapy is that it creates room for truth. Your feelings are facts. This is the truth of where you are on the journey of life. When we accept the truth of your feelings without judgment we often find that it can open a door to solutions we hadn’t known to consider. First you have to be truthful with yourself and look deeper into the questions of what you want and what gives your life meaning and purpose. The best we can do is to live from the place of clarity and integrity. So Longing… Before you decide what to do, explore yourself. — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed

November 2013 Word | 169


{ A World of Good } Demystifying social enterprises

By Dana McNairn


hen I’m asked what I do for a living, I invariably try different approaches to the same answer. People intuit I ‘do good’, or something, but they’re not quite sure how. Many think (and have told me) that social enterprises are fraudsters; hustlerstyle businesses claiming nonprofit status to help all those orphans, while in reality callously pocketing doe-eyed donors’ cash and ruining people’s good intentions. Indeed many NGOs or charities have been busted for donor fraud and financial misappropriation — corruption is found in many places. Conversely, others think that social entrepreneurialism is just the rich saving the poor, which is hardly the case when you’re a nonprofit. Social enterprises integrate a social mission with an entrepreneurial approach. They can be for-profit, nonprofit or a mix of both. If it’s a nonprofit, for example, revenue earned through activities, like selling a product or services, doesn’t go to shareholders later as a dividend. Profits are re-invested to grow and improve that social enterprise’s project or programme. Oh, and sorry, ‘buy one, give one’ marketing

170 | Word November 2013

schemes don’t count. However, the bottom line increasingly includes social impact and this pays out a return in so many other ways as well. Thus, social enterprises are not measured by income. They’re measured by the social change and the social impact they create. The point is to make it a permanent and lasting change.

A Picture of Change So what might that look like? Social enterprise provides an alternative way to define, create and retain value. This model allows agents of social change to be completely ‘unreasonable’, a word beloved by social entrepreneurs because it means ‘this ain’t your daddy’s way of doing things’. Social enterprises focus on and respond to genuine need as opposed to manipulating or creating a need. And since the focus is on creating and sharing value, social enterprises tend to go to places where conventional businesses won’t. But how is this different from traditional forms of ‘charity’? Typically, charities don’t aim to disrupt the status quo, nor have they been as interested in scalability or replicability. That’s not a criticism, but it is an acknowledgement that charities are

also heavily dependent on fundraising and running programmes that, whether they like it or not, can be largely donor-driven. This environment tends to produce one-off projects that often reflect the agenda of the funder, not the community the money purports to be serving. There is also increasing enthusiasm around ‘impact investing’, which is another route social enterprises can take in order to fund their mission. The regulatory environment in Vietnam for this is changing, but optimistic assumptions around profit margins will likely have to be tempered with a long view: running a nonprofit or a for-profit is challenging enough. Running one with the sole purpose of solving a seemingly intractable problem, like poverty, is even more so. However, social entrepreneurs feel it is in our best interest — and yours — to want and demand nothing less than permanent change for social justice. A worthwhile investment indeed. Dana McNairn works at KOTO, a nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk youth. She can be contacted at



From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not just talking banh my. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


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


Bakeries KINH DO

41 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho One of the oldest and most well-established bakeries in the city, maybe best known as Catherine Deneuve’s former haunt, Kinh Do has been around much longer than any expat. But their breads, pastries and quiches keep foreigners and Vietnamese coming back. Extensive Western and Vietnamese menu as well.


6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 5269 With two locations, one by the Opera House and the other by St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Paris Deli makes a good job of their breads, tarts and pastries. Both are sit-down restaurants, but are happy to sell you their baked goods over the counter, to go.


58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 4607 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 4831 Community development non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and accessories. Styles vary from traditional to patterned and Asian-inspired. Founded in 2001 and with outposts in several locations around the region, the shop employs women in rural areas, enabling them to make an income and care for their families.

Furniture LA CASA

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

4 Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6674 4130 Offers food and beverage produced in Vietnam with full traceability and strict food safety controls. Meat, egg, milk, fish, veggies, honey, jams, fruit juices, liquors, coffee, water, ice cream. Also, every Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, the team convert the store yard into the Tay Ho Weekend Market, a cross-cultural outdoor shopping and socialising hotspot for expats and Vietnamese.


62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6258 3510 Punto Italia is an authentic Italian supplier importing the finest espresso coffee as well as Italian coffee machines for professional, home and office use. Real Italian granita, ice-cream and much more is now available in Vietnam with the support of a professional and friendly service.


24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 1196 A great place to get all kinds of imported groceries and home-made foods. All of the breads and pastas are made in the in-house kitchen. A great variety of fresh sauces, a limited, but well-chosen selection of wines and a fantastic deli and cheese case. Free delivery.

Kitchen Products KITCHEN ART

38 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6680 2770 Kitchen Art is a little haven for all foodies, cooks and bakers to grow their love and passion for cooking and baking. Come to Kitchen Art Store to buy restaurant-grade tools and ingredients to cook like a chef, take part in regular demonstrations and workshops at the Studio, or simply read and relax at the cookbook cafe corner while enjoying the peaceful West Lake view.


62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6258 3510 Trendy, reliable and stylish coffee machines for the workplace or home, specialising in authentic Italian coffee. Also sells their own brand coffee in capsules, ready ground or as the original roasted mix of beans.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

Liquor & Wine



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


96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 2076 65 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 2789 C4 Giang Vo, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3726 4889 This wine importer and distributor has over 250 different types of wine in its portfolio and is doing its part to bring a culture of fine wine to Hanoi. The main office and showroom is on Hai Ba Trung and an upscale outlet is located within the grounds of the Mercure Hanoi hotel on Ly Thoung Kiet.


6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3943 1009 Not just a wine shop, the long-running Hanoi Gourmet specialises in imported cheeses, meats and artisan breads. After browsing the mainly French selection of wines, you can take a look at the deli and sit down for a light snack.


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


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


No 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5475 Founded by a French–Vietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.


A Dong Photo Co 128 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 0732 This camera shop retails a wide range of cameras, including both analogue and DSLR models, as well as film and accessories like flashes and lenses.

Alpha Laptop

95D Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4418 This laptop retail and repair shop also carries camera accessories and cases.

Fuong May Anh

5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568 This small store has a wide selection of Viet Nam-produced Pentax cameras. Also has a selection of imported lenses.

Nguyen Cau

1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem This camera shop overlooking the lake develops both digital and film prints. Services include photo mounting and passport photos.

Computers and Electronics DK Computer 29 Ngoc Kha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4772 This large electronics retailer deals in computers, printers, as well as external storage devices.

Hi-Tech USA

23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 6261 A small, but good all-around electronics store, selling all kinds of electronics. Speakers, I-Pods, headphones, cables and phone accessories. Many name-brands.

Pico Plaza

35 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This is a super-sized electronics shop with each floor devoted to a specific kind of electronics. You’ll be able to find pretty much anything you’re looking for here, from a phone to a computer to a washing machine.

Professional Computer Care and IT Services

No 3, Alley 8, Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computer-related task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes.


34B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 8771 Located on bustling “computer street”, this shop offers a range of computer accessories including keyboards and USB drives. They also do computer and laptop repair.

November 2013 Word | 171


{ medical Buff } Is the Flu Vaccination only for the Elderly?


ctober to March is flu season, which means at this time of year people are more susceptible to getting the flu and falling ill, sometimes for up to 12 days. This can be easily prevented by getting the flu vaccination. However, many people wonder if the flu vaccination is only for the elderly. Dr. Brian McNaull from Family Medical Practice answers this question and other commonly asked queries relating to the flu.

3) Could you die from having the flu?

1) Is the flu vaccination only for the elderly?

4) If I’m pregnant can I still have the flu vaccination?

No. The flu vaccine is highly recommended for those at most risk — children, elderly and those with chronic medical conditions i.e. chronic heart, kidney, diabetes and lung conditions since the flu may exacerbate these conditions. However, even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Hence the recommendation is to vaccinate all age groups.

Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from the flu as well as hospitalisations and even death. Pregnant woman with flu also have a greater chance of serious problems with their unborn baby, including premature labour and delivery. Flu shots will protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and even protect the baby after birth. The flu shot is safe for pregnant woman.

2) Do children need to be vaccinated? Yes, children are at a higher risk of

172 | Word November 2013

suffering, even more so for those under five years, and especially under two years. The vaccine is not recommended for children under six months.

Yes, the mortality varies from year to year and country to country. For example in the US (2009 — 2010 flu season) there were 12,000 deaths. The highest mortality worldwide occurs in SE Asia and Africa.

5) What are the side effects of the flu vaccination? The viruses in the flu vaccine are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that could occur are: — Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given — Fever (low grade) — Aches

6) I was vaccinated last year. Do I need to be vaccinated again this year? A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. It’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is updated annually to keep up with the flu viruses as they change. Also, multiple studies have shown that the body’s immunity to flu viruses declines over time. Protect yourself and others by securing your flu vaccination today. Family Medical Practice is at 298I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3843 0748

MEDICAL From counselling through to that once-a-year medical check, here are some the medical options available in town


Van Phuc Compound, 298 I Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3843 0748 (24 hours) Family Medical Practice provides psychotherapy and nutrition counselling services by in-house specialists. For more information or to book an appointment, please call the clinic.

Hanoi Counseling Psychology Group Provide support for individuals, couples, children and families in need of counseling and psychotherapy, as well as schools and other institutions who seek workshops and training. Check the website for details.

INTERNATIONAL SOS VIETNAM, LTD. 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3826 4545 In addition to emergency healthcare, the clinic also offers consultations by in-house specialists, full counselling and psychotherapy services. Call to make an appointment.


1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3577 1100 The first international hospital created in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical treatment. Offering everything from standard medical and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff speaking good French and English.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3934 0666 Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from standard GP-style check-ups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.

VINMEC International Hospital 458 Minh Khai, Hai Ba Trung

Tel: (04) 3974 3556 VINMEC is the first hospital in Vietnam to have international standard quarantine rooms for patients with infectious diseases. Vietnamese and foreign medical professionals provide effective treatment with high quality medical technology and exceptional standard rooms.


No 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5475 Founded by a French窶天ietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3934 0666 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. If your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the night, or you break a tooth, there are competent doctors and fast service.


