Page 1




OOD undamentally








006 l The Prelude


THE TALK 008 l A Slippery Slope 009 l The Big Five 010 l Just In 012 l The Exhibitionist 014 l The Buzz 018 l Our Man

030 l Many Faces

076 l Day Tripper



From the home of lotus seed farmers to one of the most desirable areas in the city



Where it all comes from



The forgotten side of Kyoto

060 THE


Soon coming to a screen near you

024 l Overscene INSIDER


Cu Da has a history to write home about

020 l In the Papers 022 l Calendar


The Toastmasters

032 THE

062 WOMAN Love, relationships and independence

The Born Again Hanoian

Trivia Buff Answers

064 l Mystery Diner

1) Thanh Lam, 2) JRR Tolkien, 3) Eric Hollies, 4) Thistle, 5) Vietnam, 6) Ulysses by James

Ming Palace

Joyce, 7) Orchid, 8) Buddha, 9) Money, 10) Crocodile Shit, 11) Alan, Shearer, 12) Zero, 13)

065 l Street Snacker Kem Ky Kem Can

2 | Word September 2012


See p111 for the original puzzle

German Bundesliga, 14) Rio De Janerio, 15) Suicide, 16) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 17) Mien (Glass Noodles), 18) North Korea, 19) Kraftwerk, 20) A Bar

086 l West Lake Out & About 088 l Cinema Buff 090 l Book Buff 095 l Medical Buff

TIENG VIET HO CHI MINH CITY 0101 l The Bodyguard 102 l Life in Recycle 104 l The Pharmacist FINAL SAY 106 l The World According to Me Taking posed photos of oneself and posting them online is a growing trend 112 l Last Call Foodshop 45 turns ten September 2012 Word | 3

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Crossword Answers See p110 for the original puzzle. Pluzzle by Frank A. Longo Edited by Will Shortz

4 | Word September 2012

© Tất cả hình ảnh và nội dung trong Ấn phẩm này thuộc bản quyền của Ấn phẩm Word (Ho Chi Minh city và HaNoi) 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 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: Lê Huy Hòa 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: Chi Nhánh Công Ty CP TM–DV– QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh 54/26 Nguyễn Cư Trinh, P.PNL, Q. 1, 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.

Giấy XNĐKKHXB của Cục XB số: 161/CXB-QLXB ngày 18/01/2012 Quyết định xuất bản số 298QĐCN/LĐ Nhà xuất bản Lao Động cấp ngày 20/08/2012 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu năm 2012.

September 2012 Word | 5

The Prelude


e need to do a food issue,” was the comment. The question was how. Last year we slummed it and overdosed on street food, recently we jazzed up and ate our way around the city on a diet of steak. Curries, burgers, Japanese cuisine. All have found their way onto the chopping board. So, how could we cover food but avoid being the same as all those other gastronomy-focused articles out there? It was then that the idea of going back to basics was brought up. “We should take it all apart and put it back together again.” So, like an amateur mechanic just discovering the joys of breaking down their first radio, we set to work on a bowl of pho.

Such is the ubiquitous nature of Vietnam’s supposed ‘national dish’, that initially talking about pho, particularly pho bo, felt like a cliché. Globally it’s the one dish that is always associated with Vietnam. But you only need to look at the pho recipe provided by Chef Mai from Matchbox to sense its complexity. Noodles, water, Oxo cube and beef it is not — no wonder winning recipes are locked away and hidden from prying eyes. But an issue just on pho and its constituent parts wasn’t enough. No matter how rich the broth, it would have been bland. So, we decided to take it back further, to ground zero, looking at farming, food production and organic produce. It’s a curious story, and while there are a myriad

of issues — there always are — it’s been through agriculture that Vietnam has managed to significantly reduce poverty and become the ‘middle income’ nation that it is today. Of course, although each issue is themed, we try to provide far more than just that which we display on our cover. So this time we’ve got a piece on the Tango Peninsular in Japan, meet the artist son of famed rebel journalist Wilfred Burchett, take a trip out to Cu Da village, have a question and answer date with Hanoi Speakers and look at narcissism. As ever, if you have any comments or suggestions, no matter how drunken or off the wall, please let us know. Simply email Hope you enjoy the read!




OOD undamentally


THIS MONTH'S COVER Photo: Aaron Joel Santos Design: DH Advertising

- Authentic Indian Cuisine Serving both North & South Indian dishes - Cozy & Ambient setting - Halal Food - Free Home Delivery - Indoor Party facilities & Outdoor catering services - For details contact Gopi 0903 266 997 Or Ms Dung 093 657 2277 Add: 47 Lo Su Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: (84 4) 3935 2400/01 Email: Fax: (84 8) 3935 2402 Website:

INBOX IN THE BEGINNING Thanks for your article on the origins of the dong (A Short History of the Dong, August 2012). But a big error. In the 1980s the currency in Vietnam was bat as in mot bat com, hai bat com, one bowl of rice, two bowls of rice, rather than dong. The other currency was silk. Dong came later. — VP 6 | Word September 2012



Great magazine. But there are a lot of places in the listings section that are now closed. You should have a look as it makes you seem lazy. — MS


48 | Word August 2012

August 2012 Word | 49


Love the art map of Hanoi (Hanoi Art Trail, August 2012). Nicely illustrated. Gives a good senses of how the scene is shaping up in this city. — JS September 2012 Word | 7

The Talk


A Slippery Slope? I

Remember the Champagne? That there is so much negativity owes much to the memory of when the good times

8 | Word September 2012

truly flowed. Anyone involved in business in Vietnam for over five years remembers it well. Champagne corks were popped and money, as the Vietnamese saying goes, came in like water. Well, it didn’t exactly. But being beasts of comparison, a species that understands what is normal by seeing what is deemed to be abnormal, it is no surprise that impending disaster can now be spotted around every bend. Doing business, surviving and brokering deals right now is simply tougher than it was before. The fundamentals have changed, as have the demands. And then there are complaints about the economy. The dong is going to lose value by the end of the year (we heard that in 2010, 2011 and 2012, too). All the FDI has dried up. Development and building projects continue to stall. Lending is at a standstill. And this is just the start of it. But look at the stats and Vietnam remains in reasonable shape. The growth in GDP so far this year is at about 4.5 percent. Retail sales are increasing by about 20 percent per month. In June the CPI dropped for the first time in 38 months — signaling deflation and the end of rising prices — and prior to that, for most of the year was almost at zero. The property market is finally getting some balance — more mid-range properties

Vietnam’s tallest tower has 1,914 steps. If you are curious as to how long it would take someone to run up those steps, or if you are interested in turning your buns into steel by doing it yourself, come to My Dinh on Sep. 30. Participants will be part of a worldwide circuit of vertical running with races in New York, Milan, Berlin, Tapei and Singapore. Both amateur and elite athletes will take to the steps of Landmark 72 in Keangam Tower to see who can make it up to the top with the fastest time, or even, just get to the top. Check out the event website at www. for more information or to register online. Entrance is VND300,000.




There’s too much negativity around. Time to get positive again t’s now four years since the credit crunch and the dramatic attempts to save the worldwide banking system. Europe, says its 700 million inhabitants, is in the throes of its worst recession since, erm, the last one. And in Asia, while the Middle Kingdom grows at a rate faster than the speed of Usain Bolt, so smaller entities such as Vietnam are grinding to a halt. Or at least they are if you believe the mood on the street. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, by all accounts July and August were a disaster. With everyone holidaying in Danang, Nha Trang or overseas, the country’s two major cities shut their doors and turned off the lights. “We had such a bad July, that we almost closed,” says one Saigon restaurateur. “[The last two months] were even quieter than last year,” agrees a Hanoi restaurant owner, rolling his eyes. An ear to the confidences of all and sundry, he then starts on a tirade about the myriad disasters that are going to beset this country by the end of the year. There’s much déjà vu in his prognosis — similar tirades were heard at the end of 2010 and 2011. Fortunately, unlike Greece, Vietnam has yet to be swallowed up by the sea.




are being developed (although, notably, the bottom end is still not being catered for) and over-inflated rents have dropped substantially.

Self-Fulfilling How well this country does is all about confidence. Confidence in business, confidence in the minds of consumers, confidence in the people calling the shots. And this is where Vietnam brings itself down. Morale. Spirit. Self-belief. It’s all not so good right now. Like a sports team that needs to be motivated to play well, so this country desperately needs that proverbial kick up the derriere. It needs to believe in itself again, believe that it is truly a place worthy of being in the first tier of nations around the world. It needs to hold an Olympics, without, of course, having to pay for the cost of it. And a Diamond Jubilee or two wouldn’t go amiss. The run-in from September to Tet is usually the busiest time of the year, the period where budgets have to be spent and everyone breathes a sigh of relief that the first half of the year is finally over. It will also be the most telling end of year cycle yet. If Vietnam can emerge relatively unscathed, then maybe there will be light at the end of the neverending tunnel.

“Just one of dem days. Baby, baby, baby don’t take it personal.” If you were a person who watched MTV in the 1990s, these lyrics possibly passed through your brain for a while. And if you were struck by the Zen-like philosophy of this R & B singer songwriter, the lyrics may continue to pass through your brain any time you find yourself having “one of dem days”. After releasing her first record at age 13, Monica became the youngest artist to have back-to-back record topping albums. Her iconic duet with Brandy in The Boy is Mine earned her triple platinum status and three Grammy nominations as well. On Sep. 7, Hanoi will host Monica for a single performance as part of Moet Hennessy’s Artistry night. Check out the Performing Arts Department at 32 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh for more details on the show and how to get tickets.



SUB ELEMENTS returns on Thursday Sep. 6 with the premiere performance of Malaysia’s Mushroom Buttons and T.K.I., supported by West Coast US producer and performer Nick Everett — Unconventional Science. Expect a bone-crunching night of contemporary bass heavy grooves, glitch hop, hip-hop, trap, dubstep and future garage, combining vintage twisted refits and originally produced tracks. This will be Takashi Aiman (T.K.I) and Jason Chee’s (Mushroom Buttons) first performance in Vietnam, with Nick Everett (Unconventional Science) — already a firm favourite on Hanoi’s burgeoning underground bass scene — kicking the party off with an eclectic mix of the best in cutting-edge tunes. Miix lounge and café will host the event at 61A Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem on Thursday Sep. 6. Doors open 9pm. Tickets are available only on the door for VND100,000.



One of Hanoi's most consistently popular events, Pecha Kucha is back after its summer break. The format is now familiar to most, but for those who've been living under a rock for the last year, speakers present using 20 slides with a strict time limit of 20 seconds per slide. Past highlights have included Lolo Zazar on his animated films, Dominic Blewett's series of religious sacrifices from around the world and Michelle Stewart's thoughts about rubbish on a beach. ‘Eclectic’ pretty much sums up the presentations on offer. Scheduled to speak in September are Dan Ruelle on Hanoi street names and UK fashion designer May Cortazzi about eco design. If you've got something you want to share then there are still spaces available for presenters. Pecha Kucha will be taking place in the Cinemateque, 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem on Thursday Sep. 27. To apply to present, contact the organisers at Entry is VND50,000 or free for students. Doors open at 6pm with the first speaker opening their jaws at 8pm.

AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE Aussie Rules, beer, pub-style banter and live sport. If it’s a combination that gets you chomping at the proverbial bit, then head down to the AFL Grand Final Party at the InterContinental (1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho) on Saturday Sep. 29. Organised by Aussie Rules team the Vietnam Swans, the event is focused around the final of the Australian Football League (AFL), which will be aired live on huge screens. With lunch, drinks, a raffle, an auction and family fun all provided as part of the entrance cost, this is a party not only for enthusiasts of that footballing sport played on a cricket pitch, but for anyone who likes a bit of fun, good food and the odd beer. For further information or to buy advance tickets, email danielhopkins. or call 01242 854117. You can also visit the Vietnam Swans website — The party kicks off at 10am.

September 2012 Word | 9

Just In

the talk





21 NORTH TH Forget the old, slightly disappointing seafarer-stylee 21 North in Yen Phu Village. The latest, recently reopened version screams potential. Now in the hands of five new owners, many with backgrounds in the F&B industry, the downstairs has been ripped out and a proper stage built for regular live music. The sound system has also been upgraded, as has the outdoor area with those to-die-for views over West Lake. Then there is the attractive, high-ceilinged upstairs space with views through the staircase onto the stage area below. All making 21 North the possible new go-to spot on the road from the Old Quarter to Tay Ho. And if the talk is anything to go by, regular live music and rotating art exhibitions will also be part of the set up. Watch this space. 21 North, 49 Lang Yen Phu, Tay Ho. An exhibition of iPad and iPhone art of George Burchett is presently running on the second floor.

R & R IS REBORN ON NGHI TAM One of Hanoi's longest running bars, The R&R Tavern, has reopened this month on Nghi Tam. Originally started in 1995 on Lo Su, the year the US economic embargo with Vietnam was finally lifted, R & R has provided an enticing mix of tasty pub fare, bar side chatter and live rock music ever since. Expect the new, updated version of this classic, American-style institution to have the same mix. And for anyone worried about what will happen to the pub quiz, by all accounts the Tuesday night event is set to continue. R&R Tavern, 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho. Go to or follow them on Twitter at @RandRTavern

AU CO LAUNCHES SECOND BOAT Now in operation since May, Au Co Cruises will be launching their second luxury Halong Bay cruise ship this month. Claiming to deliver an “exceptional cruise experience, designed to… provide guests with superlative onboard services”, the ship has 32 spacious cabins and can accommodate up to 70 passengers with cabins boasting private balconies and en-suite bathrooms. Numerous activities are available onboard and much effort has been made to provide a five-star culinary experience to complement the ambience. The Au Co specialises exclusively in threeday, two-night voyages through Halong Bay and deep into the heart of the Gulf of Tonkin. For further information call 3933 4545 or go to

I don’t know why, but when I think about champagne I think about sex. I don’t even like champagne.

SPICE Located above Tamarind, the long-running vegetarian restaurant on Ma May, Spice is the brainchild of Taiwanese restaurateur, Luka Wong. With seven restaurants under her belt both in Bangkok and Hanoi, this latest project aims to provide a different edge to the Indian cuisine presently available in the capital. Focusing more on seafood, all served up in the atmosphere of a restaurant-cum-art-gallery, the everexpanding menu is cooked up by two chefs from Calcutta. With kebabs and traditional curries also on offer, the contemporary atmosphere provides a departure from the traditional Indian-style restaurants elsewhere — comfortable lounge sofas and cushions, natural wood and sea grass furniture, together with a royal Indian safari tent. All offering diners an alternative experience in the heart of the Old Quarter. Spice, 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 0580

Please. I’m a foreigner. Don’t use long words.

BACK TO THE OLD SCHOOL Nostalgia is the order of the day at Cua Hang An Uong Mau Dich So 37. The name is a bit of an unwieldy mouthful, but the themed restaurant is worth the trip for taking customers back to Vietnam's subsidy era. The walls of this funky little spot are adorned with old bicycles, hats and other knick-knacks common in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the effect completed with a voucher payment scheme. Obviously, the food is fairly traditional, with classics such as thit kho tau written up daily on a blackboard. Of course, it's all washed down with fresh bia hoi. Mau Dich, 37 Nam Trang, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh

10 | Word September 2012

It’s the day after tomorrow. No it’s not. It’s Saturday night. He doesn’t listen, does he? McCain came down in there. Of course the water’s dirty. How’s his new job? He says he’s working with a bunch of morons. Well, that’s the UK for you. So, what are the red lights for? Are you supposed to stop at them?

NIGHT CLUB IN THE STADIUM No, it’s not a joke. The country’s national stadium now has a bar and café open to the public to add to the bowling alley already sat under the stands. Launched in mid-August, O2 Bar and Café is on the second floor of Stand B Building in My Dinh Stadium, with an entrance directly onto the main thoroughfare out front. Spacious yet with intimate furniture and a spectacular lighting and sound system — apparently it cost VND2 billion alone — O2 is not just a bar and café as its name suggests, but also a unique location for dancing, chilling, and taking in the nightly live music and dance performances. Prices are reasonable, too, with beers starting at VND60,000 a go and cocktails costing VND120,000. O2 Bar and Café, Le Duc Tho, Tu Liem, My Dien. Open daily from 8am till midnight.

So are you an antidisestablishmentarian?

THE KEBAB HOUSE This unlikely addition to Nha Tho Street could well be the first purveyor of that ubiquitous, onthe-street Turkish Vietnamese fare to put it indoors in air-conditioned comfort. The result, at least in its early stages, is a touch unique. The storefront sign in a street that tends to thrive on being understated is bigger, brasher and more in-your-face than any sported by its neighbours. Then there is the layout, the endless flights of stairs and ‘Mind Your Head’ signs, and the dining space — more the owner's front room three floors up hastily transformed into a restaurant than a restaurant in its own right. Fortunately the food is something to write to TripAdvisor about, with tasteless kebabs served in a range of breads starting at VND30,000. Bottled Heinz-style chilli sauce sits on the side instead of harissa and standard plate garnish is a slice of tomato atop a lettuce leaf. You can even get ostrich here, an interesting if slightly scary addition to a menu that includes a number of steak options and ribs. The Kebab House, 12 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6659 8598

I love this intricate maze of alleyways. It’s, erm, amazing. A five-centimetre leech up his nose… Eeeeeugh! So what’s the story with the egg. Is it really 1,000 years old? It’s as the T-shirt in Bangkok says. Instant arsehole, just add alcohol. September 2012 Word | 11

The Exhibitionist CHRISTIANE BAUMGARTNER’S WOODCUTS Woodcuts are back. The traditional medium of artistic expression is under revival in Germany and Vietnam with new media, style and content. German based graphic artist Christiane Baumgartner, internationally recognised for her large stills of woodcuts and video footage, will complete a three-month residency in Hanoi from Sep. 1 to further explore this craft. During this time she will work on her own projects at the Center for Contemporary Art as well as make connections with Vietnamese artists through meetings, talks and a lecture alongside Pham Khac Quang. The Goethe Institut will also present a representative exhibition of 50 of her woodblock pieces. The Goethe Institut, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh

CABARET NIGHT AT L’ESPACE BRAHMS CYCLE AT HANOI OPERA HOUSE This month the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra will perform the work of Johannes Brahms under the direction of German conductor Jonas Alber. This will be Alber’s third visit to Hanoi and he will work alongside Vietnamese pianist Dao Trong Tuyen as well as an orchestra comprised of some of Vietnam’s most talented musicians. The concert will be held on Sep. 13 and Sep. 14 starting at 8pm. Tickets are available at the Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem (0913 489858), or the Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh or at Tickets cost between VND100,000 and VND500,000.

Life at L’espace will be a cabaret, my friends, on Saturday Sep. 22 for one packed hour of song. All are welcome to attend the event that will consist of French, English and Vietnamese songs as well as a selection of drinks. Sounds like a chance to brush up your repertoire of trilingual tunes. Interested participants should contact Cedric Drouard at L’espace is at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. The cabaret is from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Admission is free.

the talk EUROPEAN-VIETNAMESE DANCE DAYS Europe met Vietnam in contemporary dance for the first time last year and because the two got along so pleasingly, they will be reintroduced this year. Three contemporary dance productions from Belgium, Germany and Vietnam will serve as a window into the different traditions, themes, and modes of expression in these places. The Belgian piece entitled Lamento is a solo performance that weaves the grief of losing a loved one with the pain of deception. The German contribution, Get the Revolver is another solo that illuminates the life of a woman suffering from dementia at the end of her life who slips into dream worlds that gradually take over. The young dancers of Vietnam’s National Opera and Ballet will perform Vietnam’s piece. The Dance Days are taking place on Sep. 28 and Sep. 29, with the shows starting at 8pm at the Youth Theatre Hanoi on 11 Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung. An artist talk will follow on Sep. 30 at 3pm at the Goethe Institut at 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh. Tickets are free and available from 10am on Sep. 24 at the Goethe Institut, Tel: 3734 2251.

SPICE GALLERY EXHIBITION Spice, the newly opened art gallery and Indian restaurant in the Old Quarter, is exhibiting the work of two special artists this month. Dao Anh Khanh’s lacquer on canvas pieces that explore the female form through minimalist approaches, classical and modern, are on show. And a sampling of the oeuvre of Katsu Megumi, the Japanese photojournalist who has lived in Hanoi for the last 10 years, will also be displayed. The exhibition will run until Sep. 30, with all works available for purchase. In addition, Spice Gallery is currently seeking paintings and photographic artwork for exhibition. Interested parties should email with images and enquiries. Spice Gallery is located at 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem and is open from 11am to 11.30pm. Go to for more info.

UK FILM FESTIVAL GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL The Goethe Institut is hosting the third edition of the German Film Festival this month. This year’s selection will include the current best in German film, illuminating such topics as home and identity, passion and responsibility. The screenings, all in their original German language with Vietnamese subtitles, offer audiences a diverse landscape of feeling from renowned actors and directors. Films will be screened at the National Cinema Center, 87 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh starting Sep. 6 and running until Sep. 13. The schedule for films can be found at: Tickets are free and prizes available for those who complete the online film quizzes.

12 | Word September 2012

The 2012 UK Film Festival themed London Calling is being organised by the British Council from now till Sep. 10. This is the first time such a UK film festival has been held in Vietnam’s five major cities — Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Danang and Hai Phong. Selections for the London Calling film festival include Yellow Submarine, Love Actually, The Queen, Made in Dagenham, Defense of the Realm, Sixty Six and 28 Days Later, which showcase both the traditional and the contemporary sides of London. For the full schedule of films check out htm. Tickets are free and will be distributed at British Council located at 20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho.