2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, 2nd Floor, Syrena Center, Tay Ho District Tel: (04) 3710 0555 The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who deliver modern, high-level dental services throughout Vietnam. The clinic provides the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service care to patients.


298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3843 0748 On the little street directly below Kim Ma, with all sorts of specialists including OB/ GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A Mediumsized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service.

November 2013 Word | 173




Are You Being Served?


very Thursday before lunch, classrooms in Hanoi’s United Nations International School (UNIS) fill up with students gathered for ‘service meetings’. Each has its own thing going on, whether it’s assembling a turbine out of spare bike parts, planning a trip to the Hai Phong Blind School or brainstorming a concert at the Hanoi Opera House. But if you look in closely, you’ll be able to distinguish two different types of students: ones who seem more interested in the clock — who, as soon as the clock hits 1pm, vanish from their meetings and race off to the canteen — and others with larger smiles and louder voices, who appear deeply engaged. The reason both types are in these classrooms in the first place is because their participation isn’t quite voluntary. Students at UNIS are required to participate in one service activity, and many end up doing something they have no interest in. But there are also those of the second type — students passionate and comfortable with volunteering. These students generally sign

174 | Word November 2013

up first and get to do what they choose, so they are not really ‘forced’ into anything. And there is a huge difference between the two.

Service Not Included It’s not the idea of ‘service’ that students have a problem with. Many of them believe that service is a necessary part of a functioning society. However, being forced to do something with very little or no choice makes it much less attractive. Somewhere in your life you might have been told the positive-thinking cliché ‘if you can’t avoid it, enjoy it’. But how successful were you in doing that? Everything — even things that in different contexts could be interesting — loses its fun as soon as someone sticks the ‘must’ label on it. When something becomes mandatory, you won’t put in your own effort to start on it, and that lack of momentum carries through. It becomes just another homework assignment that you drag yourself through and try to get over with as quickly as possible. For example, when the ‘No Hat No Play’

rule was established in my elementary school — which forces students to wear hats while playing outdoors — hats were no longer ‘cool’. The mysterious, shiny musical instrument with so many interesting buttons simply became a complicated metal tube when afterschool flute lessons took place. And of course, schoolwork; no-one’s ever said, “I love my homework!” As the song goes, teens are young, wild and free. They have a hard enough time doing what they’re supposed to do — they certainly don’t like being forced to do things. No matter how healthy broccoli is, or how useful going to bed at 9pm would be, it’s hard to be happy about these things when you are pushed into them. Maybe if kids were given a little more freedom and a little less obligation, there might be more of them who love vegetables or go to bed early without being told to do so. And perhaps there would be less yawning and daydreaming in UNIS’s service meetings, and more voices and hands of students passionate to do this world a good deed. — Tae Jun Park

Travel Guide Photo by Mads Monsen


The Five People You’ll Meet in New York .......................................................176 The Artists’ Village...........................180 Travel Promos ....................................188

November 2013 Word | 175


The Five People You’ll Meet in New York Native Brooklynite Ed Weinberg breaks down the five quirky types who will give you bad directions in the Big Apple. Photos by Ed Weinberg and Karla Bussell

176 | Word November 2013






e all know that travelling is mostly about who you meet. And the prime draw of visiting New York isn’t the tall buildings, theatres or pizza. It’s the 1,000 cultures that meet there, all building their kooky version of the American dream. You’ll see old timey shops with egg creams and penny candies, and the shops people stop in without a second thought, guarded by quirky bodega cats. The guy behind the counter will put two sugars into your coffee if you don’t tell him not to, which will make you feel just like you’re back in Vietnam. For some, New York is a love letter, and these are the people waiting to receive it.

The Japanese Tourist He’s the guy with the camera. He will go to Times Square (Broadway to Seventh Ave, 42nd St to 47th St, Midtown). The Japanese tourist goes here because this is where the bus has let him off for two hours, but the only reason for you to go here is to watch a sports game on one of the massive big screens or to see what the street performer Naked Cowboy is up to. If King Kong did it, so will he. Although it’s not exactly ‘in the know’, the view from the 102-floor observation deck of the Empire State Building (350 Fifth Ave, Midtown) is the best in the city, now that the view isn’t being obstructed by a gigantic ape. Savvier tourists skip the lines and the US$25 admission and head to the Williamsburg

waterfront at East River State Park (90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn), where they can watch the Empire State’s themed LED tower lights click off at midnight. He will take 30 pictures of the Cube of Destiny. The Astor Place Cube (aka Alamo, 57 Astor Place, East Village) sits right off St. Mark’s Place — the legendary birthplace of punk music — and has evolved its own strange legend: whoever spins the cube one full rotation will someday live in New York. Our man spins it twice for good measure. He’s not shopping in New York’s largest toy store for his kid. FAO Schwarz (767 Fifth Ave, Midtown) isn’t just ‘the original home of Santa Claus’ and the place where Keith Richards scored syringes from hospital play kits, it’s also the home of a Barbie foosball table priced at US$25,000. Be warned.

The Careerist She’s somewhere between Sex in the City’s Samantha and Wall Street’s one percenters, but she’s not as tough as she looks. Although she says she’s from New York, she was actually raised in New Jersey and used to hang out in the Lower East Side on weekends. However, now she OWNS IT. She comes into Brooklyn for one reason only — to eat the best steak in New York. Befitting her no-nonsense personality, she sits at the bar with the other button-downs, who eat at Peter Luger Steak House (178 Broadway, Brooklyn) too often to care about reservations.


Her casual meeting spot is the cigar room at Nat Sherman’s (12 E 42nd St, Midtown). The members-only smokers’ lounge is kept at a crisp 17 degrees Celsius, and has newspapers-on-a-stick. It’s also right off of Bryant Park, where she indulges in her secret addiction — challenging the park pros to a game of chess. To clear her head, she takes a walk on the High Line (Tenth Ave, Gansevoort St, Meatpacking District to 30th St, Midtown). The repurposed 1.6km linear park is the newest addition to the city’s green space scene, built on the raised track of a defunct freight railway line. Sundays, she lets her hair down. And the Hotel Gansevoort (18 Ninth Avenue, Meatpacking District) is the place to do it. The hot little rooftop scene gets a bit crowded on party nights, but the only claustrophobia she feels on her Sunday stints is from the closeness of Lower Manhattan.

The Culture Vulture They have a lot to learn. Luckily, New York has a lot to teach. They get their exercise prowling 18 miles of books. The Strand (828 Broadway, East Village) is where New Yorkers go to spend a quiet moment, discover a new favourite among the 2.5 million books stocked or take part in a boozy book swap with other nerdy but still good-looking types. For the less highbrow, Robert Pattinson played one of those types in the 2010 film Remember Me.

November 2013 Word | 177

178 | Word November 2013

They ride fixies down Museum Mile. The Upper East Side stretch of Fifth Avenue running from 82nd Street (Metropolitan Museum of Art) to 110th Street (Museum for African Art) is home to 10 museums, one of the densest concentrations of culture in the world. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (88th St) is here, as are a number of more niche offerings. But the truly adventurous head to MoMA (11 W 53rd St, Midtown), often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world, or to the edgier MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens), which focuses solely on contemporary art. They are well-rounded. The cooler cultural conquistadors prefer Eleanor Friedberger to Ellen Kent, but they'll go to the Metropolitan Opera (10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side) with mom once in a while. Mondays are fun days. Some of these younger connoisseurs are trust-fund kids, living their passions without the worry of work the next day. Catch them nodding to indie rock at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St, Lower East Side), swimming up to the bar at Room Mate Grace hotel (125 W 45th St, Midtown), sipping microbrews at Barcade (388 Union Ave, Brooklyn) in between 1980s-era arcade games or making like Don Draper and drinking a daytime Old Fashioned at Raines Law Room (48 W 17th St, Flatiron). Wednesdays are also cool at Home Sweet Home (131 Chrystie St, LES) — taxidermy fills the walls as the freshest synth-pop bands hit the tiny little stage.

The Girl Who Was a Princess in Her Home Country Somewhere near 800 languages are spoken in New York — making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world, where 37 percent of its 8 million inhabitants were born overseas — and this lady speaks one or more. She

might be a fairly assimilated Jew, Latina, Italian or Pole, or she might live in Brooklyn’s Chinatown — Little Fuzhou — fast becoming one of the largest enclaves of ethnic Chinese outside of Asia. Either way, she knows some good restaurants to check out. She likes company. And she finds it among the 500 people that crowd the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden (29-19 24th Ave, Astoria, Queens) nightly. No Johnny-come-lately to the beer garden scene, this oasis of Central Europeanness has been around since 1910 and supports Czech and Slovak language schools, as well as some of the finest pork schnitzel and Pilsner you’ll find. Since 1970, she can go to McSorley’s (15 E 7th St, East Village). Prior to 1970, New York’s oldest Irish tavern had as its motto “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies”. For lovers of historic authenticity, the good ale and raw onions are still around, as well as Houdini’s handcuffs, which hang from the bar. Sometimes she needs to let loose in weird, pseudo-Bar Mitzvah fashion. Those rhinestone-studded hemlines aren’t just for an inappropriately dressed lunch at the Russian Tea Room (150 W 57th St, Midtown), the 86-year-old high society nexus. The rhinestones are for her next stop, Tatiana (3152 Brighton 6th St), a circuslike vodka-and-supper club in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach. As one Yelp reviewer puts it, “Just a typical, totally-not-weird, laserinfused Saturday night.”

The Crotchety Old Man This guy has been around since before you were born, and he thinks that things were better then. He has opinions — like his highly controversial, extremely partisan pick for best pizza. Looking like a location double for Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Tony’s Pizza (336 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn) in the not-yet-gentrified reaches of Bushwick satisfies his need for a cheap Sicilian slice

and authenticity. This five-star Yelp reviewer feels much like our old man: “If you’re looking for Roberta’s [261 Moore St; another fine, yet diametrically opposed, candidate for best slice in Brooklyn], GTFO.” Although he eats most of his sandwiches from a paper bag, he secretly has money. He doesn’t mind spending US$20 on his single-barrel Manhattan, as long as the man stirring it is wearing a tie. And he doesn’t go in for any of these new-fangled cocktail bars, he keeps the cufflinks on when sitting down at the polished mahogany bar of Peacock Alley (301 Park Ave, Midtown), just off of the grand Art Deco lobby of the Waldorf Astoria, one of the enduring reminders of the great gothic city he used to know. He’s an old man, okay? A lot of his time is spent eating. Although he probably shouldn’t be indulging so much, every time he thinks of the pastrami sandwich at Mill Basin Kosher Deli (5823 Ave T, Brooklyn) his blood boils. Throw in a half-sour pickle and you’ve made his day. But he knows things, like where the true Mecca of NYC basketball can be found. And he was there, too, 120 blocks uptown from Madison Square Garden, at a little playground in Harlem called Rucker Park (155th St and Frederick Douglass Blvd), when some of the greatest to ever play the game did it with little fanfare. These days, it’s still a big thing when Kevin Durant comes to town or Jay-Z coaches, but back when Earl the Goat, Wilt the Stilt, Dr. J and Kareem were hooping, the game was changing in front of his eyes. He can still get freaky. Every New Year’s Day he heads down to the beach at Coney Island (near the Stillwell Ave boardwalk) with the Polar Bear Club and runs into the ice bath that is the Atlantic Ocean at that time of year. To dry off, he takes a spin on the 1927 wooden coaster Cyclone that still stands on the corner of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street.

November 2013 Word | 179


180 | Word November 2013


The Artists’ Village Cristina Nualart takes a ride out to the walled city of Ham Long, where soggy wonders await. Photos by Mads Monsen

November 2013 Word | 181



tried to find the artists' village a few years ago and failed miserably. When I was new to Saigon, a durable expat had told me about a place he had once been taken to, where a group of artists lived in traditional wooden houses. My research to find this exciting-sounding place started with an online search. With no keywords and scant information to feed into the computer, the search engine yielded very little. But persistence and the algorithms on that day blessed me. My fortune came in the form of an obscure post on a traveller’s personal blog. I got an address. That led to a phone number. That led to an invitation, from a person who said she was the artist’s daughter, to visit on Sunday at 2pm. My Ho Chi Minh City map wasn’t big enough to cover the southern part of District 2, so I drew my own map to take with me. After an hour of hunting down street names, going up and down the same road repeatedly and reading the blank faces of the people we asked for directions, I called the number to ask the painter’s daughter for help. No answer. Landline? No answer. I kept trying. We’d made an appointment confirming the time, so why was no one at home? No answer.

182 | Word November 2013

I gave up after another unsuccessful hour. I went home disappointed, but didn’t think much about the place ever again. Maybe once a year it would come up in conversation, and some other expat would have heard about it. I would usually shoot them down.

In Steps Fate One day, editor Nick and I got to talking about the mythical village. Nick had seen it and remembered the road it was on. The algorithms that live in the net blessed him with a location about 3km from the one I had looked for. And his was empirically tested and proven in analogue, on a bike. Armed with this new information, I found Ham Long village. It’s not really a village, but it might be one day, if the artists that live in these neighbouring houses lapped by the Saigon River get a business plan together. And maybe an online presence. At the moment, one artist, Ly Khac Nhu, invites visitors to his gardened art galleries. I couldn’t imagine anyone stumbling upon this art venue. It’s halfway between the Phu My Bridge and Diamond Island. Location is instrumental to business success, so how had his shop ticked for over 10 years? The

tours. Apparently those groups of tourists who religiously follow their guide know something we expat residents don’t know about Ho Chi Minh City. They also have the advantage of being boated directly to Ly Khac Nhu’s riverside garden. I go there by road, on a rainy day drenched in swear words. After an hourlong drive, I curl under my umbrella into the first wooden house I saw, where the amount of mot-hai-ba-yo-ing suggests a homage to the recently deceased general Vo Nguyen Giap might be going on. I’m politely shooed away, but in full detective mode. Two doors down, a wide open gate and the number 35 invites me into a soggy garden. This is it.

The Gates of Purgatory Trunks axe into animal shapes and ceramic sculptures with facial expressions are everywhere. The houses with trees all around could well be the examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture, the sort I’ve been led to expect by the person who first told me about this hidden place. A man arrives minutes after I do. With his raincoat still on, he doesn’t seem at all surprised to see a stranger walking around his patio, unannounced, looking at the

“Surrounded by a number of amateur or otherwise nondescript paintings, my gaze suddenly lands on a large lacquer of a fierce figure in a distinctively rough style. It’s indeed a Le Kinh Tai, and the price tag of VND210 million reflects the artist’s reputation”

artwork. He switches the lights on and answers a few questions, but he tires quickly and disappears, and sends over a young woman to repeat the same answers, but not to expand on the details. I still don’t know why a pond that was singled out as being ‘northern style’ was characteristically northern. It’s a green pond with lotus plants in ceramic vases. Afterwards, I make enquiries, but am none the wiser. The pond patters away under the raindrops. Under wooden columns and straw clay walls, I peer at paintings. This northern-style porch shelters an open air gallery of unremarkable artworks, mostly lacquer or ceramic pieces. The house stops looking rustic once you go inside. Bright fluorescent lights shine on white walls, washed by terrible leaks that stream rain down to puddles on the floor. The leaks drip over many artworks. Fortunately, Vietnamese lacquer is resilient — it’s used in furniture precisely because it can protect wood from water damage. Surrounded by a number of amateur or otherwise nondescript paintings, my gaze suddenly lands on a large lacquer of a fierce figure in a distinctively rough style.

It’s indeed a Le Kinh Tai, and the price tag of VND210 million reflects the artist’s reputation.

A No-Frills Tour The next house in the precinct is designed in Hue style, except for the antique wooden doors, which owner Ly Khac Nhu brought in from China as a symbol of his heritage. The tiled roof on this small building is better able to minimise the leaks than the palm leaves of the northern style house. But the humidity is there to stay. The galleries inside have some splendid furniture, from Chinese cabinets with mother of pearl intarsia, to three-legged art deco chairs. But none of it is for sale. The paintings are the only items that the solitary girl looks eager to part with, at prices starting in the millions of VND. Unfortunately, there is no information on the works, and sometimes the name of the artist can’t be found. The wide range of quality, subject matter and style and the unfathomable age of some paintings (the bad conservation probably makes some artworks look much older than they are) make the whole place a bit suspect. In another country, this would be a car boot sale.

A third house in the complex is a Tay Nguyen style house with a sloping thatched roof and a lake all to itself. It’s an appropriate home to over 20 sculptures made by different ethnic minorities, the personal collection of Mr. Nhu. By the river, bamboo curtains shade the solid chairs and tables where the paying guests who arrived by boat enjoy tea or coffee and a spectacular view. The rest of us are not offered such pleasantries, so I scurry along with my umbrella to the lacquer studio. The owner of this house — who’s not Mr. Nhu, and doesn’t have his taste in art — pats silver leaf onto lacquer boards. It’s a minifactory of tourist souvenirs: small, portable lacquer paintings of any image a teenager might produce. The artists’ village is a good idea that is poorly developed. The venue is wonderful, the journey by road long and some of the artwork, quite awful. If you decide to go, take your own refreshments because the nearest source is not exactly within walking distance. The address is 35 Thich Mat The, Thanh My Loi, Q2, Ho Chi Minh City. But don’t trust Google Maps

November 2013 Word | 183

TRAVEL travel

People travel thousands of miles to get a whiff of exotic Vietnam. From travel agencies though to resorts, here are a few suggestions on where to stay and how to get there in and around Vietnam


Air France

130 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 3825 8583

Air Mekong

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

American Airlines

194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3933 0330

Cathay Pacific

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


$$$$ Le Lai, Dalat Tel: 063 3555888 17 French colonial villas reside atop the slopes of Vietnam’s rural highlands. Complete with a personal butler, in-villa dining, and a holistic spa, Ana Mandra Villas is where luxury meets tranquility.


$$$$ 12 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 382 5444 The style of the 1920s, the backdrop of the Xuan Huong Lake and Liang Biang Mountain, and a piano bar — these are the elements through which Dalat’s top hotel retains its classic charms.

China Airlines

37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3911 1591

Japan Airlines

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

Jetstar Pacific

Korean Air

34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3824 2878

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

Lao Airlines

93 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: 3822 6990 Ground Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3829 2529 Saigon Tower Bulding, Room 101, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 1588

Thai Airways

29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 3822 3365

Tiger Airways

Vietnam Airlines

27B Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: 3832 0320

184 | Word November 2013

$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel: 063 382 2663 Centrally located, this quaint stop offers affordable accommodations, in a basic style. Goes bus-to-door through the Sinh Café people.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong, Tel: 0313 880888 This four-star resort offers in room bathrobe, slippers, digital safety box, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, 24-hour room service. A resort complete with a pool, deluxe spa, fitness centre, and VIP massage room.


$$$ Tel: 0933 446542 Experience breathtaking tours of the serene Halong Bay, aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three–night trips with a wide range of cabin styles: standard, deluxe, or royal.


$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh, Tel: 0303 848006 Vietnam’s first national park and primate centre with accommodations is stilt houses or detached bungalows. Both are available at the park headquarters, the park centre and on the road between the two.


Malaysia Airlines

Singapore Airlines


Dalat Train Villa

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

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


$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh Tel: 0218 385622 10 houses, surrounded by rice fields, lakes, and hills, this eco– village caters to those who wish commune with nature.


$ Ngoi Tu Village, Vu Linh, Yen Bai , Tel: (04) 3926 2743 A resort, ecolodge, and school, located on the banks of Thac Ba Lake. This bamboo-constructed paradise offers lake cruises, mountain biking, motorbike tours, hiking, and volunteer opportunities.


$$$ Mai Chau Town, Hoa Binh, Tel: 2183 868959 Rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, and a romance in nature, the Buffalo Tours-owned lodge is set in a lush valley, this is home to indigenous Vietnamese.


$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848108 This beachfront property is close to local markets. Fine dining, a professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, and a pool overlooking the limestone bay.

Bhaya Cruises, Halong Bay

47 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3944 6777 (Sales Office) Bhaya combines oriental style with contemporary luxury, offering tours of beautiful Halong Bay aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three-night tours are available and customers have a wide range of cabin styles to choose from: standard, deluxe or royal.