WIRED GREEN ELECTRONICS MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THE source of components and materials for today's growingly sophisticated electronics industry. Are they made, mined or fabricated under unethical, dangerous circumstances. Do they exploit the have nots in order to help manufacture gadgets for the haves? How does their usage affect the environment? How do they affect the consumer? Fortunately you can check the ethical and green status of your electronic purchases online with the website set up by EPEAT ( Providing a comprehensive environmental rating system, the online registry helps users identify greener computers and other electronic equipment. Put into practice in 2006, the EPEAT system was conceived and developed through the collaboration of stakeholders from the business, advocacy, government and academic arenas. Its rigorous requirements and searchable product database allow consumers to bypass marketing hype and confusing product specifications. It also allows manufactures to showcase and validate greener designs and cleaner production. A quick skim of the registry tells an interesting story. While East Asian manufacturers such as Lenovo, Samsung and Sony have the most products registered with EPEAT — over 300 in a couple of cases — the likes of Apple Inc. only have 40. But more interesting is the credence attributed to EPEAT by a range of commercial and non-commercial entities. In early July, due to their new Retina MacBooks Pro not fulfilling EPEAT recycling and user-serviceable specifications, Apple announced that they were leaving the registry. The uproar that followed has seen them undergo a complete U-Turn. All meaning that fans of the new Retina MacBook Pro will not only have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the new product, but that being green in the electronics industry requires more than just lip service.

September 2012 Word | 13

The Buzz


RED APRON WINE FAIR Time to stock up! Red Apron Fine Wines and Spirits are clearing some of their shelves during a two-day Wine Fair. First come, first served between Sep. 15 and Sep. 16 at 10 Da Tuong near the Melia Hotel. Premium wines from all over the world will be discounted by up to 50 percent. As a bonus, you can get a free one-week VIP guest pass at City Golf for any invoice above VND6 million. Red Apron stocks over 800 wines from premium producers around the world and has one the largest selections of top-end wines and collectibles in Vietnam. Check out one of their other locations on Xuan Dieu (at numbers 28 and 91), or 6, Lane 1, Au Co and 18 Yen The. The store is open p every y day y ffrom 9am to 9pm. p

A PIECE OF PROSPERITY To set itself apart from the crowd, this year Movenpick’s mooncakes have flavours as varied as Tiramisu and Pearl of Prosperity available. You can also order uniquely designed boxes to better curry favour with business partners or family members both old and new. The cakes and their acquired taste will be available until Sep. 30 with prices starting at VND688,000. To place an order call 3822 2800 ext. 6109 or email thuy.nghiem@

METISEKO Weren’t you just saying that you wanted to start wearing more farm fresh clothing? The Eco Chic Lifestyle brand of organic cotton and natural silk fashion and home ware is having a sale of up to 50 percent off selected goods. The store in the heart of the Old Quarter is open every day from 9am to 9.30pm. Visit for a peek at their collection. Metiseko, 40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem

14 | Word September 2012

Indian restaurant FoodShop 45 will ry be celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month with a range of activitiess running throughout September. Starting on lucky number date Sep. 9 — ninth of the ninth, four plus us five equals nine — the venue will host live music from 7pm to 10pm together with complimentary snackss and drinks. The third-floor lounge will also be available for anyone wishing to relax over down-tempo music and cocktails to a background of views over Truc Bach Lake The fun will continue for the rest of the month with FoodShop 45 hosting numerous specials, including welcome drinks for dine-in customers, free food vouchers and much more. Foodshop 45, No. 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3716 2959


THE YOLK OF HUMAN KINDNESS Autumn brings with it Vietnam’s coolest festival, and its attendant mooncakes. Despite being inedible to most humans, the mooncake is frightfully popular with five-star hotels. Crowne Plaza West is no exception, which is why they’ve created a seasonal box set featuring flavours such as green tea, chestnut, taro and red bean. Boxes are reassuringly well-priced, with the cheapest setting you back VND550,000, making them a great business gift. To place your order or get more information, contact The treats will be available from Friday Aug. 17 onwards.

This Old Quarter mainstay just off the lake is continuing this month with a number of deals for diners. Take for example the combo — a home-made sandwich and coffee for VND85,000 between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Then there is the two-for-one happy hour on wine by the glass and Tiger draught between 9pm and 11pm, and don’t forget the pho breakfast set. Simply pop down to Little Hanoi, 21-24 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem.

EL GAUCHO IN BANGKOK Well-known Argentinean themed steakhouse, El Gaucho, has opened its fourth branch, this time in the Thai capital. With restaurants already in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, this marks the expansion of a brand that has so far delighted carnivores living in Vietnam. So, if anyone is heading to Bangkok and wants to fill up on some premium USDA beef or prime Australian ribeye, simply make your way to Sukhumvit Soi 19, just off the main tourist drag near Asoke BTS and Sukhumvit MRT. For more information email or go to

MUI NE HALF MARATHON This month Mui Ne Beach, one of Vietnam’s top tourist destinations, will see a particularly athletic set of visitors for the half marathon on Sep. 9. Hundreds of runners from around the area and around the world are expected to lace up their trainers and tread through Phan Thiet City’s picturesque views. You can register to enter the 21km race, as well as the shorter challenges of 10km and 5km, at Entrance is VND500,000.

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the talk LUXURY MOONCAKES AT THE HILTON Hilton Hanoi Opera’s mooncake offering this year includes three VIP boxes in celebration of Tet Trung Thu, the mid-Autumn moon festival. The deluxe VIP includes a bottle of La Croix Bacalan Merlot while the gold box comes with Johnnie Walker. Top of the range is the platinum option which includes a bottle of Hennesey XO. For more information call 3933 0600. Hanoi Hilton Opera, 1 Le Thang Tong, Hoan Kiem



They say you can’t fight progress, but in reality, tradition can be much harder to shake off. That’s the way Fortuna want it to stay with their mooncakes every autumn. This year chef Alex Zheng has the responsibility to create Hanoi’s most ravishing take on the traditional treat and is using flavours like lotus seed and yam to do so. The Fortuna knows a good thing when it sees it, which is why they’re offering a range of discounts for bulk buys. If you have a lot of business partners to wish luck, longevity and wisdom to, look no further. Fortuna Hotel’s Mooncakes will be available for sale until Sep. 30 in the lobby. Email fb@ or call 3831 3333. Prices start at VND600,000 for a box set.

Located in Sam Son, a short 8km drive from Thanh Hoa City, Van Chai are offering a special winter promotion package. Costing just VND3.1 million for a threeday, two-night stay for two people, the deal includes an upgrade to an Ocean View room, breakfast, a set dinner at the resort’s Ngu Ong restaurant and a complimentary foot massage. Designed with traditional Vietnamese architecture in mind, Van Chai is nestled in a pine tree forest and sits on the edge of the East Sea with its own private beach. All making for the perfect getaway from the capital. For more information please call the Hanoi sales office on 3717 2438 or email cdm@

MUSHROOMS WITH A MISSION The Embassy of Japan has pledged VND2.5 billion to help alleviate poverty among victims of unexploded ordinance (UXO). Quang Tri province is the most heavily impacted area of Vietnam where over 7,000 people have been victimized by UXO from Vietnam’s many wars. The project, Mushrooms with a Mission (MWM) gives injured people opportunities to farm mushrooms in order to have a sustainable income. To date, 100 families of UXO survivors in the districts of Cam Lo and Trieu Phong are g growing g mushrooms with support pp from MWM.

LOVE SHACK ZERO TO HERO The 2012 Go Pro Hero Danang Triathlon is testing the resolve of practiced athletes on Sep. 29 from 6am. Aiming to promote Danang as a healthy and enjoyable city for all ages and nationalities, the event will consist of an Olympic triathlon and a Sprint triathlon (half an Olympic) combining swimming, cycling and running. There will also be shorter fun races and children’s events. The race will take place at My Khe Beach in Danang and Son Tra Peninsula, and will involve participants from both Vietnam and overseas. For info or to register, email philbozz@ or call 0903 035271


LATIN FEVER National days are usually pretty hard to tell apart. There’s always a buffet of international cuisine and a flock of ice swans whether the bash is courtesy of the Irish, British or French. But there’s no mistaking Brazilian independence day. Who else is going to celebrate with pina coladas, DJs and shaking booties? Daluva aren’t going to miss this opportunity, so they’re stretching out the party by holding a latin-themed carnival the day before the official shindig. Daluva will be celebrating on Thursday Sep. 6 at 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho from 8pm. Free entry, fancy dress optional, having fun: a must.

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The American Chamber of Commerce will be holding their 4th Annual Networking Weekend in Hoi An from Sep. 21 to Sep. 23. Offering a unique opportunity to meet some new friends and business contacts, you can also sample local nightlife at AmCham’s old town party, test your skills on two fabulous golf courses, participate in a business roundtable discussion, and more. Alternatively you can just relax by the sea or pool. Visit for further information, email thuy@ or call 3934 2790.

SUNDAY MARKET The second Sunday of every month is now home to a new market, located on the roof of the Hanoi Cooking Center. On sale will be products not widely available or hard to find in Hanoi, all made by creative, smallscale designers. Expect to find silver and ceramic jewellery, European sized men’s clothing, illustrations, Champa pottery and tasty morsels courtesy of the market’s hosts. September’s market will take place on Sunday Sep. 9 from 10am to 3pm. Hanoi Cooking Centre is at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh.

If it’s proving to be too difficult to get your weekly romantic fumble on the banks of West Lake, perhaps it’s time you moved up market. Hotel de l’Opera is now offering ‘Love Tents’ in their ground floor atrium area. Otherwise known as cabanas, only three spots are available so it may be worth booking in advance to avoid disappointment. With the package including wine and a tapas tree, lovers can choose between the gold, diamond or titanium options, which will dictate how drunk you can get your date. Prices start from VND700,000, but the experience may be priceless. Hotel de l’Opera is located at 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. For more info or to shotgun that cabana contact

GROW THE SHANGHA Hanoi’s fledgling yoga community is set to get a major boost this month with the visit of Sheri Celentano. A teacher at NYC’s renowned and respected Laughing Lotus school, Sheri is at the forefront of transforming yoga from an austere series of exercises to a hip, community-based movement. In her short time in Hanoi, she will be offering two workshops, one for teachers and advanced students (Sep. 20 to Sep. 21) and one for intermediate/beginners (Sep. 22 to Sep. 23). The cost is VND2.5 million for the whole, two-day course, with participants also being able to opt for a single day (VND1,575,000) or single class (VND735,000) Get all the info from www.zenithyogavietnam. com, or pop into 111 Xuan Dieu, Ho Tay.

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PARTY ON AT THE SUMMIT LOUNGE Every last Saturday of the month, the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi is throwing a creatively themed bash in its rooftop Summit Lounge. Starting on Sep. 29, the five-star venue will turn out its lights for the capital's first all-out Blackout Party. Get ready to glow in 90 percent black lights with an all-white dress code, multicoloured neon highlighters and UV face paints. This will be followed on Oct. 27 with a Zombie Fancy Dress Halloween Party. 20 floors above the city, partygoers will compete for best costume, drink up with buy-10get-2 special Halloween shots, and watch screenings of classic horror movies. Also on the agenda are Magnifique Tuesdays. Wine lovers can explore France's wine-making tradition with a 50 percent discount on displayed French wines. And on Thursdays, The Summit Lounge is inviting the ladies to MissBehave — an evening of mid-week relaxation and music, when women can enjoy two free shots with each culinary cocktail ordered. Visit the hotel's Facebook page or email for more details on events. Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh


Canine Outrage O kay, cards on the table, I’ve never eaten dog and I have no desire to. I’m also not a huge fan of foreigners doing the dogeating thing. As a general rule, any eating experience you feel compelled to post on YouTube should be avoided. Like that oh-so-tired snake heart and blood thing, don’t do it simply because it’s an offshoot of that whole “make you strong” bollocks. It’s food that’s valued for its medicinal and luck properties rather than its taste or ability to fill your belly — just like Vietnam’s sickening trade in more endangered animals. It’s the sort of thing that if the media avoided it, it’d probably die a death. Young Vietnamese aren’t up for it and without the oxygen of shock horror western headlines, it’d soon disappear altogether.

Growing Pains But oh how dog eating stories sell. The recent agency article entitled Dog Meat Delicacy to Pampered Pooch that went three times round the world is a rather odd affair. Full of lines like: “... a growing love of the four-legged friends means that one man’s pet can be another’s dog sausage — quite literally as far as dog bandits are concerned.” “Growing ranks of thieves go from small town to small town in rural areas of Vietnam

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stealing pets to sell to dog meat restaurants.” What escaped most readers of this article is that the word ‘growing’ is an adjective you use when you don’t have facts to back up a hunch. Then the following quote is used in response to an event when one dog-napper is reportedly beaten to death: “It’s not right to beat a man to death, but anyone in this situation would do the same.” The line is taken from an anonymous reader, pulled from the comments box of an online paper — always a good cross-section of intelligent debate. The article also states: “Those dogs that end up on the dinner table are traditionally beaten to death.” I could write, “traditionally Brits put a leech down their undies as a cure for anything that ails them,” but it doesn’t mean we still do.

Assumptions It’s also full of sweeping statements such as exotic pet dogs are kept in the city while those in the countryside only see them as guard dogs and meat. Oh those nha que cousins, they’re like the Uber-Asians, even weirder still. Freaks. Quotes from animal charities: none. Quotes from lawmakers: none. The number of times this story appears on a Google search: gazillions.


Here’s the thing. Eating animals isn’t very nice and I say that as a major carnivore. I am a hypocrite. I like my meat processed and without any reminders of its former animal shape. But frankly, if you started keeping a cow as a pet and took it for daily walks you’d soon go off actually eating one. Killing dogs is horrible, but then you could say the same of chickens, pigs and sheep. The whole battery hen thing isn’t very nice either. And like I said, I’ve never eaten dog. I’ve never been requested by Vietnamese friends to go and eat dog. I have Vietnamese in-laws and, no, they don’t slope off for a quick bowl of Fido when my back is turned. Daily I read backpacker blogs and tweets where they excitedly voice fears that they may have accidentally eaten dog — as if Hanoians will sneak a slice of German Shepherd into your banh mi as soon as your back is turned. Here’s something. I kept fish as a kid and yet loved fish and chips as a Friday night treat. Look at me, I’m a freak. Where’s my article? Dogs are being snatched and that really, really sucks. But this is Vietnam and sadly people, mostly women and children, are still being snatched, bought, sold, used and abused. Tragically their plight doesn’t command the same widespread headlines. Is it just me or is the world getting too small for these “aren’t foreigners weird” articles?

Zenith Yoga are rejuvenating the yogi world by organising a Mai Chau yoga retreat. Over the weekend of Sep. 7 to Sep. 9, attendees will enjoy group yoga classes, meditation sessions and cycling tours in the fresh, green surroundings of Mai Chau. Accommodation is around VND5,400,000 for double rooms for two nights, with full board meals and access to the swimming pool and steam sauna. Zenith Yoga is at 111 Xuan Dieu, Ho Tay. For or more info see www.zenithyogav vietnam

GREEN MANGO BAY This eco resort is further proof that being green is not synonymous with camping. Visitors to Mango Bay on Phu Quoc Island get luxury treatment while staying in one of the 40 rooms and bungalows constructed out of natural materials on the island that spread across 20 hectares of indigenous forest. Owners have built the resort on founding principles of the conservation of energy, water, and land as well as community. On top of the sustainability foundation are outdoor bathrooms, essential oils, and beachfront beverages and barbeque. An end of summer discount puts the cherry on top with half price booking deals and ‘stay three nights, pay for two’ until September 30. Now! Go! Visit, call 0903 382207 or email for reservations.

In the Papers

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VIETNAM INTERNET USERS ON A HIGH Vietnam now takes 18th place in the world’s top 20 countries using the internet, with over 30 percent of its population surfing the worldwide web. According to the Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre (VNNIC), by the end of June, the number of internet users reached 31 million (35.40 percent of the population), of which 4.3 million are landline broadband subscribers. The ranking maintains the country's eighth place position in Asia and third place position in ASEAN, according to the VNNIC — which is affiliated with the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC). Binh said good pricing policies, especially those applied to 3G (third generation network) wireless access, will further increase the number of internet users.

The foundation of a Cham temple tower dating back to the 10th century has been unearthed at a 500sqm site in Phong Le Village, Cam Le District, Danang. Excavation work has begun. Vo Van Thang, director of the Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture, said the museum’s experts together with archaeologists from Hanoi are working on the relic site. The site covers an area of 256sqm, consisting of four corners of the tower, three side doors and one main gate. Director Thang said that apart from the vestiges of the foundation, no other artifact has been found so far.


VIETNAM NO. 1 IN COFFEE Vietnam has surpassed Brazil to become the world’s largest coffee exporter, according to statistics recently released by the International Coffee Organization (ICO). The country shipped a total of 14.325 million bags (1 bag = 60 kg) of coffee in the first six months of this year, 13.63 percent higher than the export turnover of Brazil, the ICO said in its June report on the world coffee exporting market. Vietnam’s coffee export turnover in June dropped by 23.15 percent month on month to 2.07 million bags, but the country remained the top exporter for the fifth consecutive month. Honduras made an unexpected increase as it outgrew other strong rivals such as Indonesia, Colombia and India to take third place.

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Hanoi has been rated as the cheapest destination for travellers this summer, according to travel website TripAdvisor. Assessing the expense of visiting the Vietnamese capital between Jun. 1 and Aug. 31, the criteria for the ranking (TripIndex) is based on the combined costs for two people touring and staying one night at a four-star hotel, cocktails at a five-star hotel, a twocourse dinner with a bottle of wine, and a two-mile long taxi fare. The cost of such extravagances in Hanoi were calculated to be US$141.12 (VND2.96 million). Asia has six cities among the top ten cheapest localities while European cities are the most expensive, with London firmly routed at number one at US$518.01 (VND10.88 million). The cheapest four-star hotel room in the survey goes to Bangkok at US$81 (VND1.68 million) per night, while the most expensive can be found in London at US$362 (VND7.6 million) per night. The top five cheapest cities: — Hanoi, Vietnam — Beijing, China — Bangkok, Thailand — Budapest, Hungary — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The top five most expensive cities: — London, UK — Oslo, Norway — Zurich, Switzerland — Paris, France — Stockholm, Sweden

MOTORBIKE EMISSIONS CONTROL Emission controls will be carried out every year starting mid-2013 for all motorbikes, except those that have been used for less than three years. The Vietnam Register is preparing a plan to put motorbike exhaust emissions under control in a move intended to ease pollution, said Trinh Ngoc Giao, head of the agency. The agency is planning to assign companies that are manufacturing and assembling motorbikes in Vietnam, such as Honda, Suzuki, Piaggio and Yamaha, to set up exhaust control centres since they already have equipment and technicians at their warranty centres. They will also repair vehicles that fail to meet emission standards. When the emissions control plan is applied, the owners of motorbikes meeting emissions standards will be granted a stamp as confirmation of exhaust quality, and motorbikes that do not meet the standards must be repaired in order to become qualified. Users of motorbikes without an emission control stamp will be fined by traffic police.

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



SAT 01


LONDON CALLING - UK FILM FESTIVAL. Visit for the schedule




CORRIDOR CRACKS Until Sep. 6 at Ete Bar

17 DRAGONS IN THE CLOUDS From Sep. 6 to Oct. 9 at L’espace

24 HAPPY HOUR Buy one get one free drink & complimentary snacks. 5pm to 11pm every day at Lakeside Bar NOMIHODAI 4pm to 8pm from Mon. to Thu. at Hot Rock Bar

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06 SUB ELEMENTS BASS NIGHT 9pm at Miix Lounge, 61A Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem DALUVA LATIN CARNIVAL 8pm at Daluva, To Ngoc Van LIVE PIANIST @ Panacea Cafe, 8.30pm every Thu.



ARGENTINE TANGO CLASS 8pm to 10pm every Tue. at Quang Trung Secondary School GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL. From Sep. 6 to 13 at the National Cinema Center. Visit htm for info

THE WORLD OF INTERIOR TOYS Until Sep. 9 at The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam

GAMES ON TUESDAYS. 6.30pm every Tue. at Hanoi Ois Netball Club TOASTMASTERS 6.30pm to 8.30pm every Tue. @ KOTO on Van Mieu


DUO PIANO – FLUTE 8pm at L’espace


SPEED TRAINING WITH RRR 8pm every Wed. at Sedona Suites Hanoi



THE HI-JINKS LIVE 8.30pm every Tue. at Don’s Oyster Bar


SPICE GALLERY EXHIBITION Until 30. Go to www. for more info

WOMEN’S GAELIC FOOTBALL TRAINING @ Dang Thai Mai football field every Tuesday ULTIMATE FRISBEE PICKUP 8pm to 10pm every Tue. at Van Phuc Sports Center

WOODCUTS IN THE DIGITAL AGE From Sep. 8 to Sep. 30 at Goethe-Institut Hanoi


SALSA PARTY 8pm every Wed. at Flow Bar

SPOTLIGHT! @ Hanoi Rock City, 8pm every Thu.


TRIO PANOSSIAN 8pm at L’espace

LIVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC @ Z Coffee Bar. 8.30pm every Wed. FREE VIETNAMESE CLASSES @ Puku every Wednesday, 7pm LIVE ROCK MUSIC @ Polygon Musik Cafe. 9pm every Wed.

LIVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC @ Z Coffee Bar. 8.30pm every Fri.