Emeraude Classic Cruises

Tel: 04 3934 0888 This reproduction of a 19th-century paddle steamer trawls around Halong Bay in colonial style, with onboard overnight accommodation in impeccably maintained cabins. The great food and service adds to the already beautiful setting. They also offer transfers directly from Hanoi.

hanoi – international CROWNE PLAZA WEST international

$$$ 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: 04 6270 6688

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

This premier five-star property lies beside the My Dinh National Stadium and Convention Centre. Boasts two swimming pools, a spa, and a fitness centre in its 24 stories.

Daewoo Hotel

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

Fortuna Hotel Hanoi

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

Hotel de l’Opera

29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 Resting just a step away from the Opera House, the hotel mixes colonial architectural accents and theatrical interior design to create a contemporary space. The first boutique five star in the heart of Hanoi, the lavish, uniquely designed 107 rooms and suites contain all the mod cons and are complimented by two restaurants, a bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

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

travel Melia Hanoi

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

Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3822 2800 With its distinctive French architecture and top end service, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is aimed squarely at corporate travellers. An all-day restaurant and a lounge bar are available to satiate their clientele while the kinetic gym and wellness studio offer an excellent range of equipment. Massage and sauna facilities are available for guests seeking to rejuvenate. Of the 154 well-appointed rooms and suites, 93 are non-smoking.


$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0437 330808

With deluxe rooms and suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a la carte restaurant, this Accor group property is prestigious and close to the Old Quarter.


K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9000 Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards, this peaceful property features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10 minutes from downtown. In addition to the luxurious rooms, the hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and great relaxation and fitness facilities, including a tennis court and spa. There are well equipped conference rooms and a newly refurbished Executive Club Lounge.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 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


Sofitel Plaza Hanoi

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

hanoi – mid-range 6 on Sixteen

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


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 0439 286969 Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this little slice of heaven offers complimentary sundries and a

replenishable minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese cuisine.


$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0439 380999 A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.

May de Ville

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

Thang Long Opera Hotel 1C Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 4775 This hotel houses 71 spacious, comfortable rooms all equipped with high speed internet, bath tub and room service. They have a meeting room, which can accommodate

up to 60 people, as well as a restaurant and bar downstairs.

hanoi – Budget Hanoi Backbacker’s Hostel

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


$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: 0838 234999 Winner of Robb Report’s 2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels, the Caravelle houses the popular rooftop Saigon Saigon bar, and the restaurants Nineteen and Reflections.


$$$ 63 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: 0838 222999 Famous for its day–long rotating–menu buffets, the Duxton deserves luxury appellation with a pool, gym, spa, and fine dining.


$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: 0838 397777 This massive property boasts seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial also has an onsite casino.


$$$$$ 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1 Tel: 0839 257777 The five-star hotel and serviced apartment complex offers: 14 instant offices, seven meeting rooms, a 600-capacity ballroom, spa, outdoor swimming pool, a gym, 24-hour fine dining, 24-hours room service, and limousine services.


$$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 0835 209999 In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, resides the Asiana with signature dining options, an innovative cocktail bar, exclusive spa and health club, together with luxury boutique arcade.

Lotte Legend Hotel Saigon

$$$$ 2A–4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1,

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

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

November 2013 Word | 185

travel ECO LODGES Looking to increase your greenness and lessen your carbon footprint when travelling through Vietnam? These eco-lodges offer environmentally friendly alternatives to standard hotels and resorts

Bloom Microventures

Soc Son Tel: 0164 387 6594 (Lain)

Forest Floor Lodge

Cat Tien National Park, Tan Phu, Dong Nai Tel: 061 366 9890

Jungle Beach

Nha Trang Tel: 058 362 2384

La Vie Vu Linh

Yen Bai Tel: 04 3926 2743

Mango Bay

Ong lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 077 398 1693 w w w. m a n g o b a y

Mekong Lodge

An Hoa, Dong Hoa Hiep, Cai Be, Tien Giang Tel: 3811 4863

Mia Nha Trang

Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa Tel: 0918 821633

Pan Hou Eco Lodge Village Resort

Ha Giang Tel: 0219 3833 3565 www.panhou-village. com

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Ninh Van bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 372 8222 Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

Tel: 0838 233333 Immaculate architecture, spacious rooms, and a fine selection of fine dining, with buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.


$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: 0838 228888 Former guests include U.S. presidents — two Bushes, Clinton — and K-Pop sensation Bi Rain. An ongoing event as well as a hotel, New World is one of the best luxury stops in town.


$$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: 0838 241234 Fabulous in style, prime in location, everything one would expect from the Hyatt. The Square One and Italian-themed Opera restaurants have garnered an excellent reputation, as has the landscaped pool.


$$$$ 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: 0838 292185 Brimming with history the Rex’s open–air fifth–floor bar is Saigon highlight. A recent renovation, of this now fivestar property, boasts designer fashion and a shopping arcade.

Riverside Apartments

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


$$$$$ 18–19-20 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0838 251417 This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup or drop off, a 4th floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.


$$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 272828 Sheraton boasts one of the best locations in town, with first–class facilities, an open–air restaurant 23 floors above the city and a live music venue on the

same floor.


$$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 0838 241555 This 20–story building in downtown Saigon, caters to upscale business and leisure travelers seeking a classic yet contemporary stay in Saigon.


$$$ 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5 Tel: 0838 336688 The full ensemble with its own shopping hub (including a bank), fine dining, a sauna, health club, and superb panoramic views of the cityscape. Also hosts the largest Oktoberfest in the region.


$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 299201 This charming old hotel has been fêted in literature and in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to highlight Vietnamese culture .


$$$ 1 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 295517 Since 1925 this vintage hotel encompasses the beauty that is Vietnam. Overlooking the Saigon River, its unique atmosphere makes it that much more majestic.


$$$ 656/52 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q3, Tel: 0838 460263 The hotel features 12 luxurious rooms designed to capture the warmth of the French countryside. The Little Bistro Restaurant serves Asian and European signature dishes for in-house guests.


$$$ 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: 0838 295368 Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique business hotel is located minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and is renowned for its fabulous steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.


$$$ 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: 0838 224866 Novotel Saigon Centre has

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

186 | Word November 2013

a contemporary feel, an international buffet — The Square — a rooftop bar, and a wellness centre including a swimming pool, gym, sauna and spa.


$$$ 144 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0839 998888, The newly-built hotel is near Tan Son Nhat International Airport. With spectacular city views and a comfortablydesigned outdoor swimming pool, there is little reason not to choose this shining star.


$$ 133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 225914 Perched on one of the city’s major boulevards, the brightly-lit exterior guarantees that you’ll never be lost at night. Enjoy executive jacuzzis and use online booking for discounted promotions.


$$$ 46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: 0838 227926 Centrally located near the Ben Thanh Market, the two hotels are juxtaposed on opposite sides of Thu Khoa Huan. Lan Lan 1 and 2 offer a homely feel at affordable prices.


$$ 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0837 442222 A colonial–style hotel and spa offers fine Italian, Thai and Japanese dining. Manicured gardens and a view that overlook the bank of the Saigon River, this is truly someplace special.


$$$ 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0862 569966 Architectural elegance, and timeless style, this literal library themed inn is nestled in a charming and quiet neighborhood. Their fine selection of literature waits to be read, atop the rooftop terrace.


$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0839 206992 Free Wi–Fi offered in every room. Low prices, friendly staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few

steps from the backpacker’s area.


$ 167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1 Tel: 0838 373699 With its communal kitchen and a TV room, a stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.


$ 185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0838 361915 It’s always hard to get a room here without booking, and no wonder, since this tucked-away little spot is on a par with anything else in the area — attractive, comfortable, friendly and more.


$ 157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: 3827 4648 Free breakfast, free computer usage, motorbike rental, and discounts for long term stay, the Sinh Huong Hotel is one of the few guesthouses to accept credit cards.

Hoi An & Danang An Bang Beach Retreat

An Bang Beach, Hoi An www.anbangbeachretreat. com A serene barefoot-luxe destination where guests kick off their shoes, unwind and take it all in. Located 50 meters from the beach along a sandy path, An Bang Beach Retreat is an intimate beach hideaway with a castaway vibe: its four houses are set in tropical gardens, tucked away in the charming fishing village of An Bang Beach, 4km from Hoi An, Vietnam’s premier destination. Sunbathe on the day beds, sip cocktails in the landscaped gardens, swim in the turquoise waters and soak up the Hoi An sunset.


$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An Tel: 5103 862231 Hoi An’s best kept secret is a family–run hotel with a charming colonial air located between the town and the beach, complete with a pool garden and air–conditioned rooms.


$$$ Son Tra – Dien Ngoc, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: 5113 961800 20 minutes from Danang airport, this resort is com-

prised of six villas, a 33–floor twin tower, three five–star hotels, a convention / commercial centre, a 36–hole golf course and a culture village.


$$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang, Tel: 5113 847888 This venue has stunning beachside location. The smallest room measures 40 square meters — with a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar.


$$$$ Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, Tel: 5113 981234 The Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is beachfront with a stunning view of the Marble Mountains. There are 182 luxurious residences and 27 private ocean villas, each with a private pool.


$$$$ Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang , Tel: 8884 246835 With its own private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula, the Bill Bensley-designed hotel is nestled within one the region’s most exquisite locations.


$$$ Tam Hai Island, Thon 4, Nui Thanh, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 545105 Located to the south of Hoi An, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai houses a dozen modern villas with private gardens. There are endless beaches and an abundance of fresh seafood.


$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An, Tel: 5103 914555 This award–winning resort is located close to the bustling Old Town. With an emphasis on wellness and pampering, its spa combines traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.


$$$ Lot A1 Zone Green Island, Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau, Danang Tel: 5113 797777 Located on Green Island, in the heart of Da Nang city, the Mercure Danang offers

travel modern style reflecting local Vietnamese culture. All day dining is offered at their brasserie and Chinese restaurant.


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 940000 Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. Each massive room has its own espresso machine, pre–programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.


Cua Dai Beach Tel: 5103 927040 This charming resort replicates a traditional fishing village, ponds, and village houses, all upon a private beach. Eat at the Annam Asian restaurant or relax with Thai or Swedish massage.