YOGA WORKSHOPS From Sep. 20 to Sep. 23. Visit www.zenithyogavietnam. com for info

DEUTSCHE DINING From Sep. 17 to Sep. 23 at the Press Club Hanoi HANOI PUB QUIZ @ R&R Tavern every Tuesday, 9.30pm to 11.30pm

JOHANNES BRAHMS CONCERT 8pm Sep. 13 & 14 at Hanoi Opera House. Visit for tickets

PECHA KUCHA 6pm at Cinemateque. Emai for info

GOLDEN BELL SHOW 8pm to 9pm at Golden Bell Theatre

MASSIVE POSITIVE MEET UP FOR ALL 6pm to 8pm every Sun. at Hoan Kiem Lake


EMEL MATHLOUTHI. 8pm at L’Espace

SUNDAY MARKET 10am to 3pm every second Sun. of each month LIVE PIANIST @ Panacea Cafe, 8.30pm every Sat.


RED APRON WINE FAIR 9am to 9pm Sep. 15 & Sep. 16 at 10 Da Tuong

BABYLON BURNING @ Panacea Cafe, 2pm every Sun.

KID’S COOKING CLASS 3.30pm at Hanoi Cooking Centre

BECOMING A MAN Until Nov. 11 at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

SATURDAY WEEKEND MARKET @ Asian Veterinary & Livestock Services, 9.30am to 12.30pm every Sat. & Sun.

CHILLOUT ACOUSTIC SUNDAYS. 12pm to 3.30pm every Sun. at Hot Rock Bar



CABARET NIGHT 8.30pm to 9.30pm at L’espace


BLV'S VIETNAMESE CLUB 2pm to 4pm every Sat. @ Star Office, 53 Quang Trung



LET THE MUSIC TAKE OVER CONTROL! @ Summit Lounge, 9pm every Fri.


MAI CHAU YOGA RETREAT From Sep. 7 to Sep. 9. Visit www.zenithyogavietnam. com for info

FRIDAY MILONGA - ARGENTINE TANGO @ Xichlo Cafe, 8pm every Fri.



MUI NE HALF MARATHON. Visit www. for info


KINDERCOOK – KID’S COOKING CLASS 4pm every Fri at Pegasus International UniCentre

PIKNIC ELECTRONIK @ Keangnam Landmark Garden, 4pm to 10pm every Sun.


MOET HENNESSY’S ARTISTRY NIGHT WITH MONICA. Check out the Performing Arts Department at 32 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh for details and tickets



INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND CRAB FEST for VND500,000 per person. From Sep. 1 to Sep. 4 at Don’s Tay Ho

DJ NIGHT @ Summit Lounge, 9pm every Fri. & Sat.


HUMP DAY 6pm every Wed. at Daluva

NIGHTS OF ACOUSTIC @ bar & Lounge, 8.30pm from Tue. to Sat.


NOW WHAT 9pm at Hanoi Rock City



THE 2012 GO PRO HERO DANANG TRIATHLON 6am. Email for info

THE DANCE DAYS. 8pm Sep. 28 & Sep. 29 at the Youth Theatre Hanoi

AFL GRAND FINAL PARTY 10am at the InterContinental. Visit www. for info


BLACKOUT PARTY at the Summit Lounge. Email for info

AMCHAM’S 4TH ANNUAL NETWORKING WEEKEND From Sep. 21 to Sep. 23 in Hoi An. Visit for info SHISHA & SANGRIA WEEKENDS @ The Oyster Bar, Don’s Tay Ho THE AFTER PARTY 10.30pm to 2am every Sun. at Hot Rock Bar

30 LANDMARK 72 RUN Visit www. landmark72run. com for more info

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YALUMBA WINE EVENING @ PRESS CLUB Organised by Warehouse, The Yalumba wine tasting and wine dinner at The Press Club brought the joie de vivre out in everyone.





The Summit Lounge opened its doors to avatars of all kind for a night of revelry and mild aggression.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Lauri Olavi Laakso spoke over the sipping of Green Drinks at Joma about the potential of environmental innovations in our future.


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FORTUNA FAVOURS… The thought of crafting the perfect mooncake this season drew a crowd to Fortuna Hotel, all attempting to be crowned legendary mooncake masters


FULLY BOOKED Book Festival Day, hosted by the Circle of Friends, brought together volunteers and children to get psyched for the new school year with reading and writing games as well as donating 450 books to the students’ library in Ba Vi


CATWALK The Carlo Rino fashion show boasted new, bright fall colours, pleats and vintage-looking bags

CAMA’s Ballroom Blitz had a freaking awesome line up from start to finish with One Black Eye, Tri Minh, VN Tribes and Rodion. Were you there? The guy in the dodgy suit was

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The Toastmasters Hanoi Speakers is a Toastmasters International group that improves members’ communication, leadership and public speaking skills. Rose Arnold talked to Ann Moloney and Ha Van Phan. Photos by Francis Roux What happens at a Hanoi Speakers meeting? Phan: There are two main parts, the first part is impromptu speaking — members give a two-minute speech without any preparation. The second part is the core part. A member will give a prepared speech about whatever they like. Each time you do a speech it is supposed to focus on a specific public speaking skill, body language, voice projection, inspirational speaking or organising your speech. All the key parts of giving a speech. Every speech is evaluated so you get feedback. Ann: There are about 20 people at every meeting. It’s a mixed culture club so we have half Vietnamese and half internationals. With new members and guests we make sure they get to stand up and introduce themselves early on. As soon as people stand up there it breaks the fear. But, if there’s time, almost everyone does do a speech of some kind. It’s amazing how people feel that they can’t do it and then realise that they can. We’re very kind to newcomers. What makes a good speech or speaker? Ann: Pausing. Learning to stop, holding the space for a while. That’s a really useful thing to do because it gives the audience a chance to think, to absorb. It also gives a sense of presence. Speaking slowly helps. Body language and timing are good things that can be learnt. Make eye contact with your audience, engage them. Keep it simple, think what your main points are. Sincerity and belief in what you’re saying. That will show in your body. Being prepared. Phan: We seem to find our own styles. Like for me I have a soft voice, I cannot speak so loud or project my voice like some people can. I try to find a way of speech and delivery method that suits my voice. So I’ve learnt to use that, to speak to the audience like we’re having a personal conversation. For others they have a big loud voice, they can motivate people in other ways. The important thing is to make it work and fit you. How important is body language and posture? Ann: Very. People judge you on your body language and on your voice, far quicker than on your words. So we spend quite a lot of

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time learning how to use our voice and our bodies to get our message across. If you’re able to relax it does help, the audience relaxes, it comes across. Phan: The most important thing is just the chance to practice lots. It can be really good to watch people apply what they’ve learnt, to see an audience pay attention because of the body language and how they speak.

LOUD AND PROUD The Hanoi Speakers club meets the first and third Tuesday of each month (the next meetings are Sep. 4 and Sep. 18) from 6.45pm until 9pm. The present venue is Koto, 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Entrance is VND50,000 per meeting for attendees. A membership fee applies if guests choose to join. For more information check out

Why are people afraid of public speaking and how can they get over it? Ann: It’s quite a basic human fear. Fear of public speaking is one of the three top fears ever in life. I was the same, I worried that people would think I was stupid, or they’d judge me. Those are the thoughts that are going round your head, but it’s not real, it can’t hurt you, and people are on your side. Even experienced speakers sometimes feel nervous, but it doesn’t matter, you can do it anyway. Don’t worry about nervousness, take your focus off of it. Being present, enjoying yourself, remembering that you have lots of practice behind you. Which is why it is so good to get practice! People come to get over that block, that fear, of not knowing what to say next. Saying “um”, freezing on the spot. We help people to get over it. Phan: I was scared of being a failure and of being laughed at by people. You feel like you’re a target, with so many people looking at you. So afraid that you’ll spoil things. I think everyone has that feeling. Time stretches. For me nervousness for each person is like a fingerprint. Each person has a different tip, they’ll do a different thing. For me when I’m nervous it helps to take a deep breath, focus on breathing. There are a lot of tips that you get in the Toastmasters manual if you sign up, different ideas that you can try. Why should people attend or join. What will they get from it? Phan: There’s lots of positivity in the club, in everything we do. I have learnt a lot from all the people working at the club. There are lots of different cultures, people are really professional. You learn about being professional, about working habits. I’ve also been given the chance to do lots of different roles being a member of Toastmasters. I have been learning bookkeeping, not something I’m naturally good at. Ann: It doesn’t just help you to stand up in front of a crowd, there’s more to it than that. It is about communication skills but also confidence, which extends to many parts of life. The impromptu speaking is such a handy skill, if you ever get caught in a situation, you’ve had practice of coming up with answers on the spot. It really helps your ability to influence people, to be able to think on your feet. Hanoi Speakers awakens you to the possibility that you can do different things, you take that into every area of your life.

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The Born Again Hanoian Words by Nick Ross. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos


was born here,” says artist George Burchett, his arms making a sweeping movement over the expanse of Truc Bach Lake. It’s the type of comment you often hear in Hanoi sat over a bia hoi or a coffee on the banks of West Lake. We’re drinking bia hoi. “No, really,” he continues in his impossible-to-place continental European accent. “It was one year after Dien Bien Phu. My father was Wilfred Burchett. You know, the first journalist into Hiroshima after the bomb.” Quickly I’m regretting my failure to pay more attention to the history of journalism. I do a Google search on my smartphone for Wilfred Burchett. I'm lost for words. Known for his often provocative but accurate reporting of the wars in Korea and Vietnam together with his Communist sympathies, Australian-born Wilfred Burchett was a close friend of Ho Chi Minh. A controversial figure, his reporting was to become some of the most important emanating out of the Cold War. Providing a counter-balance to the often onedimensional journalism of the west, showing ‘the other side’ also meant vilification. It came to a head in 1969 when, accused of working for the KGB, the ‘rebel journalist’ was refused entry to Australia to attend his father’s funeral. Few, though, will deny his greatest legacy, The Atomic Plague, the work published in UK newspaper The Express that brought Burchett to fame. Arriving alone in Hiroshima just 30 days after America had dropped the bomb, he found himself in the midst of utter devastation. Almost 70 years on, his assessment of the atomic bomb is still chilling: I write these facts as dispassionately as I can

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in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world. In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war. It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden. The damage is far greater than photographs can show.

Behind the Curtain It’s a few days later and now we’re drinking Halida in another local joint, this time in Yen Phu village. At two years old, the young George Burchett left Hanoi with his Bulgarian mother and the family moved to Moscow, where he stayed for eight years. In 1965 they settled in Phnom Penh and then in 1969, Paris. It was an upbringing that was to make the young George feel like he was living “a fairy tale”. “When I was growing up, [my father] was defending Vietnam,” he recalls. “He was always going off with the Viet Cong. So, to me, Vietnam were the heroes and the other guys were the bad guys.” With Burchett senior’s Australian passport mysteriously disappearing in 1955, the family found themselves travelling with papers issued by North Vietnam. It was a period that even while living in the Soviet Union, the young George felt was “defined by Vietnam”. “I loved the Soviet Union,” he says. “I loved the whole idea of it, the history, the October Revolution, Lenin. And I remember all the propaganda posters — peace and prosperity for the whole world. It was the idea that an idyllic world was possible. Of course the Vietnam narrative fitted into it.” By the time the family moved to Cambodia, the anti-war movement was starting to take shape. With his role in reporting ‘from the other side’, Burchett

senior became an influential figure. George remembers all sorts of people “coming to see [his] dad trying to get to Hanoi.” He adds: “As far as I was concerned, we were on the right side of history… It was like being in Star Wars, fighting for the rebellion against the empire. We used to call the Viet Cong 'the uncles from the jungle'.”

Colour George finally returned to Hanoi in 2011 to organise an exhibition for his father’s centenary at the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Comprising a collection of Wilfred Burchett’s photos, documents and filmed footage, together with the show, The Gioi Publishers released the bilingual book, Wilfred Burchett at 100 and Ho Chi Minh. Included in the work is a reprint of Burchett's little known 1972 biography, Ho Chi Minh: An Appreciation. The time spent back in Hanoi and putting together the show was an experience that made George feel like he had come home. “Suddenly I was back with the heroes”. “I grew up with ideas of black and white, good versus bad,” he explains. “Now, black and white has shifted into colour and I’ve become addicted to the colours, flavours and textures of Vietnam. I was two years old when I left, so I have no memories. But there’s something about the yellow everywhere you look that I just love, and can’t get enough of.” Now settled here with his wife and son, it’s a renaissance, a reawakening that is helping George relive the fairy tale of his youth. “For me [living in Hanoi is like] reconnecting with a heroic, three musketeer narrative from being a kid. It’s just much more complex now. But it touches bits of you that in a western society are dormant.”

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The Village that Makes Mien Within Hanoi’s new city limits, but a good 30km south of what most residents would consider ‘Hanoi’, is the ancient village of Cu Da. 1,000 years old, these days the village is renowned for the thin, jumbled strips of mien (glass noodles) that adorn its old alleyways. Douglas Pyper sets out to untangle the town’s vast history. Photos by Aaron Joel Santos


itting on the once picturesque banks of the Nhue River, location and proximity to Hanoi has given Cu Da an illustrious past. From its inception, around the same time as the founding of Hanoi, the town has been associated with great wealth. During Vietnam’s dynastic period, it became connected to the highest levels of Vietnam’s imperial courts. Later on it was home to some of colonial Vietnam’s richest traders — in the 1920s and 1930s the town boasted around 50 French villas. It was also the first town in the north of Vietnam to introduce house numbers, something still rare in 2012. Today’s Cu Da is less celebrated. The winding river that so faithfully served the village for over 900 years is now a dead expanse of black water carrying empty my tom packets downstream. Until a few years ago, the street cleaners would trundle their overloaded carts to the riverbanks and pour the contents over the side, kicking the refuse down into the water. Thankfully this practice has ceased and the rubbish is being taken somewhere less visible. The water, however, remains polluted by chemicals and waste from nearby Hanoi. Walking around the ancient town’s narrow cobbled alleys, peeling French villas, old houses and plethora of archways, you’ll spot Cu Da’s most famous foodstuff — mien — in the most unexpected places: propped up against walls in sheets, hanging off of wooden beams like strips of Rapunzel’s famous locks and even draped over tombstones. It’s said that 50 percent of the village’s residents are employed in the mien industry. Most of the family-run businesses making mien in their backyard use the same homemade machines to produce the sheets. Resembling a cross between a primitive printing press and an industrial ironing machine, they are a mass of bubbling vats and roughly connected tubes, each steaming and dripping their way around the steam-punk apparatus. The finished product is a sticky sheet of mien about 1m by 0.3m, which is rolled directly onto bamboo trays to be taken away and dried around town. The town’s second most famous product is tuong sauce. Wandering into the garden of an old house by the river, visitors are surrounded by large open clay pots and met by friendly staff. Peering inside the pots, unready sauce can be seen bubbling away as it naturally ferments. This family operation produces an

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astonishing 450 litres of the brown, shrimppaste-like sauce, with a 500ml bottle selling for just VND7,000.

All of which would have stood in the way of development, progress and most importantly, bigger houses.

Onwards and Upwards

Timeless Melody

Moving back from the village’s ancient core by the riverfront, the area is a building site of grand new houses, each featuring a minimum of three floors, turrets, a myriad of balconies and large, paved outdoor areas. The newfound wealth that is boosting this isn’t coming from tuong or mien but from compensation. A real estate company has started buying up all the farmland behind the village, apparently to build a host of new high-rise apartments. Quite why anyone would want to move into a high-rise apartment in an ancient village now polluted beyond repair and 30km away from Hanoi is a mystery. The villagers don’t mind, though. To swap a couple of patches of rice paddy for a brand spanking new mega-house is a no brainer in a land and property-mad economy. The families who own these new structures no longer work and what they will do in the future is unclear. One resident claims that the village was offered heritage status, but the residents rejected the offer. If they had accepted, there would have been a raft of restrictions on what could be done with land and property in order to protect the village’s ancient structures and traditions.

These industries, paper housing projects and opulent houses characterise the Cu Da of today, while Cu Da Pagoda represents its origins. Stepping inside the temple compound is like stepping into a large lazy bubble, untouched by the sounds of the outside world. The rhythmic tap-tap-tap of some kind of wooden beater sets the rhythm of the space — floating on top is the sound of an electronic clock chiming out digitised, Big Ben bells. One of the head monks is just back from a study trip to Ho Chi Minh City. He greets us as another clock chimes — less digital, less Big Ben. He refuses to make eye contact with anyone, staring at the floor, the roof, or the walls. His eyes lethargically roam like a medicated lion in a cage. He points at the bench and we know it’s time for us to be seated. As he silently pours out tea, we look awkwardly around. One of our group is particularly anxious not to disrespect him, she hurries and bows, puts her hands together and hisses at us when his back is turned to do the same. The monk points at the tea and we know that we should drink. I ask about this temple, so full of chiming clocks and the sound of wooden beaters. The translator warily translates in a voice

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so soft I feel it can’t possibly penetrate the vibration of beats in the heavy air. Staring at the ground, the monk hears the question, slowly rolls his eyes to the ceiling, and begins to explain: According to legend, the temple was built during the Dinh dynasty around 1,000 years ago. It is said that a prominent official in the dynasty had it constructed in order to attract villagers from Ninh Binh to his new settlement. He became the chief of the village, the founder of the temple and the ancestor of the whole village. Originally, there were three powerful families in the village, all related to the king — Vu, Trinh and Dinh. At that time the Vu family, sometimes called Vo, was the biggest family in Vietnam, long before the rise of the Nguyen. There are still many altars, temples and pagodas around the village dedicated to the ancestors of these three great families. Every couple of minutes the sound of the monk clearing his nose or throat, either inwardly or outwardly, cuts through the thick, awkward air. The rhythm has changed. The wooden beater has been replaced by faint cicadas and the sound of bells has become chanting monks from a CD, or perhaps a cassette. Apart from the common intertwining of Buddhism and Confucian ancestor worship, there are also many other places for worshiping gods in the village. These rituals were brought back from the king’s

court hundreds of years ago by officials living in Cu Da. There are altars for wishing for good weather, another for good farming, another for longevity. In Cu Da Pagoda there is one such altar to give thanks to the gods for all their help and good favour during the year, and to ask for it to continue, an annual ritual that continues to take place. While a mixture of Confucian ancestor worship and Buddhism is the norm in Vietnam, adding Pagan superstitions is not. Addressing this mien-like mesh causes the monk to shows his first signs of humility and humour as his stoic face cracks into a natural laugh. “The rituals [that the people] do to thank the gods are mostly about superstitions,” he smiles. “It’s not about Buddhism or Confucianism. They believe the earth is the god of everything and the father of kings, that’s why people need to thank the gods and the earth.” After this unexpected openness his frown returns and his face is impassive again. When asked about a few ancient sites around town he stares at the floor to his right, points high to the wall on his left, and mumbles a few words. Our devout member is whispering earnestly. “The monk wants to go for lunch,” she says. “Please stop now.” Standing up, the monk hands everyone a book.

“Go home and read this,” he tells us. It turns out to be a book of chants that can be used to show gratitude towards parents. Topical.

Moving to a Different Beat Sitting prettily on the old road that follows the river is a French villa with a small rigidly rectangular balcony jutting out above the doorway. 100 years ago it would have commanded views of the river. Now there is a squat cement construction between it and the water. It was a club for French officers, officials and traders to use. Inside is sparsely furnished and airy. Plain tiles on the floor keep it cool, the original, cracked wooden floorboards of the second floor are visible above our heads. The disharmony of Vina-House blasts out of a TV and sets the tone of the constant to and fro of people moving through the downstairs living room. The house is full of visitors for the 49-day post-death ceremony of its owner. The wife of the deceased bought the house sometime after 1945. Now 84 years old, she’s probably about 1.53m standing straight and in her bent repose is about the height of a door handle. She sits on a sidetable rather than a seat, her silver hair held back by a purple strip of material. After she bought the house, five other people appeared claiming to own it, all the brothers of the man she bought it from.

They came from Hanoi and Hai Phong to try and take the prized property back. Over the years, the family had to pay off all five brothers to keep their home. The music from the TV has changed to a farcical piano ditty. Her five children all live elsewhere, so technically she’s the only one who lives there, which seems odd considering there are around 20 people doing domestic activities today: washing dishes, going upstairs for a lie down or a change of clothes, sitting down for a cup of tea, or noisily watching TV. The sound is now a stream of adverts, all of which include a monotonous 4/4 bass beat behind a haberdashery of chatter and sound effects. A mass of dusty products is piled up in a corner: sachets of shampoo, dusters, the left over contents of the old woman’s shop. Finally, someone has silenced the TV and we can all relax a little more. The sound of feet scuffing on tiles, water washing dishes and soft chatter fill the void. Everyone here is Trinh family, direct descendants of one of the village’s three great families. The eldest son, who has been head of the family for 49 days, is proud of the house. “I want to repair it and renovate it, but keep the structure,” he explains. “The house is beautiful and there aren’t many old houses like this. It’s unique.” He could equally have been talking about the whole village.

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THE VILLAGE Once a collection of lotus seed farms, in less than 20 years To Ngoc Van has transformed itself from rural poverty to one of the most desirable areas in the city. Yet it’s not all wealth and Bentley Continentals. Ali Waugh spends 24 hours in this endearing Tay Ho suburb. Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc

It’s early, and pyjamas and polyester are de rigueur in To Ngoc Van. The first of the regular Vietnamese exercisers hits the street, churning the air with his arms like a windmill as he takes his early morning constitutional. The next guy moves along at a breakneck pace, wildly slapping his face with his hands. His technique might not rate a mention in any conventional fitness handbooks, but it is popular. Others follow suit. Further down the road, an elderly man clings to the bottom of a street sign that has become his makeshift gym.

6.30am It’s not long before the arrival of the nguoi ban hang rong, the people who hawk their wares on the side of the road. On the pavement outside number 7, a nutritious breakfast of xoi lac, sticky rice with peanuts, will only set you back VND5,000. It's served from a round cane basket and comes wrapped in banana leaves. The condiments include sesame seeds and fluffy pieces of pork.