Hue & Quang Binh ANGSANA LANG CO

$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: 0543 695800 Located on Vietnam’s South Central Coast, Angsana Lang Co commands an unrivalled beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional Vietnamese design encompasses the resort’s contemporary buildings and chic interiors.


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: 0543 695888 Built on a crescent bay, The Banyan Tree offers privacy and unparalleled exclusivity with all-pool villas reflecting the cultural and historical legacy of past Vietnamese dynastic periods.


$$ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue, Tel: 0543 826567 hanoibackpackershostel. com Housed in a breezy, colonial villa complete with bunk beds, in same or mixedsexed dorms, pool tables, and darts. This is the place to meet international travelers.


$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue, Tel: 0543 882222 The Forbidden City meets modern luxury. This high– rise hotel has great city views, a fine selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa.


$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 837475 la–residence– Built around the former colonial governor’s mansion, with a nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s unique experiences. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you’re in paradise.


$ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 826736 A budget option hotel, the Phuong Hoang offers reliable service and comfort, in additional to superb views of the Perfume River.


$$$$ Beachside Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Tel: (058) 352 2222 2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villa–style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, this resort offers verandah

dining, a pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.


$ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0583 622384 On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature.


$$$$ Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 398 9666 Nestled in the mountain pass between Cam Ranh Airport and Nha Trang, this sanctuary has its own private beach. With ecofriendly principles, Mia boasts rooftops studded with manicured grass and shrubs.


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0586 256900 This four-star hotel with 154 guestrooms, all with a terrace and sea view. Complete with a pool, spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room that caters for up to 200 delegates.


$$$$ Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: (058) 372 8222 The upmarket Tatler magazine voted top hotel of 2006. The location is stunning, on a bay accessible only by boat.

business centre, and a cooking school.


$$$ 12–14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0583 820999 Awarded in Expedia’s World’s Top one percent of hotels 2009, the Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel and Spa is ideal for the diamond lifestyle. All rooms have a view of the sea.


$$ Tel: 0583 840501 This remote and unspoiled island 60km north of Nha Trang is a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and an excellent seafood restaurant.

Phan Thiet & Mui Ne ALLEZ BOO BEACH Resort and Spa

$$$$ 8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 0623 743777 This resort offers exotic Bali–style, thatched roof “honeymoon” villas, 55 spacious suites, deluxe rooms, fresh seafood, Vietnamese cuisine, Thai and international cuisine, kite surfing and parasailing.


$$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 0623 847322 Under Life Resorts management, the Blue Ocean Resort includes a large swimming pool and swim–up pool bar, a children’s activity playground, and an Irish bar.


$$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 847111 With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a swimming pool (both with attached bars) and a French restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those who opened it in 1995.


$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Tel: 0623 847440 / 2 Choose between bungalows with either open-air bathrooms or enclosed gardens, or beachfront bungalows overlooking the East Sea.


$$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan, Tel: 0623 682222 Set on Ke Ga Bay, with a sumptuous spa, original ar-

chitecture, eight swimming pools and 24–hour butler service, this is one of the most well-appointed resorts in the country.


$$$$ Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 813000 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.


$$$ 60A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne Tel: 0623 741660 Villa Aria Mui Ne provides warm service, 22 spacious guestrooms, and one suite. The resort includes a pool overlooking the beachfront, and an alfresco dining lounge serving authentic Phan Thiet cuisine


$$ Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 980998 A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a


$$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: 0583 880000 A sleek beach-front property with six restaurants and bars, the Shine Spa with nine treatment rooms, an outdoor swimming pool a fitness centre, a kid’s club,

November 2013 Word | 187


{ Travel Promos } Promotions of the Month

Thriller in Manila Priced from VND9.6 million per person based on double-occupancy, Exotissimo and the Philippines Tourism Board are launching a three-day/two-night package, including return air tickets from Hanoi or Saigon to Manila. Up for grabs is a two-night stay in a twin standard sharing room at Remington Hotel, daily buffet breakfast at Hawkers, a lunch and two dinners at a local restaurant, round-trip transfers through Resorts World Manila, a sightseeing tour in Manila and lucky draw prizes. The deal is available until Dec. 15 and has to be booked before Nov. 30. For more information, contact Exotissimo World Travel on (04) 3828 2150, or on hanoiagency@

Escape the City Hustle @ Banyan Tree Lang Co Banyan Tree Lang Co invites local Vietnamese citizens and resident expats to escape into luxury. Deals for minimum stays of two nights include lagoon pool villas and beach pool villas at VND5,145,000++ and VND6,615,000++ per night, respectively. The offer includes a daily breakfast and a delectable set dinner at The Water Court, along with airport transfer from Danang Airport. Resident IDs

188 | Word November 2013

or proof of work are required upon check-in — book before Dec. 19.

Spa Retreat in HCMC @ Hotel Nikko Saigon Escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets without ever having to leave — or wind down during your lunch hour — with Hotel Nikko Saigon’s newest midday spa deals at their rejuvenating getaway Ren Spa. Treatments including massages and facial treatments will be discounted 20 percent when applied to services between 10am and 2pm every day.

Edensee comes to Saigon Edensee Resort — nestled behind the tranquil Tuyen Lam Lake waterfront in Dalat — is offering stunning before-andafter sales services for visitors who book through the brand new representative office in Ho Chi Minh City. Already the pinnacle of tranquility and luxury, Edensee now promises even more quality for Saigon residents.

Beach Living @ Laguna Lang Co Nestled within Laguna Lang Co stands a fully integrated residential development

close to Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels and spas, and the 18-hole golf course, facilities for conventions and a plethora of other recreational offerings. Your very own residence start from US$350,000 (VND7.35 billion), including one and two-bedroom beachfront locations. Only a short distance from UNESCO World Heritage sites Hue, Hoi An and My Son, this lush locale of natural scenery and pristine coastline could very well be your front yard. For an information pack, contact sales@

Luxury Going Once, Going Twice… Sold! NTTV Travel/Dulich Deluxe, the leading luxury hotel booking service, is soon to be the first service in Vietnam to auction off its rooms starting from VND50,000. Among the rooms up for grabs are bookings at Villa del Sol Beach Villa in Phan Thiet, Golden Sand Hoi An Resort and An Hoa Residence in Long Hai. The bidding process happens on Facebook, and lasts for 72 hours from the first bid of VND50,000 for two adults per night. For the best deals in luxury travel, look no further than NTTV.

travel beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike rental, boat trips and tours are easily arranged. Discount rates during rainy season.


$$ Ong Lang Bay, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 986142 An eco-lodge with no televisions or air–conditioning, 18 bungalows offer views of the beach and bay. The beachside restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a classic ‘French touch.’


$$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Tel: 0773 995895 This 37–bungalow boutique resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first– class spa treatment and a Mediterranean–themed restaurant.



$$$ Tel: 0203 871522 Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria include satellite TV, in–room coffeemakers, a hilltop health club, tennis court, and pool. The entire resort has panoramic views of the town below.

The Village Noshery

42 Cau May, Sapa Well-placed in the heart of Sapa’s downtown district, The Village Noshery mountain lodge is the perfect place to dine, stay and hang out while you are in Sapa. Step inside to discover an oasis of comfort and relax in the large restaurant spaces decorated with handcrafted art installations. Here it’s all about good food and quality service at very reasonable prices.

Vung Tau & Ho Tram BINH AN VILLAGE

$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982988 Among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, the M Gallery brand has beautifully–designed rooms, a stunning swimming pool, an all–natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant.

$$$$ 1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 351553 Perched on a cliff face, this Imperial Vietnam-styled resort has traditionally designed and furnished rooms and villas, seaside pools, fine dining, and a bar strategically located to watch the sunset.



$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: 0903 382207 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.

$$ Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 830939 Seated at the heart of Con Son Island this beachfront resort has mini-golf, kayaking, and sightseeing tours via trams.


$$$$ Tel: 0643 781525 This attractive property is the ideal getaway from Ho Chi Minh City. 63 uniquely bungalows and villas promise a local experience complete with an excellent spa and two swimming pools.


$$ Cat Cat Road Tel: 0203 871218 The best view in town from its bar restaurant, the Cat Cat Guesthouse is paradise at very reasonable rates. The rooms have big windows, balconies, and log fireplaces.


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



$$$$ Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 781631 The spacious villas come with their own pool and have direct access to the beach. Extras include tennis courts, a mini supermarket, and cycling and motorbike tours.


$$ 1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 852135

Built in 1972, this popular seafront hotel still maintains its 1970s–style architecture and room fittings. Amenities include a pool, two bars, a massage parlour and a karaoke lounge.


$$$$ Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Tel : 0643 831222 50 wooden-framed bamboo pool villas stretch along the curved bay, each with an unencumbered view of the sea. Also has a fitness centre, two restaurants, diving facilities and free bicycle usage.

The Grand-Ho Tram Strip

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

travel services Want to organize your dream trip in Southeast Asia? With BeenInAsia you can easily do your own organization online and choose from a pre-selection of great hotels and tours. Need some help? Just send an email to info@

Buffalo Tours Agency (BTA)

94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist., Ha Noi, Tel: (84-4) 3 828 0702 A boutique Travel Agency at the service of all Vietnamese and expatriate residents in Vietnam offering easy, hassle-free travel around the world and in Vietnam, with the highest standards of customer care. This premium Travel Agency has been created to help travelers select their destinations and organize their trips, take care of the timeconsuming procedures and ensure that all journeys are enjoyable and successful. BTA customizes leisure and corporate travel plans while offering a selected range of small group tours.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at


26, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 2150 9 XuanDieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 5555 A one-stop, all-in-one travel agency with an extensive operational track record in the Indochina region and beyond. Providing upmarket services, Exotissimo brings their clients close to culture through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

Handspan Travel

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

HG Travel

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

Indochina Land

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

Intrepid Travel Vietnam

57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 193308 vietnamsales Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992, offering innovative day tours, short breaks and small group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed de-

partures, Intrepid focuses on real life experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and beyond to get you up close to Vietnam’s people, cuisine, history and culture.

Syrena Cruises

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


81 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9170 This premium travel agency helps travelers select their destinations and organize their trips. From corporate travel to small group tours, explore the world or Vietnam.