7am The exercisers begin to thin out, remaining

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are every man and his exotic breed of dog. For the uninitiated, this street is the ‘Mayfair’ of Hanoi’s real estate market, home to the rich — high-income foreign families and the Vietnamese expensively landed gentry. Purebred dachshunds, cocker spaniels, shih tzus and even the occasional chow chow lead their wealthy western and Vietnamese owners along the sidewalks. In To Ngoc Van, dogs help break down barriers between locals and foreigners, as owners stop to talk and encourage their pooches to socialise.

7.30am Peak hour begins with the emergence of school children in navy pants, white shirts and red neckties, wobbling along the road on bicycles. Then comes the wave of NGO professionals in their polished four-wheel drive vehicles, closely followed by fabulously rich Vietnamese business and property tycoons in their chauffeur-driven Bentleys.

11am After peak hour there’s a lull of activity until 11am, when the two sisters My and Sau, who sell bun dau, set up their open air cafe outside number 15. On rain free

days they enjoy a roaring trade. They deep fry the tofu and serve it with bun noodles, herbs and a delicious sauce made from nuoc mam, lime juice, vinegar and a dash of soy sauce. The women arrived in Hanoi nearly 20 years ago from Hung Yen Province. Their parents couldn't afford to educate them, so they had little choice but to move to the capital. Despite living in Hanoi for almost two decades, both sisters regularly fall victim to bouts of homesickness. The money, however, keeps them here for 51 weeks of the year — with just one week in their hometown during the annual Tet holiday. My says her clientele in To Ngoc Van, while largely Vietnamese, also includes many foreigners. She attributes their success to their egalitarian sales policy. “We charge the same price to all customers, VND10,000 per meal, no matter what country [they] come from.”

Noon Streetscapes in Hanoi change with the passing of each hour, and this is never more noticeable than just before midday, when foreign residents emerge for lunch and a spot of retail and beauty therapy. The clothing shops selling local and

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imported brands buzz with customers, who drift from one end of the street to the other. At Joma, an American-owned bakery and cafe, women with young children head for the play equipment stationed upstairs on the first floor, while those seeking a more tranquil atmosphere commandeer the comfortable seats downstairs, fire-up their iPads and enjoy the free WiFi. Meanwhile the four beauticians in the street are busy waxing, massaging and buffing their clients for a fraction of the price charged in the west. Mariko Iwazaki, who lives and works in the area, rarely shops anywhere outside of To Ngoc Van. She elaborates on her reasons for staying close to home. “In the Old Quarter I feel totally unsafe. The traffic is crazy, and I always clutch my handbag closely because I have heard so many stories of pickpockets. I prefer to buy my food, necessities and clothes in To Ngoc Van where you can actually walk on the pavement and cross the road without fearing for your life. I also think the products on sale in this area are of higher quality. The shops depend on the expat market, not tourists, so they must offer a higher level of service if they want return business. Most of the sales staff in the area speak English, and some even speak Japanese, so communication is much easier.”

1pm Between 1pm and 2pm there’s a distinct lack of activity in the street, especially during the summer when it’s too hot to do anything besides nap. One of the few businesses that remains busy during this timeslot are the nha nghis, located down the quiet end of the street, away from the shoppers and street hawkers. They do a steady trade at this time of day, servicing men during their lunch hours. Clients, while predominantly Vietnamese


and Chinese, also include the full range of nationalities. Their hostesses, more often than not coming to Hanoi to escape poverty, are young. Very young. And their prospects? Limited.

2.30pm The street reawakens to the sounds of school buses ferrying kids home from Hanoi International Kindergarten and a whole host of other boutique schools that have opened to cater to the expat and wealthy Vietnamese market in West Lake. At about this time, Vietnamese grandmothers emerge, chasing their chubby grandchildren along the sidewalks with spoonfuls of chao, rice porridge, and force-feeding them when the opportunity presents itself. The exotic dogs make another appearance — now accompanied by housekeepers. For many domestic staff in the area, walking the dog falls under their job description.

7pm Once night falls, the street is dominated by middle-class Vietnamese and westerners seeking a meal at one of the street’s many restaurants. It’s fast becoming a hub for foodies, with Moroccan, Japanese, Ukranian, Argentinean, and Vietnamese options. Hanoi Rock City regularly hosts live music and guest DJs, attracting a younger, multi-racial crowd.

2am The only businesses still in operation are, of course, the nha nghis. Their doors remain open even as the exercisers wipe the sleep from their eyes at 5am.

BACK TO REALITY Rental prices in Hanoi’s ‘most desirable’ location have dropped significantly during the past 12 months, and are predicted to drop even further over the next two years. Thuy, managing director of Homespec Real Estate in To Ngoc Van, opened her business over five years ago during a real estate boom.

It’s difficult to imagine now, but before the 1990s To Ngoc Van wasn’t even a street, it was a collection of lotus seed farms. When the authorities opened the gates to the outside world, 84-year-old Tac was the first landlord in To Ngoc Van to quit farming and build a house for foreigners to rent. He and his four children now own an uninterrupted series of houses, from number 49 to number 53, and count an ambassador as one of their tenants. Tac laments only one aspect of his former lifestyle — the gradual disintegration of traditional village life.

“Recently there has been a surge in the supply of properties to rent, especially apartments, so we have seen a huge reduction in the average rental price,” she explains. “Two years ago it was difficult to find a decent house for a family of four under VND40 million. Now, with a more competitive market, a family can pay as little as VND20 million for a four-bedroom home with a courtyard. We still see the occasional high-end property leased for over VND150 million, but there are also houses available for as little as VND8 million per month.”

“Many of the original villagers have sold their land to property developers,” he says. “The land here is worth a fortune, so it’s hard for people to refuse the money. Now when we celebrate our old farming rituals, fewer people attend.”

According to Thuy, many landlords are struggling to come to terms with the lower prices. Some are holding off renting their homes in the hope of an increase in rent, something she believes is not going to happen in the near future.

When asked how his life has changed over the past 20 years, Tac beams. “Life is very good. Too good!”

“My advice is to bargain hard,” she says. “Vietnamese landlords want [non-locals] to live in this neighbourhood because it injects money into the local economy.”

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OOD undamentally

Decades of prosperity have removed us from the everyday pressure of producing our own food; we’re so used to seeing the final product arrive on our plates and in our bowls, that we often forget where food actually comes from and the effort required to produce it. So, in an attempt to look at food production in Vietnam, we have stripped away the fertiliser, ploughed through the fields and gone back to the bare bones. We have dissected a bowl of pho, tracking the ingredients back to their sources, talked to a Dalat-based farmer and charted the rise of organic food in the north. But all that’s for nothing if you forget the finished article, so to leave us with an aftertaste, we hit some of the city’s best pho restaurants. Going back to the fundamentals has been both trying and rewarding. We hope the journey we take you through over the next few pages will be as interesting as our one.




While every visitor to Hanoi has had their fair share of pho dishes, how many of us actually know where the main ingredients come from? With a mantra of “you are what you eat” ringing in his ears, Douglas Pyper sets out to find himself PHOTOS BY AARON JOEL SANTOS

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BANH QUAY Visiting a family-run quay operation on Hang Bong is undesirably eye-opening. The inside of the building is so dirty that the owners haven't even bothered to dust the wooden seats where guests sit at the entrance to the house. Don't even ask if anyone has washed their hands. The dough sticks are dropped into a black wok under the stairs where they bubble in old oil until they are taken out and tossed into a wicker basket on the street. Done. Fresh and crispy or stale and tough; you still can't have pho without it.

BEEF Farmers all over Vietnam are using cows as labour, with the suburbs of Hanoi being no exception. Yet once these animals get to be around 10 years of age, it’s out with the old... Hai from Commune 19 Ngoc Thuy in Gia Lam knows that the best way to get rid of a geriatric old cow is to call up one of the slaughterhouses that ring the suburbs of the city. If you come

across a cheap, busy slaughterhouse anywhere near town, then it officially isn’t there. Hai doesn’t ask too many questions of the slaughterhouse personnel, he’s just grateful for the VND10 million they give him for the cow. While it’s undoubtedly practical, this system of using old working cows could also be contributing to excessive toothpick use throughout the capital.

BANH PHO Chances are, if you’re enjoying a hearty bowl of pho in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, then that most vital of white noodles came from 49B Bat Dan. Mrs Diep’s family has been producing Hanoi’s most famous foodstuff for at least three generations and has an enviable reputation for quality. In a spotlessly clean — by Hanoi standards — courtyard, a remarkably well turned-out boy stands before two oversized stoves. Like a DJ he hops between each one keeping the two in perfect sync. He pours a white mixture of ground rice grain, water and cooked rice onto one stove, spreads it over the surface then places a lid on top. Without pausing, he turns to the other deck on which the mixture has already hardened into a circular sheet. Using a length of plastic piping he rolls the sheet off the stove and, with his free

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hand, spreads on another circle of mixture. He turns to hang up the sheet on one of the countless rows of piping before returning to the now ready right hand deck to repeat the process. A stainless steel machine, a bit like a wringer, cuts the sheets of pho into the ribbons that populate steaming bowls of broth all over the city. In this way, the family factory produces tonnes of pho a day, and their reputation for consistently producing the most delicious strips in the city means they can charge a little bit more than their competitors, and still be the number one choice in the Old Quarter. If you’re looking for the perfect pho, either in sheets for making pho cuon or in strips for making pho or pho xao, then drop in and get yourself a kilo for just VND 15,000.

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CHICKEN Pulling off Nghi Tam at Lane 75, there is small ad hoc market. Here a family of Muong from Hoa Binh sell free-range chickens. They can shift around 10 of these healthy looking birds a day, which they slaughter, pluck and gut on the spot. Once you’ve agreed to pay around VND110,000 per kg, the chicken is put into a cone which narrows at the bottom so its head and neck can be pulled through. Then a small dirty knife is pushed through the

neck and the blood pours out to be collected in a bowl. The chicken is then briefly dunked in boiling water, and the feathers plucked. Finally a few tidy incisions are made. The chest is cut to remove the lungs, and the anus is opened to pull out the intestines and the stomach. After the intestines have been slit open and cleaned, the customer will receive a bag of blood, the chicken with its feet stuffed up its backside, and the intestines. You’re a lucky duck if your pho ga has chicken this fresh in it.

Making the PHO

In charge of the kitchen at Matchbox, chef Mai’s recent renovation of the menu has given the restaurant, located in the Fine Arts Museum, a local edge. Having plied her trade for many years at the Sofitel Metropole, she is experienced at producing both quality international and tasty, well-conceived Vietnamese cuisine. So, when we wanted to know how to cook a great pho bo it was only natural that we asked chef Mai. This is her recipe. PHOTO BY FRANCIS ROUX

INGREDIENTS Serves 10 to 15

KUMQUATS Mrs Minh has a small farm of around 240sqm down Tay Ho’s Dang Thai Mai. It contains around 150 kumquat trees. Each tree can produce seven to eight kilos of kumquat a month, before every tree is sold at Tet. The post Tet period isn’t one of kumquat scarcity, because on a diet of soy bean fertiliser and a chemical called dam lan, a new tree takes just one month to begin producing fruit and will be fully grown after four. A middle-man comes to the farm to buy the fruit at VND12,000 per kg, which he takes to nearby markets such as Cho Tu Liem, where they sell for VND25,000 per kg. If you’re spicing up your pho with a fresh kumquat in the West Lake area, then Minh could well have been the provider.

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— Beef shinbone and ribs: 4kg — Sugarcane: 1 segment, grilled and crushed — Lime: 7 fruits — Chillies: 2 — Small chillies: 10 — Chilli sauce: 50gr — Pickled chilli and garlic: 60gr — Steamed chilli: 50g — Star anise: 4 fruits — Cinnamon stick: 40g — Black cardamom: 2 pods — Moc mat fruit: 8 fruits — Coriander seeds: 1 tablespoon — Onion: 3 large or 500g — Dried shallot: 100g, grilled — Dried ginger: 60g, cut into two parts, grilled — Celery: 50g

— Pho noodles: 2kg — Beef brisket: 500g — Beef fillet: 500g — Spring onion: 200g — Coriander: 4 bunches — Culantro: 3 bunches — Fresh herbs: 3 bunches — Water: 15 litres — Salt: 100g — Sugar: 2 tablespoons — Fish sauce: 60g — Carrot: 400g METHOD Soak the beef ribs and shinbone in water for between four and six hours. Remove, dry and put the bones on a baking tray. Cook in a pre-heated oven at between 200˚C and 250˚C. After 20 minutes, turn over and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour.

When the beef is almost golden, put 400g of carrot and 200g of onions on the baking tray next to the beef. Cook for another 15 minutes. Put the beef, onions, carrots and crushed sugarcane in a large pot. Pour in 15 litres of water, bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, take off any froth or scum that has formed on the surface of the broth, and reduce the flame. Simmer for five to seven hours. While the broth is cooking, boil the beef brisket for between two and three hours. When it is well-done, remove from the water, let it cool and cut into thin slices. When the broth has finished cooking, fill another pot with fresh water, remove the beef ribs and carrots from the broth, and place in this pot. Take the star anise, cinnamon, black cardamom, moc mat fruit and coriander seeds, and crush using a mortar and pestle. Then take the onions, dried shallots and ginger, cook them in the oven until slightly burnt. Put the crushed herbs and the cooked onions, shallots and ginger together into a cloth bag. Tie the bag tight and add to the broth with the celery. Cook for 30 minutes. Now add sugar, fish sauce and salt, making sure you flavour the broth to taste. Cut the white part of the spring onions into separate pieces, about 6cm long. Take the remaining part of the spring onion, the coriander, cilantro, fresh herbs and 100g of onion. Chop into small pieces and mix together in a bowl. Cut the beef fillet into thin strips. SERVING Put the pho in a bowl and add the two types of beef. Then add the onion and herb mixture and the white section of the spring onions. Spoon the broth on top and decorate with thinly sliced chilli. All the other condiments — chilli sauce, pickled chilli, kumquat, lime and chopped chilli — should be served on the side.

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While the trend elsewhere has been to neglect small farms in favour of larger, commercial enterprises, Vietnam has invested in its small-scale roots. It’s a move that has seen a dramatic reduction in poverty. Words by Rose Arnold ILLUSTRATION BY EDDY COUBEAUX BETWEEN 1979 AND 2007 VIETNAM achieved what many thought was impossible. It reduced levels of poverty in the country by almost half. It’s a slice of success that has had development agencies citing Vietnam as an inspiration. It’s also a reminder that poverty isn’t just one of those inevitable things, such as death, that must be accepted. It has causes and it can be solved. Vietnam achieved this by bucking the world trend and perceived wisdom of the time. Worldwide, as in Vietnam, the vast majority of the poorest people live in rural areas. Vietnam focused poverty reduction efforts on rural families, on small farmers, on the poorest. During the period known as Doi Moi, or renovation, a raft of measures were introduced to build up the agricultural sector and to support small farms. Rights to rural land were given to families that relied on it for their livelihoods. Vietnam also opened up their markets and encouraged international trade, but they did so at their own rate. Changes were implemented cautiously with tariffs set at levels that protected the country’s interests. At first both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were critical of the slow pace of change. But by 2007 these measures had taken effect. The numbers of people living in extreme poverty had dropped from around 60 percent to about 15 percent. IN THE FIELD While Vietnam was supporting farmers much of the rest of the world was moving in the opposite direction. Aid money given to support agriculture in developing countries plummeted. Between 1979 and 2006 the percentage of aid money being spent on agriculture fell from 18 percent of total assistance down to 2.9 percent — in real terms, a huge drop. This was despite evidence, such as that cited by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, that strengthening agricultural sectors “does more — at least twice as much — to reduce rural poverty than investment in any other sector”. At the same time, egged on by powerful lobby groups, developed countries were

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ramping up the level of agricultural investment at home. Poor countries found it increasingly hard to compete in the global market, many deciding to focus on other sectors instead. Government investment in agriculture fell by one third in Africa and as much as two thirds in Asia and Latin America. These countries didn’t fare as well as Vietnam. Poverty in Africa is a growing problem. Between 1990 and 2005 the number of people living in extreme poverty rose by 92 million up to 391 million people. India, like Vietnam, opened its markets (although they did so as part of the International Monetary Fund’s bailout conditions and at a faster rate than Vietnam). However they didn’t take the same approach of supporting small farmers or focusing efforts on rural areas. India has experienced huge levels of financial growth, but while it can boast dramatic increases in the number of home-grown millionaires, the numbers of people living in extreme poverty also rose by 65 million. BIG BUT NOT BEAUTIFUL Not everyone who sees the value of investing in agriculture supports investment in small farmers. Some argue that bigger is better. Big farms are more productive, economy of scale is everything and specialism in one crop is best. But big farms aren’t successful just because they are big. They have profited from investment in technology, knowledge, and have sufficient cash flow to ride out any glitches and money to reinvest when times are good. Compare that to small farms. Poor farmers have to work with basic equipment and don’t have access to credit or insurance to buffer their income through bad times. Hunger and related illness often impact on productivity. In times of financial desperation, farmers have no option but to sell possessions such as livestock, thereby reducing earning capacity of the farm. Given support and investment, small farms can be incredibly effective. According to a Fairtrade Foundation report, “a considerable body of evidence” shows that in the long term, small farms will produce more per

hectare than large commercial farms, which grow only one crop. Certainly in Vietnam, the 70 percent of rice cultivators who were smallholder farmers played a vital part in the country’s transformation. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, this was a nation unable to feed itself. Now it is the world’s second largest exporter of rice. In addition, the remote areas where many people live are not suitable for large commercial farms. THE NEXT PHASE Globally there is an increasing recognition of the value of supporting small farmers in reducing poverty. Yet, today in Vietnam the focus seems to be shifting in the opposite direction. In 2005 the Vietnamese Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development produced a development strategy outlining future plans. Poverty reduction was increasingly going to be ‘decentralised’ with international and community organisations funding and managing this work. The state would provide infrastructure, including the new roads needed by rural farmers to be able to sell their produce, but increasingly foreign and private investment would fund agriculture projects. The plan did recognise the continuing role of agriculture for reducing the poverty levels of the ethnic minorities, and included aims to hand over areas of forest. It also outlined an intention to introduce viable insurance schemes for farmers. But for Vietnam as a whole, there seems to be a move away from agriculture in favour of construction and industry, with targets set for shifting employment away from agriculture into jobs in these areas. Compensation for farmers who lost their land in the move to industrialisation would take the form of training opportunities and jobs in other industries, such as labouring on construction projects. Vietnam has an impressive track record to date on both reducing poverty and increasing the affluence of the country. Let’s hope that the new-found wealth of the skyscrapers can trickle down to people on the ground, and that jobs in industry and construction help continue this progress.

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Shades of GREEN Fans of broccoli, cauliflower and mixed greens living in Vietnam have a couple of hectares of Dalat farmland and a conscientious American to thank. Douglas Pyper talks to Bob Allen to understand how his family operation in the mountains of Central Vietnam affected the whole country’s eating habits PHOTO BY QUINN RYAN MATTINGLY

LIVE SOMEWHERE FOR 20 YEARS AND that place is going to have an effect on you. But will you have an effect on it? When Bob Allen moved to Vietnam in 1991, he couldn’t have known quite what a change he would have in the everyday diet of the Vietnamese. In 1994, he settled down in Dalat with his wife and thought he would “try to do something”. In a relaxed American drawl heavy with fatalism, Bob muses, “Farming seemed like a safe innocuous thing for an American to do in those days.” With his Golden Garden farm produce and his mini supermarket chain, Veggy’s, two decades later Bob can genuinely say he has changed the way this country eats.

coming into the country, unregulated, not labelled properly, [and] farmers weren’t really trained how to do it. There is a lot more available now to do organic production. For example we have a very, very high organic input. By that I mean we use organic fertilisers, we use cow fertilisers, we use forest mulching … and have reduced the use of synthetic materials to a minimum. We try to limit chemicals. If we have to use it, then we observe the re-entry period and we try to use the safest thing possible, botanicals, things made from plants. It’s about taking care of the land and the land taking care of you, as opposed to just taking the cheap way out: buying chemicals.

In the early 1990s, was it necessary for Vietnam to clean up its food production? Were too many chemicals and unsafe practices being used? Absolutely. I worked closely with the department of agriculture and [with] one lady in particular who spent most of her time investigating poisonings. It was all traced back to vegetables about 90 percent of the time.

I take it then that you’re not completely against using chemicals in farming? If we have to use them we will. We have problems with pests sometimes, but we move the crop to another area, rather than trying to kill them all. It’s about sustainability; keeping chemical use to a minimum.

So what’s changed? Are safer pesticides being used? Yes they are. In the last few years they’ve been trying to clean it up. In the early days there were a lot of dodgy chemical products

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Is it possible to be organic in Vietnam? First off, [in Vietnam] who’s going to certify that you’re organic? You don’t really have any confident certification from the authorities here, and if you were exporting and you had a Vietnamese company certifying your organic production, I’m

not sure how well it’s going to be believed. Simply because we’re still a developing country and there is a track record. Farming in Dalat is another example. It’s always been the vegetable basket of Vietnam. With all the years of chemical abuse there, you have a situation where the ground water is contaminated with nitrates. So you’re always going to have nitrates somewhere along the line because someone else along from you is using chemicals. If you’re sucking water out of that same source then you’re going to get the run off. And it’s also even in the air. We have high humidity at times and we get acid rain. In the rain you can also find nitrates. It’s not practical, unless you get well away from established farms, into the forest and start from scratch, to be truly organic.

Whether consuming purely organic produce is better for you, I don’t know. But I will say that consuming residue products can be harmful for your health.

Is becoming organic something you have an interest in doing? I’ve considered it in the past, but I think the demand worldwide is slowing down. It’s not the buzzword it was a few years ago. In my estimation, what I’d have to do to make my produce truly organic and make myself comfortable with it, it would be expensive and I don’t think it’s worthwhile — from a business point of view.