70 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat Motorbike tours from over 70 guides, all speaking English. Tours include Dalat, the Central Highlands, Phan Thiet and Nha Trang. Note: insurance is not included.


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


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

FLY VIETNAM They provide flight information, pricing, availability and booking for domestic and international travel, in addition to railway reservation, hotel bookings, holiday packages, buses, and car rentals, travel in-

surance, coach tours and visas.


149/42 Le Thi Rieng, Q1, Tel: 0904 193308 An international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992. They offer daily tours, short getaways, and small group excursions throughout Vietnam and beyond.


108 Huynh Thuc Khang, Mui Ne, Tel: 0908 400108 Vietnam’s first and only sailing school offers individually tailored training programmes for individual clients and groups. Services include recreational sailing, supervised dinghy rental, sail training, racing, wake boarding and beachside accommodation.


28/4 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: (08) 6675 2620 A local inbound tour operator specializing in boutique tours around Vietnam. They provide economy, luxury, packages and tailor-made tours, which include the flexibility for customers to explore at their own pace.


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


60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City Tel: 0713 752436 Services include trips to the Mekong Feeling floating hotel, cruises along the Mekong Delta, and speedboats between Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, Saigon, Cantho and Chau Doc.


169A De Tham, Q1 Tel: 01222 993585 vietnamvespaadventure. com Vespa Adventure offers multi–day tours of southern and coastal Vietnam on the back of a luxury motorbike powered by clean, renewable biodiesel. Englishspeaking tour guides lead the way. November 2013 Word | 189

Không có nhiều cá nhân được người Việt Nam sùng kính như Đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp ảnh của đại tướng vào phía dưới những bông hoa. “Hôm qua là ngày giỗ của bố mình, bố mình cũng là một chiến sỹ,” chị nghẹn lời nói và không cầm được nước mắt. “Bố mình mất 10 năm rồi, cũng một phần vì những di chứng của chiến tranh. Ngày xưa mình nhớ hay được bố kể chuyện về bác Giáp. Nếu hôm nay bố mình còn sống thì chắc là cũng sẽ đi viếng bác.” Lúc này chị Nga đã đợi trong hàng được hơn 10 tiếng nhưng chị không có ý định ra về cho tới khi chị vào được bên trong để tưởng niệm đại tướng.


gày 4/10 đất nước Việt Nam vỡ òa trong tiếc thương của người dân khi nghe tin đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp, vị anh hùng cuối cùng trong các cuộc kháng chiến của dân tộc trút hơi thở cuối cùng ở tuổi 103 tại Hà Nội. Mặc dù tin đại tướng qua đời không phải quá bất ngờ vì ông đã phải liên tục điều trị trong bệnh viện suốt bốn năm qua, nhưng đó vẫn là một mất mát lớn lao và khiến nhân dân tiếc thương vô bờ. “Ở Việt Nam lãnh tụ Hồ Chí Minh là vĩ đại, người học trò duy nhất được chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh bồi dưỡng, vun đắp là đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp. Đại tướng ra đi toàn thể nhân dân Việt Nam đều thương tiếc, vì thế mặc dù nhà nước không tổ chức, chúng tôi tự nguyện đến đây để tưởng nhớ đại tướng người có công với đất nước. Tất cả mọi người hiện nay đang sống nhờ cái công đó,” bác Nguyễn Văn Đại, 70 tuổi nói trong khi bác đang xếp hàng trong dòng người không dứt vào tưởng niệm tại nhà riêng đại tướng ngày 10/10. Trong những năm chiến tranh, bác Đại làm ở bộ phận hậu cần cung cấp thực phẩm cho tiền tuyến. Cũng trong hàng đó, xếp dưới bác Đại chừng vài trăm mét, chị Lương Thị Thanh Nga đang nâng niu chiếc khung gỗ với 103 bông hoa giấy tượng trưng cho tuổi thọ của đại tướng. Chị đã làm những bông hoa này đêm hôm trước và cẩn thận gắn một tấm

190 | Word November 2013

Những Kỉ Niệm còn Sống Mãi

Chị Nga và bác Đại chỉ nằm trong số hàng trăm nghìn người đã xếp hàng trước ngôi nhà số 30 phố Hoàng Diệu, Hà Nội, từ sáng sớm cho tới tối khuya để được vào kính cẩn chắp tay trước di ảnh của đại tướng. Hàng triệu người trên khắp cả nước ở mọi lứa tuổi cũng thể hiện niềm thương tiếc theo các cách khác nhau. Trên Facebook, người ta thay ảnh đại diện của mình với những tấm hình của đại tướng. Họ kể những câu chuyện về đại tướng thông qua kí ức của ông bà, bố mẹ mình. Họ ngưỡng mộ tài năng của đại tướng trong thời chiến và sự giản dị, hết lòng với đất nước trong thời bình. “Hôm nay cháu đã tới viếng đại tướng và được nhìn người lần cuối,” bạn Nguyễn Thị Xuân, 20 tuổi sinh viên trường Đại học Quốc gia Hà Nội nói trên một status của mình ngày 13/10. “Cháu đã được biết đến bác qua những bài học lịch sử, và cả những câu chuyện đẹp về bác mà ông cháu kể khi ông được bác chỉ huy trong chiến tranh.” Ngày hôm đó, biển người đã đổ ra đường phố đợi chờ xe đặc chủng chở linh cữu của đại tướng đi qua, từ nhà tang lễ quốc gia cho tới sân bay Nội Bài trước khi ông được đưa về chôn cất tại quê nhà Quảng Bình. Họ muốn được nhìn vị đại tướng họ ngưỡng mộ lần cuối trước khi ông rời khỏi thủ đô vĩnh viễn.

Người Hùng của Nhân Dân

Đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp, tổng tư lệnh quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam trong hai cuộc kháng chiến chống Pháp và chống Mỹ được tôn vinh là một trong những nhân vật góp phần quyết định khiến cả hai quốc gia trên rút khỏi Việt Nam hoàn toàn. Ông được ngợi ca nhiều nhất ở chiến thắng lẫy lừng Điện Biên Phủ khi ông lãnh đạo quân Việt Minh giành chiến thắng trước đội quân tinh nhuệ của Pháp. Đó cũng là chiến thắng quyết định buộc Pháp phải rút khỏi Đông Dương. Mặc dù không qua đào tạo bài bản về quân sự, tướng Giáp được quốc tế biết đến như một thiên tài, đặc biệt là trong chiến tranh du kích. Quyết tâm sắt đá của ông tập trung vào một mục tiêu duy nhất – chiến đấu cho sự độc lập của dân tộc. Cái giá phải trả cho sự độc lập và thống nhất đất nước cũng lớn lao vô cùng. Hơn 400,000 người Việt Nam chết trong chiến tranh chống Pháp và hơn hai triệu người thiệt mạng trong chiến trang chống Mỹ. Nhưng tại tang lễ của ông, tình yêu và lòng trung thành của nhân dân đối với ông là điều không thể phủ nhận. “Đây là một tang lễ chưa có tiền lệ. Nó là tình cảm của nhân dân đối với người. Dân biết, dân hiểu và chỉ có dân mới nhận thức được,” nhạc sỹ Cát Vận nói, trong tay bác cầm bài hát mới được viết để tưởng nhớ đại tướng. Giờ đây khi vị anh hùng cuối cùng đã ra đi, nhiều người ngập trong tiếc thương, còn một số chia sẻ cảm nhận khác. Bác Nguyễn Thị Tư, 64 tuổi chia sẻ khi tham dự lễ tang đại tướng: “Bác thấy lo lo. Khi cụ còn thì cụ như một cái [bóng]. Nhưng giờ cụ mất rồi, trong tâm có cái gì đấy lo lo. Lo là đất nước mình mất cụ đi thì có còn cái bóng để mọi người soi vào hay không. Sợ sợ như thế.” Có một điều phần lớn người Việt Nam đều chia sẻ với bác Tư. Đó là sẽ còn rất lâu nữa nhân dân mới lại tìm thấy một người mà họ đều kính trọng với cả tình yêu và tấm lòng của mình. — Hoa Le

Ảnh bởi Thiệp Nguyễn

Vị Đại Tướng Của Nhân Dân

Ảnh bởi Francis Xavier

Nghệ Thuật Vì Thiện Nguyện Hoạt động âm nhạc và nghệ thuật để quyên góp cho người khuyết tật


háng trước, Roger Ferrell được trao huy chương “nhà kinh doanh vì mục đích văn hóa” bởi Liên hiệp các tổ chức Hữu Nghị. Đây là một sự kiện có ý nghĩa quan trọng ngày 10/10 diễn ra tại Cung Hữu Nghị và kéo dài hơn ba giờ. Ngài Ferrell đã làm gì để nhận được vinh dự đó? Không giống với những người nhận được giải thưởng này trước đó, ông không phải đối tác trong những hợp đồng kinh tế hàng triệu đô-la. Thay vào đó, ông đã giành 10 năm nghĩ ra hết ý tưởng kinh doanh này tới ý tưởng khác, chỉ với mục đích làm thế nào để phân phát được lợi nhuận của mình. Hoàn toàn có khả năng là bạn đã ủng hộ những ý tưởng của Roger mà không ý thức được việc đó. Ông ấy là người đã có ý tưởng Nghệ Thuật vì Thiện Nguyện, hoạt động gây quỹ của ông sẽ diễn ra vào tháng này và cả lễ hội Jazz đường phố Bourbon nữa. Hoặc cũng có thể bạn đã nhấm nháp những hạt điều của chương trình Trẻ Con là Trên Hết tại quán bar yêu thích của bạn. Trong khi bạn có lẽ đã hưởng thụ những thành quả của việc gây quỹ, những giá trị xã hội của chúng được đong đếm bằng những chiếc xe lăn – tổng cộng khoảng 2500 chiếc. Làm thế nào để một người đàn ông đến từ Seattle với chuyên môn về Công nghệ thông tin và ngân hàng trở thành ‘một nhà kinh doanh vì mục đích văn hóa’? “Sự tuyệt vọng,” chính là thứ đã nuôi dưỡng những ý tưởng kinh doanh của ông, một số doanh nghiệp kinh doanh qua mạng mạng và một số đặt tại Mỹ. Những dự án, trong đó có những kế hoạch sắp được triển khai sẽ giành 100 phần trăm lợi nhuận vào việc mua và phân phối những chiếc xe lăn cho những người khyết tật ở Việt Nam.