Do you feel that your business models have influenced Vietnamese farms? I like to think that we’ve influenced the way farmers do things quite a lot, at least in the Dalat area. They are bringing a better and a safer product these days than they would be if we’d never come along. Back in 1991 or 1992, there were only two basic salads in the country. We didn’t have broccoli and we didn’t have zucchini. A lot of the things that I’ve introduced have now become widespread.

Is it desirable from a health and safety perspective or a dietary perspective to have purely organic vegetables?

What have farmers specifically taken from your operation? Using mulching film. I was probably one

of the first. Keeping the product clean and safe, adopting safer chemicals and using less of it, following labels and directions, not being so dependent on chemicals. The way our farms are organised, we work — sowing, planting, harvesting, shipping — six days a week, 52 weeks in a year. That’s 40 or 50 products at any given time. It’s complicated. A market garden if you will. So, I think more and more, [the Vietnamese farmers] are learning how to space things out, to plant things in a sequence and on a schedule, have a variety of products rather than have a single crop. They’re getting more money by doing it this way than they ever did with a single crop system [because] they’re not so dependent on one particular product. It’s about contingency. The farmers didn’t do that before? No, they had no idea. Going back the main

thing was cabbage, two different types of lettuce, there were the potato guys, the tomato guys, the onion people — it was pretty basic. [Since then] they’ve learnt from us and you have people doing zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and various types of salads. There is a bigger market now. Vietnamese people have learnt to enjoy these products rather than in the old days when it was limited to a handful of vegetables. Sounds like variety is important to the ethos of your farms and shops? Absolutely, right now, in our standard lettuce mixes, we must have 15 or 16 leafy items. It’s fast-moving, there are a wide range of products and we do it 52 weeks out of a year. The farms operate six days a week, the shops operate seven days a week and I operate 10 days a week.

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Make it ORGANIC The desire to eat organic food is gaining traction in northern Vietnam. But how truly ‘organic’ are the fruit and vegetables that can be found in Hanoi? Words by Anne-Marie Lombard ILLUSTRATION BY EDDY COUBEAUX

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE LOCKING EYES WITH A PIG STRAPPED TO A motorbike on its way to slaughter to make you think about where your food comes from. On the road to Tuyen Quang, to visit the organic farm and ecolodge Green Vietnam, I contemplate the bun cha I ate for lunch and wonder if it started like this. My stomach rumbles. I avert my eyes. This is how I begin my quest to understand organic food in northern Vietnam, which is on the rise. Fuelled by frustration with uncertain food sources, consumers are beginning to consider the health benefits of eating organic and its positive impact on the environment. And now an expanding number of outlets sourcing from local farmers are ready to supply it. Formerly the penchant of wealthier foreigners, these days the majority of consumers are Vietnamese. BUYING ORGANIC The trend is mostly focused around Hanoi, where the greatest demand lies. Largely the preoccupation of middle or higher income families due to its cost, those who aren’t buying it are growing it — on roofs, windowsills or in small patches outside houses. Rumour even has it that some are buying land on the outskirts of Hanoi and hiring staff to grow vegetables and rear livestock for their own dinner tables. Food is an integral part of Vietnamese culture and there is a growing awareness of where it comes from. Clean vegetables, known as rau sach, used to be the phrase you’d hear most, and still do in markets. But this changed following criticism of the word ‘clean’, which people felt should be a given when it comes to food. This led to the emergence of the term ‘safe’ vegetables, rau an toan, a concept that has taken off. The idea of ‘safe’ vegetables is comforting, especially with the high number of food poisoning incidents in Vietnam. But there’s an element of subjectivity to it. While many see this as a sufficient stamp of quality, others seek a greater level of certainty. Enter organic. The term itself, huu co, is still piercing the greater public consciousness. Tran Manh Chien, who owns Bac Tom store on Nguyen Cong Tru, explains that only one to two out of 10 customers in his shop understand the meaning of ‘organic’. He puts this down to the fact that it is a relatively new term. “But when they understand,” he adds, “they want organic.” GRASS ROOTS To understand just how far organic production in northern Vietnam has come

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"The success of these farmers’ groups is largely down to the focus on driving consumer demand in Hanoi, led by Action for the City" already, we should return to Tuyen Quang. Here, Quang and Huyen live with their family and friends, including a Canadian organic farmer called Reid. They make up Green Vietnam. The project began several years ago, pulling together a strong community focusing on sustainable organic agriculture and providing training to others (who have gone on to start their own organic farms). Now Green Vietnam spans 52 hectares and produces a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables available for delivery to customers in Hanoi. It also doubles as an eco-lodge where tourists can escape the city to stay in custom-built stilt houses nestled between rolling emerald rice fields. Green Vietnam has its roots in a movement that was started in Hanoi by the Danish NGO Agricultural Development Denmark Asia (ADDA). Quang and Huyen received training from them while growing organic produce for dioxin victims in the Friendship Village near Hanoi. They decided to use their knowledge to set up their own farm in Tuyen Quang. ADDA, along with the Vietnam Farmers’ Union, the national NGO Action for the City and various international funders, has been instrumental in providing the spark for many organic farms in northern Vietnam. Most of the suppliers in Hanoi buy from farmers who can be traced back to ADDA. According to Tu Thi Tuyet Nhung of ADDA, the project began in 2005 to develop a framework for producing and marketing organic food in Vietnam. There are now 25 functioning groups of organic farmers, the result of several years of research, development and training in a number of northern provinces. SUPPLYING THE CAPITAL The focal points are Soc Son and Luong Son, on the outskirts of the capital. They grow vegetables, longans and pomelos, and are beginning to trial organic chickens and pigs. The proximity to Hanoi makes these farms a success. Further afield, the market is still relatively slow. For the extra time and effort that organic production requires, there has to be strong demand, although the additional benefits begin to show with time. According to Nhung from ADDA, “the main reason why farmers initially choose to grow organic is the money, but soon they realise that it’s good for their health”. When I speak to another Nhung, this time the farmer Nguyen Thi Nhung at the Thanh Xuan site in Soc Son, she extols the virtues of organic produce in protecting her and her family’s health. Her serene face and sparkling eyes are testament to this. The success of these farmers’ groups is largely down to the focus on driving consumer demand in Hanoi, led by Action for the City. Farmers are brought to the workplaces of would-be consumers to promote the vegetables, and events are held to raise awareness about the benefits of eating organic. When international funding ended and there remained a noticeable gap between the farmers and the market, the social enterprise Hanoi Organic Roots was set up which delivers Thanh Xuan organic vegetables by the kilo. Not only has this built up a loyal customer base from NGOs, schools, banks and local businesses, but with a strong emphasis on fair trade it provides farmers with a steady income. GUARANTEES But how can consumers know that their purchases are genuinely

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organic? The answer is the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). This peer inspection system ensures quality organic produce by requiring all stakeholders in the process — from production through to retail — to ensure standards are met. Everyone participating has a vested interest in ensuring the product is fully organic. Without this, the products cannot be sold. The Farmers' Union joins in by providing commune and district level inspectors, something that could pave the way for a domestic certification system, but for the time being, this highly effective voluntary method works well. It has had similar success in countries like India and Brazil. Other concerns are contamination from non-organic farms, factory waste and dirty water. To avoid this, each farmer must follow strict rules to protect their growing area against pollution and impurities, such as maintaining hedgerows. Water must come from a well, not the river, and is regularly tested. Instead of chemicals farmers must use natural fertilisers, employing a method known as hot composting with plant residue, rice straw and manure. No chemical pesticides are permitted. Instead farmers make their own organic versions with garlic and lemongrass or grow flowers and trees that draw the insects away from the crops. However, according to farmer Nhung, “the biggest challenge is the weather.” She points to the seedbeds devastated by a recent typhoon. “We need covers to protect the crops from the rain.” The buyers are an integral part of the system, too. Bac Tom is one of the largest of 20 shops selling organic vegetables that are grown by these farmers. As its owner and buyer, Chien volunteers as a member of the PGS Coordination Committee that oversees the system to guarantee that the produce remains organic. Yet, despite a modicum of success, there are improvements to be made. Chien believes that with an improved supply and a domestic certification system, the future could be bright for organic produce in Vietnam. There’s still a way to go, though, and it may well be a while before I contemplate my first organic bun cha. But I wouldn’t rule it out.

Stock UP

From rau sach and rau an toan through to rau huu co, Hoa Le trawls the city to find out where to buy your organic fruit and vegetables PHOTO BY NICK ROSS


VICTORY ASIAN ORGANIC VEGETABLE CHAIN STORES 55 Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung — 148 Le Trong Tan, Thanh Xuan — 156 Mai An Tuan, Dong Da — Floor 1, 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da — 2/47 Nguyen Hong, Ba Dinh. Tel: 0989 840081 What do they sell? About 15 to 30 varieties of vegetables. Availability depends on the season. What will I pay? VND30,000 to VND32,000 per kg of vegetables, VND70,000 per kg of herbs. Why should I go there? Owner of the chains, Mr Chinh, says that even though the vegetables here are more expensive than other places, here you’re paying for location and convenience. Over the next few months, the company aims to expand to about 20 different venues. HANOI ORGANIC ROOTS (RAU THANH XUAN) Tay Ho Weekend Market, No 4, Alley 67/12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho (only on Saturday mornings) Tel: 01668 874588 What do they sell? Organic vegetables and herbs. What will I pay? VND24,000 per kg.

BAC TOM 6 Nguyen Cong Tru, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3972 8797


to open this organic store. Providing he doesn’t get interrupted by a constant flow of customers, he is willing to chat about the variety and sourcing of his products. Free delivery within 2km. Orders can be placed by phone.

What do they sell? Organic vegetables and herbs according to season and availability. Also stock non-organic but ‘safe’ vegetables and fruit which are certified for using a permitted level of chemicals. They also sell a variety of certified pork and chicken. What will I pay? VND25,000 per kg of organic veggies. Why should I go there? “We are honest and offer quality products,” says Ms Hang, the store manager. “We have many regular customers and that’s the reason they stay with us!” Variety is also big at Uncle Tom’s,

with vegetables ranging from pumpkin to morning glory. The staff are not only friendly, but also happy to help you prepare and wash vegetables for cooking. TRANG AN ORGANIC VEGETABLES No. 12 Alley 75 Nguyen Cong Hoan, Ba Dinh Tel: 0985 338666

Why should I go there? Tay Ho Weekend Market is a cozy place to spend your Saturday morning while shopping for healthy food. ECOMART No. 8 Alley 347 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay Tel: 3791 2233 What do they sell? Organic vegetables.

What do they sell? Organic vegetables and herbs. What will I pay? VND24,000 per kg of veggies, VND40,000 per kg of herbs. Why should I go there? The amiable and passionate owner has left a managerial position working for a decent company

What will I pay? VND24,000 per kg. Why should I shop there? Friendly staff and free delivery for orders of over VND100,000, within a radius of 5km. An extra fee of VND10,000 is applied for longer distance deliveries. Call the hotline on 0913 237304 for more information.

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Hanoi's BEST PHO Everywhere sells great pho, right? Not so. We decided to dispel the myth and went on a tasting session to discover which joints truly sell the best pho noodle soup in this city. Words by Hoa Le and Nick Ross PHOTOS BY FRANCIS ROUX


PHO GIA TRUYEN 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem Price: From VND35,000 a bowl for pho chin 5.30am to 10.30am; 6pm to 10pm “Making pho bo is tough,” says Thang, the third generation owner of Pho Gia Truyen. “You need to pay attention to every detail down from the bones through to the broth and seasoning the beef. You need to be very self-disciplined.” And disciplined he certainly is. Every ingredient here is made to perfection. Take the broth, for example, rich and perfectly salted. Then there’s the meat. Tender and tasty. There’s a lot of it, too. The pho itself remains slightly al dente and even the condiments hit the spot. There’s no lemon or lime here, no kumquats. Instead it’s spicy garlic vinegar in a plastic jug, chopped chillies, the requisite chilli sauce and a quality, high degree fish sauce. We went to a few joints on our travels, and although here you have to queue up at the counter to get your bowl of the good stuff, this is probably the best pho bo in Hanoi. PHO 10 LY QUOC SU 10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem; 42 Hang Voi, Hoan Kiem Price: From VND35,000 a bowl for pho tai and pho chin 6am to 2pm; 5.30pm to 9.30pm Along with Bat Dan, Ly Quoc Su is probably the bestknown street for pho in the capital, and the famous pho joint here sits at number 10. With eye-catching signage daubed in orange, the pho here is more typical of the variety you see around Hanoi, with pho chin, pho tai, pho tai gau and pho xao all making an appearance on the menu, which conveniently also comes in English. The pho tai gau, half done beef with brisket, is a perfect tipple for anyone who likes beef with a little fat attached to it. The meat is soft and the broth sweet, maintaining the taste of real bone. The condiments are good here, too. The home-made vinegar with garlic is a perfect complement. It’s also worth trying the quay sticks, which compared to elsewhere are really fresh. The owner claims to buy these bread-like dipping sticks from the famous quay stand at number 22 Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem. If you want to avoid the queues at Pho Gia Truyen on Bat Dan, this is a good alternative. It’s not as ‘special’ as its erstwhile competitor, but then nowhere is.

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PHO GA PHO HANG DIEU 1 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Price: VND30,000 for white meat, VND35,000 for a bowl with dark meat 5.30am to 1pm Anyone who’s ever eaten hearty Eastern European chicken soup will see some serious parallels here, such is the nature of the broth and tenderness of the meat at what we believe may well be the best pho ga eatery in town. Located on the corner of Bat Dan, owner Ngoc Anh has been serving the good stuff in the same spot for 30 years. She inherited the business from her mother. “I’m happy because I can serve pho every day,” she says. “We are always crowded and there are zero complaints from my customers.” Although the chicken broth is rich and nicely salted, providing enough leeway to add condiments to get that perfect taste, the standout ingredient here is the meat. Sensational. Using only ga ta, free-range chicken, the flavours are subtle, the texture soft. Add some kumquat and chopped lime leaf, and we’re somewhere close to heaven. MAI ANH 32 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung Price: VND45,000 per bowl 5.30am to 4pm Originally a portable pho stand, or ganh

pho rong, the present restaurant has been running since 1981 and with its fresh, bright, chrome table tops and plastic stools, it sits in contrast to its more traditional, wooden benched competitors. Selling between 60kg and 70kg of pho noodles every day and 70 to 80 chickens, according to the present owner, Thanh, the eatery’s success lies in the great combination of good broth, chicken and the banh pho, which is both soft and a little chewy. “It’s a very rewarding job and I love it,”

he adds. “The only time that we close the restaurant is during Tet. We close for one week and it’s too long. I really miss the restaurant.” Thanh is right. Here they truly sell a decent bowl of soup, the two added moc or pork balls creating a nice touch. The broth is nicely but subtly spiced, the noodles are about right and the condiments seem to fit. But when it comes to the quality of the meat, there’s only one winner, Hang Dieu.

PHO THIN PHO THIN LO DUC 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Price: VND40,000 a bowl 5am to 9.30pm Located in a fan-cooled, converted French era villa, Pho Thin Lo Duc breathes functionality. It starts with the enormous, charcoalblackened pot and furnace in the doorway, and runs all the way through to the service and even the food. Here they're serving probably the best pho thin in town, but with punters sat on shared wooden benches with chrone-topped tables, the deal is 100 percent no frills. It tastes good and that's that. The dish itself is a variation on pho bo. Beef fillet is sliced into small pieces and sautéed with spring onions, garlic and spices over an intense flame. Together with the juices from the beef this is then added to the broth and the noodles, all giving the dish a more wholesome and rounded flavour than that of its pho bo cousin. It's a tasty concoction. The only oddity is the clientele. Mainly male and middle aged or older, it all adds to the workmanlike, canteen-style atmosphere. This is a great, pre Doi Moi example of providing tasty cuisine without all the excesses on the side.

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JAPANESE TANGO Located to the northwest of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is the exquisite Tango Peninsula. Boasting more than 2,000 temples and shrines, all hidden around every bend, this sparsely populated region is an untouched treasure trove that even locals don’t know about. Words and illustrations by J Muzacz

A traditional Japanese tock garden

Looking down between your legs at Amanohashidate, Bridge to Heaven


hey call the countryside inaka. Roughly translated, inaka means rural area, hometown, the sticks. It is a place of few young people — the farmer’s dilemma — most running away as soon as they can to the big and bustling neon fishbowls of Osaka or Tokyo. There they can get lost in concrete jungle anonymity and find a job with a regular paycheck. Air-conditioned office space, noisy apartments, foul-smelling streets. For the young, these irks are somehow more appealing than the clean air, fresh food, tight-knit communities and satisfying

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physical labour of working outdoors, tending a few rice fields and a patch of sweet potatoes. Rice from the Tango Peninsula is officially ranked as some of the best tasting rice in the country. School kids help plant and harvest the rice they will eat next semester. They take field trips to the garden of somebody’s uncle’s garden where their school lunch salad greens were grown. This kind of local and holistic, slow-food lifestyle is nearly impossible in the sprawling cities. And what happens when grandma and grandpa plant their last rice paddy? Who is going to

grow next year’s lunch? The good food, nature and community that are cornerstones of a thriving, sustainable culture and healthy environment should already be reason enough to visit the Tango Peninsula. That there are so many other highlights of a visit to this pinky toe headland jutting out into the Japan Sea, says much about this area. It’s a little bit special.

Geoparks, Stonehenge and Heaven For cyclists, the peninsula has a circumference small enough that you could

ride around it in a single day. You would have to pedal past most of the attractions to make it back before dark but it is definitely doable and, with the recent bike boom in Japan, is increasingly popular. A sign on the winding cliff-side road confidently declares, ‘here are the most beautiful villages in Japan’. And they aren’t kidding, the dramatic coastline is stunning. There is also a bus that goes round for about ¥1,300 (VND340,000). The San’in Kaigan Geopark encompasses the northwestern Tango Peninsula coast. The geology and rock formations are amazing, three million year old columnar joints of magma jut up out of the sea providing perches for camouflaged hawks. The effect is dazzling; dramatic, postcard-perfect views. Historical remains from the Jomon period (13,000BC to 300BC) such as pottery, jewellery and tools have also been unearthed in the area, and are preserved in the local Tango Ancient Museum. A series of Kofun burial mounds like mini-Stonehenges are easily accessible, too — you can waltz right into one on a

walking tour. The town of Ine has been transformed into an architecture preservation district. Built right on the water, it is famous for its Funaya boathouses, often with the traditional bamboo frame poking through the earthen walls. Replete with ‘ground floor’ garages left open for the fishermen’s vessels to moor directly inside the confines of the house, you sense these are spaces that must get awfully drafty during winter. While in Ine, you can also tour the 300-yearold sake brewery where you can sample a swig of rice wine 15 years in the making. In the process you will likely be charmed by the seventh generation of brew masters into having a meal or going fishing. Just down the coast from Ine you reach one of Japan’s ‘Top Three Views of Scenic Beauty’. Amanohashidate or the Bridge to Heaven ranks up there with Japan’s other two top views: the massive vermillion ‘floating’ torii peace gate of Miyajima Island in Hiroshima, and the 200 plus pinecovered islands of Miyagi Prefecture called Matsushima — literally ‘pine islands’.

A manmade, 4km-long sandbar disguised tastefully by more than 8,000 pine trees, Amanohashidate separates a large fishing bay from the slightly wilder waters of the sea. Climb the steps to the Kasamatsu Park viewpoint and look at the land bridge beneath your feet. I promise everybody else will be doing it, too. If you find yourself there in autumn when the momiji (maple tree) foliage turns from green to canary yellow and burgundy, go a bit higher up the mountain to Nariai-ji Temple. There you will find yourself in the shadow of a bright red, five-tiered pagoda. The surrounding meadow and pond are covered by bright, recently fallen leaves, painting a technicolour climax to the year before winter’s frozen shades of grey settle in.

The Elements The weather on the Tango Peninsula is humbling, especially in winter. You may not think that living literally a hop, skip and a jump to the sea would put you in a climate conducive to such an incredibly

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White Christmas, but it does. The culprit? Cold Siberian winds that blow fiercely over hundreds of miles of flat seas, bombarding Tango with almost daily assaults of hail, sleet and snow. When that piercing wind chill hits, it is hard to believe the thermometer that still reads just -4 degrees Celsius is accurate. This goes on unrelenting for four months, making the memory of snorkelling in the calm aquamarine summer sea just a few months before feel like a lifetime ago. In winter, though frigid, as the seas turn navy to silver to black, the sleepy fishing village of Taiza warms up into its peak tourist season. Taiza’s tiny port houses about a dozen small fishing boats that catch some of the country’s finest winter kani, the matsuba snow crab, for just three months each year. These huge, bright orange spiders of the sea, kept alive on ice, are auctioned off early in the morning, sometimes garnering bids of ¥10,000 a piece (about VND2.6 million)! Local ryokan (bed and breakfast-style guesthouses) capitalize all winter on busloads of Japanese coming to gorge on kani shoku — prepared crab feasts that can run up a hefty tab equivalent to two or three hundred dollars per person. Crafty fishermen of some neighbouring towns have started tagging their crabs as Taiza kani to fetch higher bids from restaurant buyers not in the know. The secret to surviving the Tango winter is frequent visits to the area’s numerous hot spring spas called onsen. All over Japan community bathhouses are the norm but in the city they may only offer hot water and perhaps some weird electro-shock pool with melon scent. Tango, however, has 40 natural springs and a number of those have been developed into spas and small resorts, always nestled attractively in the landscape. The community pools are geothermally heated so the water provides an assortment of healing minerals to soak in for an hour or so, until you get the feeling back in your toes. You are also guaranteed to catch up on the local gossip as sitting naked with three old guys in a Japanesesized sauna loosens your tongue as well as having a way of opening up more than just your pores.