Từ Tình Nguyện Viên cho tới Ý Tưởng Doanh Nghiệp

Sự tuyệt vọng để giúp người khác đã được giải tỏa khi Roger lần đầu tiên tới Việt Nam năm 1996. Ông đã tham gia tình nguyện trong tổ chức Cây xanh Hòa bình Việt Nam, một tổ chức Phi chính phủ nơi ông đã rà phá bom mìn để trồng cây ở tỉnh Quảng Trị. Đây là tỉnh phân chia hai nửa Việt Nam trong thời chiến và là một trong những địa phương nghèo nhất nước. Roger tiếp tục giúp đỡ tổ chức này thêm ba năm nữa, nhưng khi có quá nhiều cơ hội đến, bản tính doanh nghiệp của ông đã trỗi dậy. Năm 2000, ông đã sáng lập ra tổ chức Trẻ Con là Trên Hết. Dự án đầu tiên này đã dẫn tới hàng nghìn suất học bổng cho giáo dục tiểu học và tạo ra được một ngôi trường giành cho học sinh khuyết tật. Trong thời gian đó, Roger cũng hỗ trợ Tổ chức Xe lăn, một tổ chức từ thiện của Mỹ đã quyên góp những chiếc xe lăn cho Việt Nam. Nhưng sau đó, ông đã nhanh chóng hiểu được rằng những chiếc xe lăn được sản xuất tại Trung Quốc, từ đó làm ông nảy sinh ra ý tưởng mới. Trong vòng một năm Roger đã mở ra một xưởng sản xuất xe lăn tại Việt Nam. Đông Hà, thị trấn ở miền Trung Việt Nam nơi Roger đã bắt đầu bằng những hoạt động tình nguyện, giờ đây trở thành ngôi nhà của doanh nghiệp Trẻ Em Là Trên Hết, một doanh nghiệp xã hội đã sử dụng những thiết bị hỗ trợ đi lại với những thiết kế hiện đại bậc nhất. Những chiếc xe lăn, xe máy và “những chiếc chân tự do” ( đã được xuất khẩu sang Mỹ và bán cho những tổ chức phi chính phủ khác. Nhà máy không chỉ tìm những nguồn tài nguyên thô từ những nhà cung cấp gần đó, tạo việc làm cho người dân địa phương, mà tới 30

phần trăm nhân viên của họ là người khuyết tật. Và tất cả lợi nhuận được xoay vòng để giúp đỡ những người có hoàn cảnh khó khăn ở Việt Nam. Mục tiêu của Roger là quyên góp được đủ tiền để sản xuất và phân phối 100 thiết bị hỗ trợ đi lại trong một tháng.

Chiến Dịch Gây Quỹ

Nghệ Thuật Vì Thiện Nguyện là một sự kiện hàng năm đóng góp vào mục tiêu đó. Đồ ăn, rượu, triển lãm hội họa và đấu giá trong im lặng, và một buổi biểu diễn nhạc cổ điển gây được một số tiền nhất định để mua xe lăn trang bị cho những người có hoàn cảnh đặc biệt trên cả nước. Ngày 16/11, hoạt động hàng năm thứ 6 rất đa dạng với những triển lãm nghệ thuật và nghiên cứu âm nhạc này sẽ diễn ra tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. Những nghệ sỹ đương đại nổi tiếng Việt Nam đã quyên góp những tác phẩm của mình trong triển lãm năm này, nhưng bạn cũng sẽ thấy nhưng tác phẩm vẽ bởi những em nhỏ tại trại trẻ mồ côi, những nhà thiết kế, nghệ sỹ dân gian và cả những nghệ sỹ quốc tế. Một trong những điểm sáng của chương trình năm nay bao gồm biểu diễn đàn violin của em Đỗ Phương Nhi , Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nga và cặp đôi Trang Trinh và Park Sung Min, sự kết hợp đặc biệt của nghễ sỹ piano cổ điển Việt Nam với nghệ sỹ Hàn Quốc. — Cristina Nualart Hoạt động gây quỹ Nghệ Thuật Vì Thiện Nguyện diễn ra hàng năm đã bước sang năm thứ 6 và sẽ diễn ra ngày 16/11 tại Nhà Hát Thành Phố, Quảng Trường Lam Sơn, Q1. Giá vé là 500.000VND. Bạn có thể đặt vé qua Roger Ferrell bằng cách email hoặc gọi 0903 365720. Bạn cũng có thể liên lạc Shannon Hopkins qua, 0906 761190

November 2013 Word | 191

UK Now!


iễn ra ở cả Hà Nội (9/11) và thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (10/11), UK Now! Là lễ hội nhạc của nước Anh đầu tiên ở Việt Nam. Là một công bố có chủ ý — Hội đồng Anh đang kết hợp với CAMA Việt Nam ở Hà Nội và Saigon Sound System để giới thiệu lễ hội này — hai đêm nhạc sống ở cả hai thành phố lớn với sự tham gia của các nghệ sĩ nổi tiếng từ nước Anh cùng với các tài năng đương đại Việt Nam. Xuất hiện ở cả hai buổi diễn là Anushka và Bwani Junction của nước Anh song song với SlimV và Thi Huyền Trang từ Hà Nội. Ngoài các nghệ sĩ chính thức này, thành phố Hồ Chí Minh cũng sẽ có đại diện của mình

là White Noiz và Saigon Beats cùng với DJ/Nhà sản xuất nhạc người Anh Timmy Vegas. Vào cửa tự do. Bạn có thể đến các địa điểm sau để lấy vé: Hà nội CAMA ATK (73 Mai Hắc Đế, Hai Bà Trưng); Hội đồng Anh (20 Thụy Khuê, Tây Hồ) Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh Q4 (7 Nguyễn Tất Thành, Quận 4); Hội đồng Anh (25 Lê Duẩn, Quận 1) Buổi diễn ở Hà Nội sẽ diễn ra vào ngày thứ Bảy ngày 9 tháng 11 tại Trung tâm Triển lãm Văn Hồ, 2 Hoa Lư, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội. Ở Sài gòn 24 giờ sau đó vào ngày Chủ Nhật 10 tháng 11 tại Q4, 7 Nguyễn Tất Thành, Quận 4

Mèo của tháng Đã đến lúc cô mèo đáng yêu này có một ngôi nhà mới


it chỉ mới qua tuổi mèo con một chút — khoảng thời gian từ một chú mèo mới sinh tới tuổi nghịch ngợm — nhưng lại không ngại để cho mọi người nựng nịu cằm và gãi tai của mình. Kit không được đối xử tốt khi còn nhỏ, nhưng rất thích sự yêu mến và chăm sóc mình nhận được ở Animal Rescue and Care và ngôi nhà chung với các chú mèo khác ở trung tâm. Là một cô mèo lạc quan, chúng tôi hy vọng Kit cũng sẽ luôn được yêu quý và nựng nịu trong ngôi nhà mới của mình. Hiện tại Kit rất thích nghe nhạc Rock cổ điển, nhưng cô mèo cũng có thể ngủ trong lòng bạn bất kể bạn đang chơi loại nhạc gì trên dàn loa đi nữa. Thậm chí Kit còn thích Snoop Lion vì gần đây anh ta đã đổi không dùng tên Snoop Dogg nữa. Cô không đòi hỏi nhiều, nhưng Kit cần một cửa sổ để có thể ngồi ngắm khung cảnh ngoài trời, để chắc là

192 | Word November 2013

không có vấn đề gì xảy ra. Kit rất năng động, đã được triệt sản, tiêm vắc xin đầy đủ để chuẩn bị cho bạn đón bé về nhà ngay hôm nay. Liên hệ để thay đổi cuộc sống của mình với các chú mèo. Để biết thêm thông tin về ARC, hãy vào trang web

Nhà bảo trợ của tháng

Bạn còn nhớ Mac, chú mèo vằn dễ thương hay mắc cỡ là Mèo của tháng 8 không? Đã qua nhiều tháng bận rộn cho Mac, vì chú đã có một người bạn thân mới — Bob, một chú mèo nhút nhát giống đuôi ngắn thích ăn chung tô với Mac và ngủ chung mỗi tối — và bây giờ chú đã có thêm bạn người mới, người sẽ nuôi hộ Mac và Bob để chúng có thể có một mái ấm vĩnh viễn sau này. Cả hai rất vui, và chúng tôi cũng vậy! Các chàng trai dũng cảm của chúng ta cuối cùng cũng đã trưởng thành.

Hội chợ tháng 11 Câu lạc bộ Lãnh sự quán thành phố Hồ Chí Minh đón mời các khách tham quan và mọi người đến dự Hội chợ Từ thiện hàng năm lần thứ 20, vào ngày 23 tháng 11 tại Trung tâm Hội nghị White Palace. Thêm vào số lượng hàng hóa quốc tế đa dạng, chương trình còn có vé rút thăm may mắn với các giải thưởng như vé máy bay, chuyến nghỉ dưỡng ở khu du lịch và gói spa chỉ với giá VND50,000. Để giữ không khí lê hội, ông già Noel sẽ ở đó và chụp hình với các em nhỏ và cả người lớn nữa. Tất cả lợi nhuận sẽ được đưa vào quỹ giúp đỡ các trẻ em kém may mắn. Hội chợ Quốc tế lần thứ 20 hàng năm của Câu lạc bộ Lãnh sự quán sẽ diễn ra tại Trung tâm Hội nghị White Palace, 194 Hoàng Văn Thụ, Phú Nhuận vào ngày 23 tháng 11. Vào cửa cho người lớn là VND100,000, trẻ em dưới 10 tuổi đi kèm người lớn được miễn vé. Để biết thêm thông tin và mua vé trước, hãy liên hệ charitybazaarHCMC2013@gmail. com hoặc vào trang web

UNIS giúp đỡ các học sinh


rường Quốc tế Liên hiệp quốc Hà Nội đang đưa ra chương trình học bổng toàn phần cho bốn học sinh may mắn, khi họ quyết định mở rộng chương trình học bổng của mình cho các ứng viên trẻ tuổi hơn. Đơn ứng cử bắt đầu được nhận từ tháng này cho kì 2014-2015 vào một trong những ngôi trường

quốc tế hàng đầu Việt Nam, ở lớp 8, lớp 9 hay lớp 10 với hỗ trợ phí một trăm phần trăm. Đây là năm thứ ba của chương trình học bổng tạo điều kiện cho các học sinh Việt Nam có gia đình khó khăn về tài chính, nhưng có kết quả học tập vượt bậc ở trường tại Hà Nội vào học tại UNIS Hà Nội, được giáo dục miễn phí cho tới khi tốt nghiệp. Học

sinh có các tiêu chí thích hợp với chương trình có thể nộp đơn tham dự với các giấy tờ đầy đủ tại Hạn chót nhận đơn là ngày 31 tháng 12. Tất cả các câu hỏi về chương trình học bổng hãy gửi về email cho chúng tôi tại scholarships@

November 2013 Word | 193

The final say

Little Vietnam… in London? Marc Forster-Pert went to London to find Little Vietnam, discover more about its people and culture, and to see if the pho matched up to its counterparts in Vietnam


always knew I wanted to come to Vietnam when I first stepped foot into a Vietnamese restaurant in 2006. The photos of Halong Bay, Hoi An and Sapa on the walls, the musical rhythm of the chatter in the kitchen and then there was the food. To me, this was food I could eat every day with the delicate balance of sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami coupled with the fragrant, herby soups and salads. Arriving in Vietnam seven years later, I remembered why I wanted to come so badly — that steaming bowl of pho, enjoyed streetside on plastic stools and tables that could have been taken from my primary

194 | Word November 2013

school. So delicious it was, I was keen to find out whether the food in London really was as good as I remember. Although my eager group of friends in London said there were lots of good new places to try, my search didn’t start well. Recently, the legal team of restaurant chain Pho attempted to trademark the name of Vietnam’s national dish and force any other restaurant with pho in the name to change it. Thankfully, they have since decided not to take action against places like Mo Pho, in Lewisham, South London, which has gained widespread popularity in a borough where Vietnamese has become the second language.

The bowls of pho are just as contentious as the name choice. Pho, the chain that is flying the flag for Vietnamese fast food, with seven outlets in London and more opening around the country, serves the most flavourless bowl of dishwater I’ve tasted. If this was the benchmark, I was to be disappointed. It may be because there is no discernible Little Vietnam in London. There are a few pockets but none can be compared to the ‘Little Saigons’ of any major US city and neither can the populations. Census data estimates that 1.7 million people of Vietnamese descent reside in the US, compared to just 55,000 in the UK, around 30,000 of whom live in London. There are

“When we opened up, people [living in London] didn’t know about Vietnamese food, so we had to make it more like Chinese food. But now there is a bigger demand for it, we have been able to make it more authentic” more overseas Vietnamese in the Czech Republic and only 5,000 less in Poland. Facts that surprised me as Vietnamese cuisine is one of the fastest growing trends in tasty affordable food in the capital of the UK.

Supper Clubs and Street Food Luckily, one Vietnamese-born cook and food writer/stylist is bucking the trend. Uyen Luu started her supper club in 2009 as a result of friends wanting her to cook the food she grew up with. She started a blog at roughly the same time and the supper club has transformed into a weekly event booked up sometimes weeks in advance while the blog has prompted the release of her first recipe cookbook in early October. Over a bowl of delightful, fresh and aromatic pho, she spoke of her childhood memories and what it was like growing up, learning to cook from her mother who only fed her and her brother Vietnamese food. Eating at McDonalds was a once-a-year treat. Saigon born, she came to Hackney, East London at the age of five with her family in 1983. At the time, there were an estimated 5,000 Vietnamese living in London, and Chinatown was the closest thing to home. The manager of Que Viet on Dalston’s Kingsland Road — where the largest concentration of Vietnamese restaurants exists — thinks that the food will never be authentic perhaps because of the link with Chinese food. “When we opened up, people [living in London] didn’t know about Vietnamese food, so we had to make it more like Chinese food,” he said. “But now there is a bigger demand for it, we have been able to make it more authentic and more restaurants have opened up — this was the only street [Kingsland Road] now there are restaurants and cafes all over the place.” Kingsland Road remains a very popular destination for Londoners searching for a slice of Vietnam and Uyen has fond memories of the street as a student. “Shoreditch, before it became fashionable, was where all the students lived and it’s right next to the Vietnamese area. The cheap restaurants opened up and they naturally blossomed.” But in her opinion, the food doesn’t

possess the authenticity of her home country. “Tay Do was the first good restaurant [on Kingsland Road], but I haven’t eaten there for ages. I actually feel a bit resentful and angry about the many places doing Vietnamese food a disservice. They fail to balance the five key flavours of Vietnamese food. The ingredients unique to Vietnam are more expensive here, so they tend to cut corners and it’s just not the same.” Uyen, who has given Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc a masterclass in Vietnamese cooking, also has an unfavourable opinion about the city’s street food scene which she said doesn’t compare with Vietnam’s equivalent. “Street food is serving common staples from around the world at expensive prices for the privilege of having sauce dribbling down your fingers while standing up. It’s a massive trend, so people rave about it but it will never be done properly in this country.”

Gaining Strength The other people I met on my journey bore no hint of the state of the first wave of refugees that arrived 40 years ago who found it hard to assimilate, were forcibly dispersed and struggled to find work in anything other than a sweatshop. Today, the culture, language and food is an important part of a community which has spread its warmth throughout the UK, even if only on a small scale. The Vietnamese population is certainly one that is growing in strength, number and vibrancy. The UK is now home to 8,000 students from Vietnam and has seen an significant increase in Vietnamese tourism. There have been various summer weekend festivals of culture, music and food over the past few years and there are a growing number of Vietnamese societies and other cultural events. One thing is for sure. You won’t have to look hard to find a piece of Vietnam in London, despite it not shouting from every street. And while the food may not be quite up to scratch, the burgeoning interest in the country and its culture will no doubt spark a rise in demand for anything and everything Vietnamese.

The Real Deal? Not wanting to take Uyen Luu’s word for it, I went on a hunt to find some decent Vietnamese grub in London. Here’s a summary:

T he K ingsland R oad F avourite T ay D o — This Southern Vietnamese

restaurant packed out with East Londoners and Vietnamese alike is akin to a busy Bui Vien backpacker joint. We went wild, with a feast of eels in lemongrass, fried frogs legs in chilli, bun thit nuong and a beef clay pot. Verdict: The food was passable but it didn’t scream Vietnamese authenticity and my fellow diners felt a little short changed on the tastebud-explosion of flavour that they expected. 5/10

T he S treet F ood B anh M i 11 — Van Tran and Anh Vu,

owners of this Broadway market stall as well as more shops around the capital are arguably the godmothers of Vietnamese street food in London. Baguettes and fresh soup are the order of lunch in this trendy outlet. Verdict: The crunchy banh mi hit the spot and brightened my afternoon. Certainly slightly Anglicised with Asian flavours, but tasty nonetheless. Summer rolls were also good. 7.5/10

T he S uburban T rend L a D u D u — Based in a central, affluent

suburb of London, this newish restaurant boasts that it’s not just food but an experience. Passionate owner Teresa Le aims to introduce London to the true taste of Vietnam. Verdict: Fail. The experience was indeed fantastic in this comfortable, welldecorated eating house, and the starters took me right back to Vietnam but the mains were greasy and devoid of any real flavour. Shame. 4/10

T he C afé C ity C aphe — The tiny cafe located in

London’s financial district normally has queues out the door. Serves banh mi, bun bo Hue, pho and various rice and noodle dishes in fast food efficiency. Verdict: Vietnamese food made easy for city workers in a hurry. A good selection, and the two dishes I tried bordered on a taste of Hanoi. Certainly nothing to complain about. 6.5/10

November 2013 Word | 195

The last call Don Berger has been serving Hanoians his version of cuisine for 14 years, the last four from his West Lakeside spot in Tay Ho. From his rooftop perch he shares the spirit behind Don’s Tay Ho, and what it has taken for him to become one of the best-known restaurateurs in the city. Photo by Thiep Nguyen IT’S BEEN FOUR YEARS OF… Hanoi family, friends, support, effort and some amazing celebrations. I have started a whole new phase of my life and it just keeps getting better!


cosmopolitan hospitality, music, art, food, wine and entertainment.

VIETNAM HAS TAUGHT ME... an appreciation for the Vietnamese values of family, education and industriousness, as well as the first traffic rule that I learned when I arrived in Hanoi: “Nothing behind you matters and yield to everything in front of you.” LANDING ON ASIA’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS 2013 WAS… a

surprise and an unbelievable honour for

my team, my family, my investors and also for Vietnam — which made the list for the first time. It put us on the map internationally, being recognised by a globally influential panel made up of more than 900 international restaurant industry leaders.

I DESCRIBE MY CUISINE AS… international, modern and comfort food.

EXECUTIVE CHEF NGUYEN VAN TU IS… my brother for over 14 years

and has tremendous God-given talent as a culinary artist and team leader.

MY CURRENT FOOD OBSESSION IS… making sure our food is delicious, fresh and beautiful, but more and more healthy.

MY SUNSET DRINK OF CHOICE IS… a glass of wine. THE VIEW FROM THE ROOF IS… enchanting. I refer to it as the Hanoi Riviera.

OUR MUSICAL SELECTION AIMS TO BE… adapted to the cycle of the

week from gentle and restful on Sunday, all the way through to lively on Saturday with an ever changing selection of Vietnamese, pop, Latino, flamenco, jazz, reggae and light rock.

WHEN PEOPLE HAVE DOUBTED ME... I have persevered like the Taurus

I am and ploughed through stubbornly and purposefully.


best restaurant in Tay Ho.

IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS, I’VE LEARNED… to value and enjoy the

day at hand, and still prepare well for the many days and generations to come.

BECOMING A FATHER... is part of the single greatest thing I did — to marry my beautiful, sweet wife Thuy, and then to father our son Che Long Hai (as in Che Guevara and Long Hai, the Golden Dragon from the Sea). He has brought so much joy and luck to us all. Don’s Tay Ho is at 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi, and online at

196 | Word November 2013

Word Vietnam November 2013  

The what's on guide to Vietnam