The Forgotten Land

Gathering seaweed on Hei beach

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Kyouga Misaki, the cape furthest north in the prefecture, is an overgrown mountainous area inhabited by wild pigs, bears and monkey families that frequently leave their excrement on the roadside. It is also home to one of Japan’s biggest and brightest lighthouses, teetering on a cliff 120 meters above the sea. A 20-minute hike takes you to the chalk-white lighthouse that has been guiding ships in the night (especially firefly squid fishermen) for over 100 years. Last year it got a makeover in the form of a massive new, cutting-edge crystal, one of only five existing examples in Japan. From this point, recommended viewing at sunset, you have more than a 180-degree

Farmers in the Tango Peninsular view of the Sea of Japan. On a clear day you can actually see the bend of the horizon. One warm spring afternoon I went for a walk to gather plants after a co-worker kindly introduced me to the culture of sansai tori ni iku (picking wild mountain edibles) and found wasabi growing by a stream. I picked a root stock, took it home and ground it fresh on my soba noodles with soy sauce — simple. The wasabi root didn’t make the meal, though. It was the plentiful nature and giving culture of Tango. Why aren’t there more tourists coming here? Because if you invite too many people to come and take, contrary to the farmer’s dilemma, what will be left? Perhaps a local tourist brochure sums it up best when it proclaims that a visit to Tango is ‘a trip of nature and culture’. While not altogether poetic, I think the brochure hits the right balance. After all, it is the delicate equilibrium struck between the two here on the Tango Peninsula that makes Kyoto’s forgotten north a place worth visiting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR J Muzacz is the artist and author behind the recently published ballpoint retrospective of Japan, JAPAN 365: A Drawing-A-Day. He lived on the Tango Peninsula for two years teaching English, learning Japanese and drawing pictures. Now he is cycling the length of Japan for the environment with a small group called BEE, Bicycle for Everyone’s Earth. You can follow their two-wheeled adventure at www.

GETTING THERE You can get to Kyoto Prefecture by flying from either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi to Osaka. Kyoto City is 55km from Osaka. The Tango Peninsula is in the northwest of the prefecture, bordering the Sea of Japan.

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The Hanoi Film Festival With film an increasing priority in Vietnam, Hanoi’s festival inclusion in the cinematic scene will be bigger and better this year than ever before. Dean Wilson takes us behind the scenes of preparations for the Hanoi International Film Festival 2012


nother film festival? Where will it end? Worldwide there are huge numbers of festivals. The city of Toronto alone hosts between 60 and 70 every year, including the famous Toronto International. In Berlin, on the opposite side of ‘The Pond’, the annual Berlinale festival works with hundreds of filmmakers worldwide and prides itself as a “source of inspiration for the global film community”. This year Vietnam will have the Hanoi International Film Festival 2012 which promises to be exciting. At the time of writing, a press conference is in the works to announce, among other events, the arrival in Vietnam of Sonja Heinen. From the Berlinale and the World Cinema Fund, Sonja is a driving force behind the production and funding of films from developing countries. She is here to participate in the inaugural ‘Hanoi Campus’, a concept and name borrowed from the Berlinale Talent Campus. With a focus on building knowledge, experience and investment for the next generation of filmmakers, it is the perfect addition to the approaching film festival which will take place in November.

critic and head of the research division, Lan, took the reins as both interim director of the department and director of the festival. Lan has many contacts within the industry. Her long friendship with NETPAC founder Aruna Vasudev contributed to the 2010 festival’s inclusion of a NETPAC Award, reprised again this year with a separate jury. Lan expects to find further support, perhaps even from the Singapore outpost of the Motion Picture Association, Hollywood’s international copyright organisation. Le Thi Thu Ha, festival programmer and head of the Hanoi Campus, is perhaps the biggest driving force behind the new approach. It was Ha who convinced Sonja Heinen to participate in the Hanoi festival after meeting her at the Berlinale Talent Campus. Ha projects huge amounts of enthusiasm and energy, with bright eyes and a stated focus on quality and results. To be considered for inclusion in the Hanoi Campus all applicants must have at least one film under their belts. The ten-person limit per group will guarantee the students high levels of attention from the experienced instructors.

On Campus

Putting it Together

The first Vietnam International Film Festival was held two years ago as part of the millennial celebration of Hanoi. Australian director Phillip Noyce presided over a jury that gave young Singaporean filmmaker Boo Junfeng awards in both the Best Feature Film and Best Director categories. This year, renamed and with the addition of the Hanoi Campus element, organisers hope the festival will help the film market grow. The ‘campus’ takes place over three days during the festival and will include a varied programme of events. Boo Junfeng is likely to return to speak at a roundtable event along with Vietnamese director Phan Dang Di, who will also host and moderate the campus. Sonja Heinen will provide insight into funding and co-production for a specially selected group of ten ‘students’. There will be roundtable discussions, open to the public, and workshops focusing on scripting, directing and producing. There will be cash prizes awarded to the best filmmaker within a number of different categories. Details are still evolving, but financial support has been provided so far via government funds and from cultural organisations including the Ford Foundation, the British Council and the Goethe Institute, among others.

To be eligible for the competition programme, films must have been produced in the Asia-Pacific region, between Oct. 1, 2010 and the present day. No films that have previously screened in any ASEAN regional festivals are eligible. The selection committee will have freedom to include films across all genres, including features, short features, documentaries and animation. There is also a non-competitive aspect to the festival which is likely to be a big draw for local admissions and attract glamorous visitors, mainly because the country in focus is South Korea. A number of celebrities have already signed up. The organisers of the South Korean Busan International Film Festival have long supported the idea of integrating Vietnam into its influential circle: this includes Cannes, Hong Kong, Gothenburg, Rotterdam, Venice, Yamagata and now Mumbai. The Busan Film Commission (BFC) has been active in establishing practical, critical and financial links throughout the region and in Europe. Back in 2007 when a Week of Korean Cinema was screened in Ho Chi Minh City, it was accompanied by a BFC delegation promoting the benefits of municipal film commissions. To be sure, both the Hong Kong and Busan models for project markets and awards that nourish new talents have made a big difference to the industry. It was after winning a project award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2007 that Phan Dang Di was invited to the prestigious, invitation-only Atelier at the Cannes festival. There he was able to network and build valuable relationships, going on to receive another award from the World Cinema Fund under the auspices of the Berlinale Talent Campus. As the host of the Hanoi Campus, he is the perfect person to usher in new ideas — he is a champion of the cinema culture that makes festivals like this so exciting. The Hanoi International Film Festival will take place from Nov. 25 to Nov. 29. For further information, please go to

A Fresh Start This year’s festival and the Hanoi Campus represent new ideas and an injection of energy into the programme initiated by the Ministry of Culture’s Cinema Department. Part of this is due to ‘fresh blood’ and the leadership of two people, Ngo Phuong Lan and Le Thi Thu Ha. Ngo Phuong Lan has an extensive background in cinema. A gentle woman in her 50s who studied at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, Lan has travelled extensively and published a book with the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC). After a financial scandal rocked the Cinema Department earlier this year, long time movie

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Vietnam Cupid



It’s a tired cliché we’ve all heard ad nauseam. Western women over age 25 have a hard time getting a date in Asia. Yes, it’s like the Eros version of a mobile phone dead zone, and yes, we female expats often complain about our datelessness. But how many of us really put ourselves out there? I asked myself this as I navigated the front page of Vietnam Cupid, a dating site touting thousands of Vietnamese singles. Male friends had used the site with great success. Call it a flash of undying American optimism, but I was convinced that if I tried the site I could get a date in Hanoi. I vowed to go out with any un-creepy guy within 10 years of my age who was linguistically compatible enough that Google Translate wouldn’t be a necessary third-wheel. And within the first few hours my profile was up, I received several ‘interests’. See, I thought as I clicked on my inbox, all you need is initiative and an open mind! The ‘open mind’ bit of my plan was challenged as I read that first message — a two-paragraph soliloquy from an Uzbek man grossly out of my desired age range. I blushed at how he described my “stunning” photo, but calling it the bright part of his day seemed a bit much. As I debated my response, ‘interests’ trickled in from a disparate and varied populous: a 77-year-old Dane, a cross-eyed Yemeni with a molester moustache, a rash of shirtless Vietnamese men, and guys with faceless stock photos whose criteria I didn’t match. Problem was, I couldn’t actually communicate with most of these suitors, as I’d opted for a free standard membership. Vietnam Cupid harangued me with messages urging me to upgrade. Initiative, I told myself as I purchased the VND630,000-per-month gold membership that enabled communication. I proceeded to exchange a string of Google translated messages, one with a 22-year-old with K-Pop hair and a Terminator scowl, apparently seeking “Swedish bread, fun, air water dong, chung”. Another was with a dapper 38-year-old who listed himself as living at home. Whose home? I wondered. I asked him. “Chinchin not ripe tam tam after flight after carbon,” he replied. Finally I found Sam, a Taiwanese indie rocker from New York whose interests in music and art matched mine. Oh cool, I thought, he’s lived in New York. I sent a short, casual message. “How long have you been in Vietnam?” I asked. “Haha, I don’t live in Vietnam. I was planning on travelling there.” It dawned on me that not all the men who had foreign locations listed were actually in those locations. I’m not sure what I’d thought — they were listing their hometowns? But suddenly that sidebar warning about not sending strangers money for “plane fare” made sense. It’s been a month. Both my open mind and initiative are at breaking point. But that old optimism keeps me logging on. ‘Cause the ads are right — true love really could be just a click away. Or at least a coffee date. — Lauren Quinn

Love, relationships and independence — Rose Arnold and Lauren Quinn look at some of the pressures of career, family and finding that perfect match

Talking for Vietnam The presenter of Talk Vietnam on VTV4, Tran Thuy Duong has met victims of Agent Orange and interviewed James G. Zumwalt, author of Bare Feet, Iron Will and son of Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr, the American commander who approved the use of Agent Orange during the war. She has talked to ultra-poor farmers who scrape their livelihood from the Red River and to Phillip Noyce, director of A Quiet American. It seems she has talked to everyone. As the daughter of a diplomat, Duong spent much of her life between Vietnam and America. Hearing different people’s stories has given her new insight into her country. “I know I’m Vietnamese at heart, but I still sometimes feel displaced,” she says. “To meet people who are so attached to Vietnam shows me another perspective.” Now 25 years old, Duong’s next move is to head to England. There she will study broadcast journalism in more depth to help her in the career that she loves. She says it is a funny age for Vietnamese women, especially ones who are focused on a career, as women are expected to get married about now. “There is a lot of pressure on girls my age,” she explains. “Especially last year when we turned 24, it is supposedly a very good age to get married as it is the year of your sign.” Duong says it’s something that comes up a lot with her friends, about what is expected of them with regards to marriage and children, and what they want themselves. Many would be happy to put marriage off until later than their families would perhaps prefer. Balancing a career with the traditional role of a daughter-in-law is another consideration, as many successful women have busy schedules that are incompatible with looking after the whole family and with bringing up children. Duong would like to have a family, but she also loves her job and plans to work with VTV4 when she returns to Vietnam next year. “I do feel the pressure. But at this moment I’m just going to let life take me where it takes me and explore my way.” — Rose Arnold

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Wedding Rites — In Vietnam the average age for a woman to marry is 23. However there is a difference between the age in rural and urban Vietnam with women marrying younger in the countryside. — Worldwide the average age for a woman to marry correlates with life expectancy and factors such as education, income and health. All have increased over the past five decades. — Sweden is the country with the oldest average age for women to marry. Women first marry on average at age 32. However, women often live with partners and bear children without getting married. — Conforming to the norm…there is no country in the world where

statistically men get married younger than women. On average men usually first marry two to three years older than is the average for women, although in some countries the gap is greater. — The oldest couple to marry ever were an American couple, Forrest Lunsway and Rose Pollard. Having dated for 30 years she agreed she would marry him when he reached 100. — The Netherlands were the first country to legalise same sex marriage in 2001. — 10 countries have now fully legalised same sex marriage. Another 23 allow civil unions. Vietnam is currently considering the issue. — Rose Arnold

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y memories of dim sum buffets are of bright pink and red decorated ballrooms, lots of noise, carts pushed around by screaming waiters, hangovers, overeating, pointing and talking, and more overeating. All an experience not replicated by the dim sum buffet on the second floor of Sofitel Plaza — except for the overeating part, that is. Coloured in an attentive blend of soft yellows and whites within the straight posture of the Sofitel vibe, the dining area at Ming Palace may at first seemed buttoned up, but there is a warmth about this place, even during the quieter lunch scene. Perhaps this has something to do with the nature of eating dim sum. Whereas the trend in many top-end restaurants is to turn dishes that are meant to be shared into smaller and smaller portions, dim sum is for diners to feast as a family. The large round tables one sits down to at Ming invite families to feast. Our feast was admittedly indulgent. We ordered a total of 16 items off of the menu, the majority of those Chinese tapas-style dishes ending in the word dumpling. In addition to dumplings, we had soups (hot and sour, crab dumpling, and the daily special of chicken feet and shrimp), stir fried vegetables, braised tofu, duck vermicelli and dessert. Regarding the soups: the hot and sour was of a dark and smoky variety, the crab dumpling quite a large parcel, and the chicken feet tender, the meat and skin falling off their little rectangular bones. For dessert we had taro cream pudding, the longan almond jelly and tapioca in coconut milk. The fresh cream on top of the taro was a lovely touch, as was the bitterness of the almond jelly. Of the other non-dumpling nourishment, the duck vermicelli really is the only dish that deserves some note, with its flavoursome meat and highly fresh vegetables. But even this satisfying dish pales


Dim Sum to Die For

dumpling — juicy, gingery and deserving of a standing ovation. The chive and preserved egg dumpling was also a treat. We were expecting saltiness but instead we got a bite of curried pork and mushrooms, a pleasant surprise. And continuing with another moment of unexpected enjoyment was the baby dumpling found inside the deep fried carrot puff. Even though I’ve now eaten a deep fried carrot puff, I am not quite sure what it is other than a dish which is bewilderingly sweet. The only thing about Ming’s Palace for lunch is that it ruins the rest of the meals that you’ll THE PRICES have that day. Not every bite can possibly be as ADULTS: delightful, filled with the VND480,000 mystery and explosion PER PERSON of a dumpling done well. At a fixed and reasonable (VND550,000 ON price for the feast, it is SUNDAYS) certainly a place to go for a little indulging, CHILDREN: and certainly for a lot of VND315,000 enjoyment. EACH Ming Palace, 2nd Floor, (VND360,000 ON Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh. SUNDAYS)


Kem Ky and Kem Can

Our roving undercover reviewer heads to Ming Palace in the Sofitel Plaza to see if this recently refurbished Chinese restaurant lives up to its billing. Photos by Francis Roux

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in comparison to the fireworks packed inside the dumplings.

Dumpling Heaven The har kau, a staple of dim sum, is a bite full of shrimp. It is a bite that is big and rich and so chewy it made my eyes widen in that semi-stunned ‘are you guys tasting this too’? way. Another staple of dim sum, siew mai, is a more straightforward, comprehensible bite of meatball, yet what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in stability. Then onto the scallop dumpling with garlic. We ordered this dish twice it was so good. With a little white pillow of fresh scallop on top of a dense mix of scallop pie, this bite produced more than one muffled groan around our round table. When the waitress witnessed our enjoyment, she suggested another dumpling set that was promptly brought with our second order of scallops. Though we didn’t exactly know what it was, the mystery added to the melting-into-the-chair-with-pleasure effect. Because dumplings are little wrapped packages that your mouth opens with surprise anyway, not knowing adds to the fun. It turns out that the secret suggested dumpling was not actually a firecracker wrapped in wonton, but the Shanghai pork

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


13 11 10 FOOD




For today’s twenty-somethings, it’s not Kem Trang Tien that thaws youthful memories, but kem ky. Words by Huyen Tran. Photos by Francis Roux


any Hanoians born around the 1980s and early 1990s share a love for kem ky, a type of ice-cream they associate with being children and teenagers. Imported from Ho Chi Minh City, kem ky was widely distributed in the capital around the turn of the millennium. Usually served on a plate filled with colourful ice-cream slices, each a different fruit flavour, the ice-cream sellers would measure the weight of all the portions and then calculate the payment. This explains why it is called kem ky, icecream sold by the kilo. To many Hanoians, the Neopolitan-like kem ky paints a picture of their childhood. It’s not just the taste and the look, but the associations. This rainbow-coloured icecream was the reward for doing something good or getting high grades at school. Now only a decade later, it is impossible to find.

Kem Can One option for those craving some tastebud induced memory triggers is to go for kem can. Served at the Ice-Cream and Yoghurt Shop (29 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung)

and similar in both looks and name, kem can comes in a range of 10 different colours and fruit flavours. It’s also sold by weight, on how heavy each of the scoops are. “I was thinking of a name for the icecream when we first started selling it,” says Tuan, the shop’s owner. “My mother told me to measure its weight and use this method to charge diners. Suddenly I realized we could simply call the ice-cream kem can. It was easy and made so much sense.” According to Tuan, since both names indicate ice-cream sold by the kilo, people often mistake his ice-cream for kem ky Sai Gon, which he says is no longer produced in Hanoi. Some diners even tell him that the taste is the same. He disagrees. “Our ice-cream is not an imitation,” he explains. “While kem ky has a high proportion of flour, kem can is made from a formula created by my mother. She worked for 35 years as a technician for Trang Tien ice-cream company. The blend of flavours she uses is very Vietnamese — condensed milk, sugar and free-range eggs. Maybe it is the use of these ingredients that reminds people of kem ky.”

At Tuan’s ice-cream parlour, among the 10 kem can flavours available, jackfruit and durian are the two favourites. “20 years ago, my mother participated in an ice-cream competition in Hanoi,” he recalls. “She invented fresh jackfruit ice-cream by slicing jackfruit pieces and then putting them into the ice-cream. We decided to make our ice-cream in the same way, using fresh fruit rather than just flavouring.”

Memories I sit with Tuan in a small corner of his shop, eating ice-cream, transfixed on the bustling street life outside as the whole world seems to pass by. Suddenly Tuan starts, as if waking from a dream. He says: “I wonder if in 20 years, the kids of today will remember kem can as a part of their childhood in the same way that I remember kem ky?” Kem can is priced at VND50,000 per kilo. Tuan’s shop at 29 Lo Duc also sells yoghurt, caramel and siro ice-cream. Prices are from VND5,000 to VND10,000. The shop is open from 8am to 11pm.

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TMF GROUP Unit 06-023, 6th Floor, Prime Center Building, 53 Quang Trung, Ha Dong 8th Floor, 53 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3944 9733 39A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 2660 Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC, Tel: 3910 2262 TMF is headquartered in the Netherlands, with over 100 offices in 75 countries. Provides accounting, tax and payroll services. Also specialises in helping international investors establish a presence in Vietnam. This includes services such as incorporation of companies and representative offices, opening of bank accounts, licensing and tax stamps.

KPMG 16th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 1600 Worldwide firm specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and management consulting services. Also does executive search and selection.


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7th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem . Tel: 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.

THANG LONG AUDITING COMPANY 23 Tran Duy Hung, Trung Hoa, Cau Giay Tel: 4976 2055 A Vietnamese company with more than 30 representative branches outside of Hanoi, Thang Long provides a full range of services, including audit, accounting, tax, corporate secretarial and business consultancy.

TMF VIETNAM COMPANY LIMITED 2811, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 3910 922 With over 3,300 professionals working out

ADVERTISING & MARKETING CRUNCHY FROG 8 Xom Chua, Tay Ho, Tel: 01283 443579 Crunchy Frog is a personable and experienced western design and branding agency. They offer high quality creative and strategic solutions to both local and global clients. Services include research, brand and marketing strategy, and design of communications materials, brand identity, packaging and websites.

GREY GROUP 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 Founded in 1917 in New York, Grey is a full spectrum global communications company offering branding, advertising, marketing, digital, and PR, with offices in 100 countries. Grey is the only agency with a specialised HoReCa team. In Vietnam, the client roster includes Nike, Vinaphone, Levis, TNT, ESPN, Bayer, Samsung Mobile, BaoViet, P&G, BAT, and 35 other top local and international brands.

LEONITO 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 In addition to their own clients, Leonito works in partnership with the Grey Group, a major full-spectrum marketing and communications company with offices in nearly 100 countries. Services include research, branding, activations, events and public relations.

LEONITO MARKETING CONSULTING 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co Street, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 1459 Leonito develops marketing campaigns & behaviour change communications strategies for commercial brands and nongovernment organizations. Services: brand development; design & printing; gifts & premiums; marketing; public relations & events. Clients include multi-national brands and NGOs.

OGILVY & MATHER 8/F Tien Phong Newspaper Building, 15 Ho Xuan Huong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3822 3914 International marketing communications company that leverages the brands of

Level 8, 142 Le Duan, Dong Da Working from Vietnam to Australia, the Red team creates and shapes unique brand personalities to international and local brands. The team specialises in brand consultancy and marketing, regularly sharing industry trends, news and views at their blogsite, 3rd Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 6008 T&A is a marketing services company set up in Hanoi in 1995. Since then, they’ve offered their marketing services to several large overseas companies. They also work in co-operation with WPP, a world-wide brand communications firm.

BUSINESS CONSULTING BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, INC. Room 703, 7th Floor, MOF Project Building, No. 4, Lane 1, Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3971 9662 A US-based private consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton is one of the most notable names in the business. This firm has a long track record of assisting governments and multi-nationals in risk assessment and mission development.

DELOITTE 8 Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da, Tel: 3852 4123 One of the Big Four, this firm offers a broad range of audit, tax, consulting, risk, and financial advice to businesses. Over 182,000 employees in more than 150 countries, Deloitte serve more than 80 percent of the world's largest companies, Vietnam now being one of them.

DICKERSON KNIGHT GROUP 33A Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 2692 Established in 1991, this international firm has extensive experience in emerging markets. Their speciality is in providing advisory and training products to private sector enterprises and NGOs.

ERNST & YOUNG Daeha Business Centre, 15th Floor, 360 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh, Tel: 4831 5100 Provides a broad spectrum of services to help businesses capitalize on opportunities for growth, improve financial performance and manage risk. Works with a range of firms including private, stateowned and foreign.

T&C INVESTMENT HOLDING L3-14 Thuy Khue. Ba Dinh, Tel: 3728 0776 A well-known Vietnamese conglomerate of companies operating since 1994, T&C’s focus is on providing internationalstandard consultation to engineering and

business infrastructure projects. They also provide market research consulting.

BUSINESS GROUPS AMCHAM M Floor, Business Center, Hilton Hanoi Opera, 1 Le Thanh Tong. Tel: 3934 2790 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.

AUSCHAM Room 2707, 1010 Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: 3562 5786 ext. 107 An organisation bringing together Australian companies and individuals doing business in Vietnam, the Australian Chamber of Commerce offers advice on doing business. Also offers networking opportunities and social events.

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP OF VIETNAM 193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 0906 240159 The first foreign business group to set up in Vietnam, BBGV’s goal is to both promote the interests of its members as well as the more general interests of British business. Organises business luncheons and seminars as well as regular social and networking events.

ICHAM Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3715 2393 The Chamber has the main purpose of undertaking activities to support com-


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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.


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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.

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business mercial exchanges with Italy and to assist economic agents, as well as to foster the development 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.

LAC VIET COMPUTING CORP Hanico Building 110 Thai Thinh, Dong Da Tel: 3512 1846 Since its founding in 1994, professional services and innovative solutions has led LAC VIET to a recognized position of leadership in Vietnam. LAC VIET employs more than 400 professionals in IT services and product development. LAC VIET is a certified MicrosoftTM Gold Partner; CiscoTM Premier Reseller; Dell Distributor and Authorised Service Provider(DASP).

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

EUROCHAM G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 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.

NORDCHAM Suite 504, Thanh Ha Building, Linh Dam Tel: 3641 6864. Provides support to Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise and experience.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Business Center, Ground Floor, Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Dong Da, Tel: 4772 0833 An association that actively fosters business relations with other business communities while promoting social, cultural, recreational, educational and charitable activities.

COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY NOI PICTURES 25/158 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3747 8611 Photography and film agency specialising in commercial assignments, stock photography and production services in Vietnam. Has a number of mainly overseas photographers in their books both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


REGAL PREMIUMS 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 0685 7167 Regal Premiums produces trendy corporate gifts, premiums gifts, promotional gifts and branded mass giveaway items. Professional team helps with design to fit your brand and production and logistics to fit your budget.

HOUSING & REAL ESTATE CB RICHARD ELLIS (VIETNAM) CO., LTD 6 Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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 9th floor, Vinaplast, Tai Tam Building, 39A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 5888 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.

DALUVA HOME 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho 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.


residential addresses by providing high quality architecture, residential design, interior design, commercial consultancy, marketing and branding solutions. A onestop-shop to finance, design, brand and build for the finest residential products.

VIETNAM LAND 38 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3787 0188 Vietnam Land was incorporated in Vietnam in 2002 as a commercial and residential real estate services, real estate property management and real estate development company. Since that time Vietnam Land has successfully developed two residential towers at the Chelsea Park project in Hanoi and a residential land sales project in Hung Yen province called Villa Park.

INSURANCE AIG Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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.


Quang Trung Building, Room 203, 39 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0983 336336 This company can assist you in finding an apartment that meets your living and budget requirements. Though they specialise in high-end, high-rise apartments, they do have a range of options. The website contains most listings.

CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: 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.



40 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem UK real estate agent providing a wide range of services including property sale, lease, management, price appraisal, counselling and market research.

16th Floor, Hoa Binh International Towers, 106 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay Tel: 3755 7111 Provides a quality range of insurance services to both commercial enterprises and individuals. Coverage includes property, liability, business interruption, marine cargo, automobile, home and travel, as well as expat healthcare packages. Toll free hotline in Vietnam: 1 800 599 998.

MEGALAND 2nd Floor, 43 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 5556 Specialising in meeting housing needs of expatriates and overseas Vietnamese, Megaland offers a wide range of serviced apartments, villas and commercial spaces.

SAVILLS VIETNAM 6th floor, Sentinel Place, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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.

TAN LONG HOUSING Moongate Building, 5th & 6th Floor, 107 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho , Tel: 3719 9864 Tan Long has been concentrating on assisting individuals in the process of buying, selling and renting property in Hanoi since 1999. They also have several branch offices, and a useful website that can help to fill residential or commercial needs.

THREE TEMPLES 73B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3747 3366 Three Temples is a full-service, design-led property development and marketing company that specialises in creating

PRUDENTIAL 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 5999 Operating in Vietnam since 1995, has over 70 customer care centers throughout the country.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI CMC Tower, Duy Tan, Cau Giay Tel: 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.

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

KINDERWORLD INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra Tel: 3743 0306 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 7243 Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the assistance of a Vietnamese teacher according to the teacher-student ratio. KinderWorld provides pre school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.

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

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SSCHOOL 2D Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 46 Van Bao, 726 1601, Block C3, Ciputra Tel: 3758 2664 An international school with an excellent record in a host of countries around the world, now available to those in Hanoi within its salubrious surrounds in Ciputra.

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS) Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho Tel: 3758 1551 With more than 800 students from 50 different countries, UNIS is a non-profit 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.

INVESTMENT & FINANCE DRAGON CAPITAL 11th Floor, Hanoi Lake View Bldg, 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho, Tel: 3936 0203 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 with total group assets in excess of US$2 billion. Has offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and the UK.

INDOCHINA CAPITAL Floors 9-9A, 60 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3930 6399 A leading investment firm operating in the ASEAN region with a particular focus on Vietnam. Assists partners, co-investors and clients to achieve financial objectives while focusing on four core areas: corporate finance and advisory services, investment management and real estate development.


12th Floor, HAREC Building, 4A Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4888 A private equity firm which focuses on the growth equity of companies in the developing Vietnamese economy.

SG VIETFRANCE VIT Tower, 18th Floor, 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 2220 8979 The Vietnamese subsidiary of France’s Societe Generale, the company recently opened a Hanoi. This was the first financial company in Vietnam to focus entirely on consumer credit.

TOTAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: 3820 0623. TWM provides information related to inter-country personal financial planning. They will walk you through the solutions and products available and will constantly monitor and manage your portfolio through opportunity and instability in global financial markets.

VIET TIN FINANCIAL CO. 1st & 2nd Floor, 40 Pho Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3941 1566. A locally based securities and stock brokerage firm whose stated mission is to provide valued returns to partners and shareholders.

VINACAPITAL 5th Floor, Sun City Building, 13 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3936 4630 A leading investment fund management company with extensive experience in the emerging Vietnam market. Manages the Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF), which is a an investment fund currently listed on the London Stock Exchange.

LANGUAGE SCHOOLS APOLLO 67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3943 2051 Established in 1994, Apollo offers highquality 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.

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

CLEVERLEARN Building 3, 2C Diplomatic Compound, Van Bao, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3726 1698 With two main schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Cleverlearn offers mainly conversational and business English courses. An authorised in iBT test site by the ETS.

LANGUAGE LINK VIETNAM 62 Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3733 8402 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 ALLENS ARTHUR ROBINSON Suite 401, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3936 0990 Australian law firm working in Asia for over 30 years. Besides providing the standard legal services to corporate clients, has an excellent website containing the Vietnam Laws Online Database English translations of over 3,000 Vietnamese laws. Also publishes a monthly Vietnam Legal Update.

BAKER & MCKENZIE 13th Floor, Vietcombank Tower, 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 1428 One of the first international law firms to establish representative offices in Vietnam, Baker & McKenzie provide onthe-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating,

negotiating and implementing projects in the country.

FRASERS LAW COMPANY Unit 1205, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3946 1203 As the first legal firm licensed as a foreign law company in Vietnam, Frasers provides legal advice on all areas of business and commerce within the country. They provide international legal advice in a Vietnamese context, and are ranked in the top tier of international law firms practising in this jurisdiction.

FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER #05-01 International Centre, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3824 7422 This law firm works in 19 countries and is one of the world’s largest. They regularly advise large clients on international investment, banking and finance.

GIDE LOYRETTE NOUEL A.A.R.P.I. Pacific Place, Suite 505 – 507, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 2350 A leading international law firm with 24 offices worldwide including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnam offices offer their clients (companies and international institutions) high quality services which combine legal expertise and a highly commercial approach to clients’ needs, across all sectors of business law.

J&P LAW LLC Room 1204B, Floor 12, Tower B, Handi Resco Tower, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3724 5201 This Korean law firm offers international legal services and has additional branches in Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing and Ulaanbaatar. The Vietnam offices provide high-quality legal services in English, Korean, and Vietnamese across all sectors of business law.

LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF THE CITY OF HANOI 35 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da Tel: 3835 3548 The Lawyer’s Association is a collective of Vietnamese lawyers speicialising in many fields. They can provide legal and representation services.

ROUSE LEGAL (HANOI BRANCH) 7th Floor, VIT Building, 519 Kim Ma, Dong Da Tel: 3577 0479 Rouse is an international intellectual property law firm. From HCMC and Hanoi we advise on protection and enforcement of trade marks, patents, copyright and domain names; commercial IP, IP management/strategy.

RUSSIN & VECCHI 11/F, Hanoi Central Office Bldg., Suite 1104, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 3825 1700 A financial law firm which focuses on commercial and investment matters for corporate clients. In some cases they can provide assistance to individual clients.

MANAGEMENT TRAINING BRITISH UNIVERSITY VIETNAM 193 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 7596 The first university offering prestigious UK degrees in Vietnam. Courses offered in 2010 include International Business Administration, Banking & Finance, Accounting & Finance, Marketing Management, Accounting & Business. Pre-university courses are also available.

G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: 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.

RMIT Hanoi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3726 1460. A leading international provider of skills training and professional staff development, RMIT offers both short and longterm 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: 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.

INDOCHINA RESEARCH 7th Floor, 73 Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4661. Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina. Focus is on developing partnerships that leverage their market knowledge and on enhancing their client’s competitive position in the region.

THE NIELSEN COMPANY 3rd floor, 85 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3933 1161 . Media company offering integrated marketing and media measurement information and analytics. Offers full service capability across qualitative, quantitative, media and retail measurement for FMCGs, consumer products, finance, telecoms and more.

VINALINK 11th Floor, Lang Ha Building, 14 Lang Ha, Dong Da, Tel: 3772 4234 Specialising in online survey-based market research, Vinalink is a subcontractor for a few global market research firms, including CALEB Global and Pulse Group.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MEDIA ONE Rm 207, 40A Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3939 3966. PR company with offices both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Focuses mainly on the Telecom and IT industries, providing a range of services including events, product activation, consulting, marketing and advertising.

PIONEER COMMUNICATIONS Floor 6, 58 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3945 4398. Pioneer Communications is one of the leading agencies in providing integrated marketing and public relations solutions for businesses and organiastions in Vietnam.

TQPR Room 109, House K, 7, 2ha, Vinh Phuc Ward, Ba Dinh., Tel: 32474 028 One in a group of companies from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, the company offers international standard consultancy services and value-added

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business results to local, regional and global clients.

VENUS COMMUNICATIONS 4 Da Tuong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3944 7066 Well-known PR and communications company with offices in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Offers the full range of PR, advertising and consultancy services.

RECRUITMENT & HR AON VIETNAM LIMITED 14th Floor, Vietcombank Tower, 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 0832 Founded in Vietnam in 1994, among other things, Aon now concentrates on human capital consulting, assisting their clients with compensation, benefit analyses and outsourcing.

HR2B Suite A6, 3rd Floor, Horison Office Center, 40 Cat Linh, Dong Da , Tel: 3736 6843 The forte of this company is placing highly talented Vietnamese and expat candidates into executive positions at medium to large companies. Rapidly growing, in the past years they’ve added Coca Cola, DHL and Prudential to their client list.

MANPOWER VIETNAM 12th Floor, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung , Tel: 3974 4574 Established in Vietnam at the beginning of 2008, Manpower is the first global recruitment company to set up locally. Offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle.

NAVIGOS GROUP Suite 1401, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung , Tel: 3974 3033 Adept at solving human resource challenges through excellence in matching and management talent. Has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 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. 3A Alley, 49 Huynh Thuc Khang, Tel: 3773 7191 Established in 2000, Resident Vietnam was the first dedicated Expatriate Service Provider in Vietnam. Resident Vietnam provides full relocation and immigration management services to several multinational companies in Vietnam and ser vices the Global Mobility industry.


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.

DALUVA HOME 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 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: 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.



CROWN RELOCATION SERVICES 95E Ly Nam De, Ba Dinh , Tel: 3936 6741 Offering both family and corporate relocation services locally and internationally, Crown prides themselves on being a kidfriendly company.

IMAGE GROUP HOUSING No 17 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 4375 A one-stop housing service that specialises in relocation, trained professionals can take care of housing rentals, short and

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8 Cat Linh, Dong Da, Tel: 6275 2824 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. Inland Customs Depot Area (ICD), Pham Hung, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: 3768 5882 Asian Tigers Group is committed to its mission of moving households without disruption to family life. They also offer pre-move advice regarding customs and shipping.



Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Union Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0908 096222 Santa Fe Relocation Services offers moving, home search, pet transport, orientation and immigration services. We are proud to be the only moving company with both ISO 9001 – 14001 certification in Vietnam.


$$$ 4 Phan Boi Chau, Tel: 063 357 8888 Ideally situated in the centre of Dalat, this hotel has 71 rooms, all with good views, and modern amenities, including flatscreen TVs and DSL connections. Also has a heated swimming pool, gym, spa, and prices to match. CREDIT


$ 151 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel: 063 383 3748 The excellent value at this small private place has made it justifiably popular. You get a large room with cable TV, free breakfast and Internet access, starting from $10 per night. The staff are friendly, too. Just round the corner are bike rentals (watch those hills) and other tour facilities.


SEDONA SUITES No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 0888 175 well-designed, furnished apartments and villas combining the comforts of home with the conveniences of a fine hotel.

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


$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat , Tel: 063 382 2663 You get door-to-door service from Saigon at this budget hotel – it has links with the Sinh Cafe people and this is where their



34B Tran Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3733 0030 A building with a great location, and some of the largest apartments you’ll find. The Mayfair is popular among the diplomatic and international business communities.



long term as well as car rentals. They also have an extension showroom for furniture rental and custom furniture, making your transition as easy as possible.


BELOW VND630,000


VND651,000 TO VND1,680,000


VND1,701,000 TO VND3,171,000

$$$$ ABOVE VND3,171,000



providing cruise services for travelers with a mid-range budget.

visit for a comprehensive list of our listings NHA TRANG 075 NORTH-EAST 075 NORTH-WEST 075 PHAN THIET / MUI NE 076 PHU QUOC 076 SAPA 076 TAM DAO 077 TRAVEL SERVICES 077



$$$ 10 Halong Road, Halong , Tel: 0333 849 009 Close to the pier and the new bridge, what this hotel lacks in character is made up for in cleanliness and comfort. There are 184 rooms priced between VND2 million and VND6 million. Other facilities include indoor pool, health club and sauna.



$$$ 8 Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong Tel: 0333 845810, One of the many large tower-type hotels in Halong City, Halong Plaza has pretty much everything you’d expect from a 4-star hotel. 200 rooms, a bar and a restaurant that touts its seafood and barbecue.



bus stops. Apart from that convenience, it is a fairly basic hotel, but it’s right in the middle of town.


$$$ Son Tra, Dien Ngoc Coastal Street Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son, Tel: 0511 396 1800 With six different styles of villa units that offer views of the ocean, the mountains and a green of a golf course, the Danang Beach Resort is one of the most luxurious places to stay in this much overlooked city. The property also offers 33-storey twin towers housing a five-star hotel and golf courses adding up to 36 holes. CREDIT


$$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh. Tel: 0333 848108 Located three hours from Hanoi, the beachfront Novotel Ha Long Bay is in close proximity to major attractions such as bay cruises and local markets. Featuring 214 rooms, one restaurant, two bars and one professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, including a pool with swim-up bar overlooking the limestone bay. Ideal for business travel or family holidays.



$$$ This resort is on a private island just off of Cat Ba Island. Around VND600,000 will

get you a comfortable room in a bungalow close to the beach. Fee also includes the boat ride from Cat Ba. For more information check on the web.


$ 39 Vuon Dao, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 846009 Found just outside Halong City on Bai Chay beach, this is clean, honest accommodation for a reasonable price. Located on “Hotel Alley”, there are a lot of options here. The rooms are fairly well looked after and clean. You can usually get one for under VND400,000, but prices vary depending on the season.


$ Nui Ngoc, Cat Ba Island, Tel: 0313 888899 This is one of the better hotels on Cat Ba Island. Large, clean rooms with all the modern conveniences, as well as a restaurant and a popular bar. The front desk can also arrange tailor-made tours around the bay.



$$$$ 66 Pho Ha Long, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848999. The four-star Royal Hotel boasts villas, well-landscaped gardens and a pool, all overlooking Halong Bay. Just two minutes walk from Bai Chay, the property has a resort feel and the rooms are housed in several buildings. If you’re feeling lucky, there’s also a ‘Gaming Club’.


$$ 42 Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 384 2444 One of the best of the town’s best budget

hotels, the aircon old but clean rooms come in all shapes and sizes and have satellite TV, a fridge and a mini bar. The front-desk staff speaks English and can help sort out any travel arrangements. Rates from around VND250,000 per night.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong Tel: 0313 880 888 Located 100km east of Hanoi, the fourstar Best Western Pearl River Hotel is the only internationally branded hotel in Hai Phong. All 101 suites and rooms offer bathrobe and slippers, digital safety box, free internet access, satellite TV and 24-hour room service. Facilities include the Jade restaurant, offering western and Asian fare, several bars, a deluxe spa and fitness center with separate hot and cold Jacuzzis, sauna, steam room, relax lounge and VIP massage room.



$$$ 4 Tran Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 382 7827 Hai Phong’s most prestigious address, this cool, retro French-colonial style property is the only international standard hotel in town. Designed with panache without being pretentious, room rates at this 122-unit property start at around VND2.5 million.



$$$ 60A Pho Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 384 2706, One of the larger hotels in town, Huu Nghi offers some of the comforts you might miss at the other places. In addition to the clean up-to-standard rooms, the hotel also has a swimming pool and tennis courts.


$$ 3K Ly Tu Trong, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 374 6540 New and tidy, with cable TV and airconditioning, Maxim is one of the best mini hotels in town. Rooms are small but have good modern conveniences like satellite TV and new, clean bathrooms done in designer tiles. Room rates around VND250,000 to VND300,000 a night.

MONACO HOTEL 103 Pho Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 374 6468 One of the more modern hotels on Dien Bien Phu Street, the prices here are competitive and it’s possible to request a room with a kitchen. Standards with aircon and a TV start at VND350,000 per night.


$$$ Lot X7, Le Duc Tho, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: 6270 6688. My Dinh’s first five-star property. This 24-storey mixed-use complex lies next to My Dinh National Stadium and close to the National Convention Centre. Boasting 393 guest rooms (including 40 suites), two swimming pools and a spa and fitness centre, Crowne Plaza also has some of the best meetings and conference facilities in town. CREDIT



$$$ 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.

BAI TU LONG ECOTOURISM RESORT $ Halong Commune, Van Don , Tel: 0333 793156 Stay in a beachside bungalow or a traditional resort-style hotel on the shores of Van Don Island. Bai Tu Long Bay is situated just up the coast from Halong City. The staff here can help you arrange tours that will offer scenery a bit different than the standard tours of 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. CREDIT


$$$$ 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. CREDIT

HAI LONG JUNKS, HALONG BAY 32 Anh Dao, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 846099 Hai Long Junks is one of the three largest cruise operators in Halong Bay. The company boasts 11 overnight cruise vessels with a total of 160 cabins and 15 traditional junks with capacities from 25-48 passengers each for day trippers,

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$$$ 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. CREDIT



$$$$ 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 8877 A good alternative to staying at a five-star hotel while you’re in the capital, Fraser Suites offers short-term stays for as little as VND2.5 million a night when they’re having a promotion. In the West Lake area, you can expect the gold-standard service with a quiet atmosphere and excellent views.


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 3928 6969, With 55 rooms and suites, the four-star Golden Silk Boutique Hotel, which is located in the centre of the Old Quarter, is the only hotel offering a complimentary (free!) and daily replenished minibar and snacks service in every room. Facilities include a spa with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, a comprehensive range of business amenities, the Orient restaurant, serving international and Vietnamese fare, and the Rendezvous Piano Bar with wines and cocktails. CREDIT



$$$$ 1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem , Tel: 3933 0500 Located next to the Opera House, this fivestar is not to be confused with the famed “Hanoi Hilton” that housed American POWs. Reproduction colonial architecture is matched by an elegant and spacious inside area. Has all the standard facilities of a top-end hotel as well as an attractive, courtyard pool area.



$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3733 0808 This 250-room hotel no longer boasts the sparkle of a few years ago, but nonetheless has good quality rooms with all the mod-cons and a cavernous lobby. Decent but slightly old gym area and a good outdoor pool.



$$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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.



$$$ 17A Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3734 9988 A contemporary boutique hotel a stone’s throw from Hang Cot in the Old Quarter. Colonial era accents throughout and an oriental themes lobby. 32 upmarket rooms and an intimate top class restaurant make this a strong contender in an area with plenty of competition.



$$$$ 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-ofthe-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make inhouse guests satisfied.


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, home-style Vietnamese fare is served up with fresh fruit juices and Lavazza coffee.


$$$ 38 & 23 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 2222 Two mid-range hotels situated in the heart of Hanoi,just 150 meters from Hoan Kiem Lake. Built using a blend of western and oriental architecture, the properties have 28 and 35 rooms respectively, all with mod-cons. For a bit more luxury stay at the Giabao Grand. CREDIT



$$$ 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3944 7766 When your train arrives from Sapa at 5am, you will be overjoyed if your bed is just across the street from the station in one of the 102 spacious rooms at this smart hotel. A stone’s throw from both the Old Quarter and the Temple of Literature, Mercure Hanoi boasts a French brasserie, an internal courtyard, a fitness centre and a retail outlet of wine importer and distributor Da Loc.

$$ 32 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8583 The interesting arty decor of this place is a bonus, as is its value for money – it’s not often you pay under VND1 million for a modern hotel room slap bang in the middle of town. Try to get a front room (with balcony) to look out over the bustling Old Quarter. They’ve also opened a second Golden Lotus just down the street at number 39.





$$$$ 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.

$$ 38 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 8500 One of the only hotels in the Old Quarter to have a balcony with each room, this new boutique is middle of the range but feels higher. Run by Australian expats and partners with a wealth of experience in the hotel industry, expect great service. Awesome western breakfasts and Vietnamese lunch and dinners. The top floor honeymoon suite has perfect views of St Josephs Cathedral.


$$ 5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1048, Just to the side of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, this is a well-appointed, comfortable boutique hotel. Brightly decorated, the property’s 10 rooms have Wi-Fi, flatscreen TV and a mini bar. Prices start at VND650,000 a night. No smoking except for on the upstairs balconies.



$$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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 night. CREDIT


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$$$$ 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. CREDIT




$$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 04 3938 0999 Just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, this boutique hotel is fitted with 33 comfortable guest rooms, 18 deluxe, and four luxurious suites. All rooms have wi-fi access, and the cozy lobby has both a gallery and a piano bar. Prices range from VND2.5 million for a guest room to VND4.5 million for a suite. CREDIT



$$$ 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.


$$$ 1C Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3824 4775 This hotel houses 71 spacious, comfortable rooms all equipped with high speed CREDIT

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.



$$$ 4 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3934 1256 A mid-size boutique hotel with a prime location, Zephyr offers a range of packages and special offers on rooms that are clean and stylish. The lobby boasts a coffee house and restaurant with both Asian and Western Cuisine.



$$ 44 Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3824 3667 Basic rooms and friendly service at this well-known hotel. One of six properties of the same name in Hanoi, internet terminals are located in the lobby, and the property also offers a host of tour itineraries. Rooms vary in price from VND500,000 to VND700,000. Some of their other locations are more budget-friendly.


$ 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.


$$$ 34 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 5053 With four locations right in the Old Quarter, this is a good option close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Friendly staff can help you with any detail like renting a car, motorbike, or bicycle. Rooms are compact, with small but clean bathrooms, and all have the quality amenities of a proper hotel. Either ADSL or Wi-Fi connections available. Some of the locations include sauna, steam bath and fitness facilities






$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 3920 6992 You’ll need your laptop to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi offered in every room and you’ll probably be impressed with the low price, friendly welcome and well-appointed, clean rooms. A modern oasis just a few steps from the street-level mayhem of the backpacker area.

$$$ 46 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1. Tel: 3822 7926 You can’t get much more central than Ben Thanh Market and this modern hotel (one of many in the area) offers every amenity you would expect from a mid-range hotel while keeping its prices close to budget level. The staff are friendly and helpful.


$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5 Tel: 3839 7777 Big and businesslike, with seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting and function rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. Also boasts the biggest banquet facilities in the city.

$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1. Tel: 3822 8888 Its list of former guests ranges from U.S. presidents – two Bushes, one Clinton – to Korean teeny bop sensation Rain. If Knut the polar bear came to town, he’d probably stay here. It’s an ongoing event as well as a hotel. Fends off newer, glitzier competitors to hold its place as one of the best luxury stops in town





$ 171A Co Bac, Q1, Tel: 3837 8885 A place for exchanging views as well as sleeping, with its communal kitchen and TV room, this venue ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, cleanliness and amenities. A stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.


$$$$ 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: 3520 9999 Luxury accommodation with a stylish club Lounge boasting panoramic views, as well as the finest meeting and banquet facilities in town – all designed with the savvy traveller in mind. The 21-floor tower includes 305 elegantly appointed rooms, including 18 suites and a Presidential Suite. CREDIT




$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1. Tel: 3824 1234 Fabulous-looking hotel in a prime location, with an attractive lobby bar and all the attention to detail you would expect from the Hyatt. But wait, there’s more. The Square One restaurant has garnered an excellent reputation and the Xuan Spa by the landscaped pool is unbeatable.



$$$ 323 Le Van Sy, Q3. Tel: 3843 9999 A 4-star business class hotel, The Ramana Hotel boasts 293 guestrooms and suites and offers a complete range of service facilities including a Business Centre, a well-equipped Fitness Room, an outdoor swimming pool and the Sawasdee Health

Club, The hotel is situated in District 3 – an area of Ho Chi Minh City only 2 km from the city centre and 3 km from the airport.

between the town and the beach, with comfortable air-conditioned rooms and pleasant staff.



$$$$ 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1. Tel: 3822 0033 If you’ve never swum in a pool 21 floors up, you could rectify that at this luxury hotel by the Saigon River. As you would expect from a Marriott property, there’s plenty more here to appreciate – the full range of fitness, spa and business facilities plus one of the best-regarded Chinese restaurants in the city. CREDIT




$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1. Tel: 3827 2828 Sheraton has bagged one of the best locations in town and made the most of it, with its usual mix of luxurious rooms and first-class facilities topped by an open-air restaurant 23 floors above the city. The conference and business facilities are unmatched – the enormous ballroom is just one of 17 meeting venues.


$$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: 3824 1555 True class on an attractive (and historic) street, offering a mix of rooms and suites, top-notch facilities, and restaurant cuisine which can match anything in the city. Without a doubt one of the nicest places to stay in the city. CREDIT


$$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang Tel: 3821 1888 (HCMC office) Among the first resorts to open in the country, this venue still scores highly because of its stunning beachside location allied to some indulgent touches – the smallest room measures 40 square metres – and a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar.


$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 386 2231 Pleasant, small, family-run hotel with a spacious and faintly colonial air located


$$$$ Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang Tel: 0511 393 8888 With its own private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula, the Bill Bensley-designed InterContinental Danang is nestled within one of the region’s most exquisite locations. All 197 of the resort’s rooms, suites and beachfront villas are designed to take full advantage of their location and panoramic South China Sea views. Large terraces and shuttered windows elevate private living spaces that draw in the surrounding jungle and crystal bay, and add depth to the already large rooms that start from 70sqm.


$ 73 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An Tel: 0510 386 1453 Boasts that it is just 0.025km from the city centre, which translates into being an excellent base for exploring the old town. Added to that, you get simple and comfortable rooms for around VND400,000.


$ 58 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3928 8648 Spacious rooms with ADSL broadband connections starting at around VND600,000 a night. The rooms at the front are more expensive, and breakfast is included. The staff speak good English and are very helpful. Has a number of sister hotels in town, two of which are located next to the cathedral. The third is on Tue Tinh, close to Lenin Park. Check the website for details.



$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 , Tel: 3823 4999 The only hotel in Vietnam to make the Robb Report’s 2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels. Facilities include the popular ninth-floor Saigon Saigon bar, Nineteen and Reflections restaurants, Club Vegas for a flutter, a swimming pool seven floors up and Qi salon and spa.



$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3829 9201 Fêted in literature and film, this huge old hotel with huge old rooms stands at the absolute centre of town and is the best of the Saigon Tourist chain. Hard to beat on charm, and a favourite with tour groups, this would be one of your first choices if you wanted to impress a newcomer to the city.

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AIRLINES AIR ASIA 25 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 5351

AIR FRANCE First Floor, 1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 3484

AIR MEKONG 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 37186 399

AMERICAN AIRLINES 99 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3933 0330

CATHAY PACIFIC G/F, Hanoi Tower, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7298

CHINA AIRLINES 4th Floor, Opera Business Center, 6B Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 6364

EVA AIR 2nd Floor,17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 1600

JAPAN AIRLINES 5th Floor, 63 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6693

destination LIFE RESORT HOI AN

$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 391 4555 Recently refurbished after a recent flood, this award-winning resort is located close to the charm and bustle of the Old Town and maintains an emphasis on wellness and pampering. Its spa combines the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.



$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 0510 394 0000, Setting the standard for luxury resorts in Vietnam, the Nam Hai is the ultimate relaxation space. Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each massive room comes with its own espresso machine, pre-programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers. Entire villas, spa villas and pool villas complexes are also available for rent and each villa has a view of the sea. A great place to forget about the city.


Tel: 0510 392 7040 Pull up some (private) beach and relax, at this unique and charming resort, which has been laid out to replicate a traditional fishing village with small streets, ponds and village houses. The Annam Asian restaurant overlooks the sea, there’s also a spa, Thai or Swedish massage, and fitness centre.



KOREAN AIR 2nd Floor, VIT, 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3934 7247

LAO AIRLINES 40 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 5362

LOT AIRLINES R402, 4th floor, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da Tel: 3577 2202

MALAYSIA AIRLINES Somerset Grand Hanoi, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 8820

SINGAPORE AIRLINES International Centre, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 8888

THAI AIRWAYS 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7921


VIETNAM AIRLINES 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200

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$$$$ Thuan An Town, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam, Tel: 08 6291 3030 Located on Thuan An Beach, a 20-minute drive from central Hue, the five-star Ana Mandara is the only beach resort with pool villas in the area. The property has a total of 78 rooms and villas, including beach pool villas, beach villas, duplex rooms and deluxe rooms in a wide range of styles and decor designed with modern facilities. Offers private rice paddy dinners, beach BBQs and cruises through the local fish farms.

PHUNG MOTORBIKE RENTAL & SALES 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 253491 Well-maintained motorbikes for hire at reasonable rates, plus servicing and repairs for modern and vintage bikes.

QUAN’S MOTORBIKE & BICYCLE RENTALS 70 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 244941 Standard rental shop doing hire by the day and by the month.

VIETNAM MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES 36 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem (down alley in between No. 34 & No. 36) Tel: 3904 5049 Bespoke motorbike tours, rental of automatic and manual bikes plus repairs.

VIP BIKE RENTALS 64, Alley 71 Tan Ap, Tay Ho (off Tan Ap Street, close to Sofitel Plaza) Tel: 0914 931390 Bike rentals and repairs. Good reputation. Formerly part of the Blue Dragon Foundation.


$$$ Poom Village, Mai Chau, Tel: 0912 320990 One of the larger stilt houses in Poom Village, the bamboo floor you can expect to sleep on is more comfortable than you might expect, and this house has a pleasant view of a lotus pond. Like at all the other stilt houses here, drink and dance can be arranged.



$ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue, Tel: 054 382 6561 An excellent option for those on a tight budget, with a comfortable room plus balcony and satellite TV coming in at around VND200,000. An additional bonus is the pleasantness of the staff.




$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue, Tel: 054 388 2222 One of the best hotels in the city, and certainly in the most convenient downtown location, this high-rise hotel has luxurious rooms with great city views, a selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa. You can even hire your own butler. Internet rates start at VND2.4 million ++ for a deluxe city view room.



$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 054 383 7475 Built around a core of the former colonial governor’s mansion, and maintained in nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s unique experiences. With ceiling fans and dark-stained wood furnishings, this is traditional Indochine at its best. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you have a heady mix. $$$ Tel: 0510 354 5105, If you’re looking for something a bit different, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai, with just a dozen traditional-looking (but modern) villas with private gardens and true tropical ambience may be the answer. There is endless beach, a swimming pool, and a restaurant to take advantage of the fresh seafood. CREDIT

106 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912 094464


$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh, Tel: 018 382 5662 This eco-village in Hoa Binh caters to visitors in search of nature. 30 rooms of varying design in ten houses are surrounded by rice fields, lakes and hills. Has its own spa and restaurant.



and is the only luxury accommodation in Quang Binh, about 150 miles from Hue. An ideal base for trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Phong Nha caves.


$ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 054 382 6736 A budget option which offers a reliable and acceptable level of comfort for the sub-VND400,000 price with the additional benefit of being near the Perfume River and having attentive service.


$$$$ 130 Minh Mang, Hue. Tel: 054 388 5461 A collection of rustic villas located in the countryside close to Hue and its historical landmarks. Villas range from the traditional Vietnamese pool house to the family bungalow. The boutique, imperial-era Vietnam styled resort also holds cooking classes, makes tour arrangements and has an on-site spa.



$$ My Canh, Bao Ninh, Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Tel: 052 384 2999, This top-end resort offers elegant, comfortable pool villas and bungalows,

At the farthest end of town, Mai Chau Tel: 0218 386 7262 This hotel seems to offer bare-bones amenities, but if you don’t fancy sleeping on the rattan floor of a stilt house, this is a couple good steps above, and the rooms are quite inexpensive. Be prepared for the noise from the karaoke bars which surround the place.



$$$ Tel: 0218 386 8959, If real comfort is what you want, this is surely the best bet in Mai Chau. The rooms are modern and classy, with room service, sauna and internet connections. The newly built Water Lily Cottage offers a luxury version of the house on stilts. Give a call for exact directions, or you can check their website.

MAI CHAU NATURE PLACE House 38, Ban Lac Village, Tel: 3938 1443 A perfect mix between a home-stay experience and comfortable hotel. The private rooms are beautifully quaint while the communal sleeping option is more typical of rural lodges. Both options come with modern and clean bathrooms, traditional home-cooked meals, free bicycles and friendly, in-the-know, staff.


$$$$ House 100, Quarter 2, Mai Chau, Tel: 0218 386 7340 If a sturdy bed is what you crave, this might be your answer. The rooms are large and clean, with a working television and shower with hot water. Might not be the Hilton, but for an aching back it’s a step above a bamboo floor and a mat.


$ 128 Le Hong Phong, Ninh Binh, Tel: 030 387 1811 Refurbished in 2004, this has big, clean rooms that are great value for the money. There is an in-house restaurant that will make it redundant to eat elsewhere. Prices range from VND100,000 to VND400,000 for a double deluxe room. The staff speak very good English.


$$ 55A Truong Han Sieu, Ninh Binh. Tel: 030 387 1602 This hotel is slightly more expensive than its neighbors, but the reason is apparent once you walk in. The rooms in the newer building are especially nice and, together with the better than decent restaurant downstairs, this one can make for a good stop over.


$$$$ Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 058 352 2222 There’s a generous 2.6 hectares of private beachside garden to get lost in here, and much to marvel at, with villa-style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, verandah dining, pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.


$ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa (40km north of Nha Trang). Tel: 058 362 2384 On a secluded – almost deserted – promontory north of Nha Trang, with accommodation ranging from comfortable guest rooms to basic outdoor bamboo shelters, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature – certainly a change from mainstream tourism. The owners arrange pick-up from Nha Trang and the down-to-earth resort maintains a deliberate, family atmosphere. A real gem.


$$$$ Van Dang Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa. Tel: 058 372 8222 The upmarket Tatler magazine voted this its top hotel of 2006, and it’s not hard to see why. The location is stunning, on a bay which can only be reached by boat, and all the accommodation, amenities and facilities are top-drawer. So, naturally, is the price. Internet rates start at VND15 million++ for a beach pool villa.

located on the main street of the resort city of Nha Trang. Along with 154 modern rooms, each with terrace and a stunning sea view, Novotel Nha Trang offers a pool, spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room catering for up to 200 delegates.

SAO MAI HOTEL 99 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Nha Trang Tel: 058 382 7412 Try to get a seaview room with private balcony at this friendly and very cheap hotel, which also has a rooftop terrace. Rooms have basic but adequate facilities and it is well located.


$$$ 12-14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 058 382 0999 Luxury boutique hotel in the city centre and right across from the beach is well geared up for the family and business trade, with kids’ room, beach recreation, restaurants offering Japanese, Vietnamese and European cuisine, pool bar, beach bar, sky bar and a Qi spa. CREDIT



$$ Tel: 058 384 0501, This remote and unspoiled island some 60km north of Nha Trang has been made into a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and plenty of opportunity for serious nature watching, with abundant marine life and an array of birds. Onsite seafood restaurant and bar.


parts. But these are the things that have made Huy Hoan so popular. Several tour groups use the place as a stopover, and the staff is adept at fulfilling their needs.

and fairly well-kept. If you want to spend some time with satellite television, this is your place. Price range is VND500,000 to VND600,000, breakfast included.



$ Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang. Tel: 0219 386 3019 One of the first guesthouses you see as you arrive in town, location has made this guesthouse a popular stop off point. The sleeping accommodations are clean and comfortable, enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep and shower.


$ V159 Vuon Cam, Cao Bang, Tel: 026 385 7026 Thanh Loan is a smaller hotel with more attention paid to the details. Still, expect basic accommodation, but, all said, a good bargain.

THAI NGUYEN HOTEL 2 Hoang Van Thu, Thai Nguyen, Tel: 0280 385 2803 Your standard two-star establishment, Thai Nguyen is one of the best (and one of the only) choices in the vicinity. It’s quite a large hotel considering its location, so booking shouldn’t be a problem.

NORTH-WEST $$$ 2 Hoang Van Thu, Lai Chau. Tel: 0231 387 5829 Offers reasonable guesthouse-style rooms with air conditioning, some of them with balconies. Take a look at the rooms before you rent as the quality may vary.


$$ 849 Duong 7-5, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu Tel: 0230 382 5103 Pretty much what it sounds like: a Dien Bien Phu guest house. Rooms are made for sleeping and not much else, but at good prices. Cleanliness and comfort are acceptable and about average for this type of establishment.



HOANG SON HAI 57D Thanh Tam, Lang Son. Tel: 025 371 0479 Although it may be a bit hard to communicate with the staff if you’re Vietnamese isn’t up to snuff, they are eager to help. The rooms are exceptionally nice for the area.


$$ 25 Pho 1, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu Tel: 0230 381 0043 This Soviet-era hotel has a unique style that makes it one of the most visited. So, despite its size, it may be a good idea to book in advance. There’s a charge for the swimming pool, even if you’re staying there. But, hey, there’s a pool. The rooms are better than average and have satellite TV. CREDIT


$$ 4 Duong, 26-8 Rd, Son La, Tel: 022 385 5313 The explanation of the name is a mystery, but with 100 rooms it could probably house a mid-size union. Not the cheapest place in town, but the rooms are extra large CREDIT


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 058 625 6900 This stylish four-star hotel is centrally CREDIT



$ 14 Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang, Tel: 0219 386 1288 The large, comfortable sleeping quarters here may come as a surprise in these


$$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 384 7322 After renovation in 2007, Blue Ocean Resort is now under the management of Life Resorts. Its luxury makeover includes a large swimming pool and swim-up pool bar as well as a children’s activity playground. Another new addition is an Irish bar. One of the better appointed resorts in the area. CREDIT



$ 1 Kim Dong, Cao Bang. Tel: 026 385 3431 A large, government-run hotel popular with tour groups. Rooms are super-sized, with big windows and some even have views. They also take credit cards, which might not be expected here. Room rates are around VND400,000. $ 84 Pho Tran Dang Ninh, Lang Son, Tel: 025 387 0349 This place offers basic accommodation at a good price. Don’t expect too much, but as an en route stop-over, Hoang Nguyen will definitely do.

$ 53 Duong 26 – 8, Son La Tel: 022 385 8798 Sunrise makes for a decent stay for those travelling between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. In relation to the other hotels on the road, the rooms are very clean and the staff helpful. A night here will run around VND400,000.

$$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan. Tel: 062 368 2222 The first all-villa luxury boutique resort in Vietnam, the Princess d’Annam is set on Ke Ga Bay, about a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh Ciry and 35km south of Phan Thiet. With a sumptuous spa, original architecture, eight swimming pools and a 24-hour butler service, this is one of the most luxurious resorts in the country. Definitely one of the most exclusive. CREDIT


$$$ Tel: 062 743 237 Top quality resort offering a small selection of luxury and attractively designed apartments and studios right on the beach, with fully equipped and modern units. Entertainment options include windsurfing, kitesurfing, antique sidecars, bike tours and dune buggy rides. Has a decent pool and dining options. CREDIT



$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 384 7440 Much more than its name suggests, with beautiful landscaped tropical gardens leading onto a stretch of pristine beach and an outdoor bar, well-positioned to make the best of the scenery. Has a mix of comfortable rooms and bungalows, and has recently done some refurbishment.


$$$$ 396 Quoc Lo 14, Dong Xoai, Binh Phuoc Tel: 0651 387 9764 Accommodation here is quite basic, but this place offers a good deal in relation to the other places around, if you want a place to sleep before a long day of park touring.


$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh Tel: 030 384 8006 Park accommodation, in modern rooms, stilt houses and detached bungalows, includes basic amenities and comforts in proportion to prices, which range from VND100,000 to VND500,000 per night. Rooms available at park hq, the park centre, and on the road linking the two.

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DAY Tripper

Offers quad-biking, kitesurfing, paragliding and, of course, sailing.


$$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Tel: 0773 995895 Open since Nov. 2008, this 37-bungalow resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first-class spa treatment and a mediterranean-themed restaurant. CREDIT



$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982888 / 3823 7645 (Sales office) Boutique luxury among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, La Veranda has beautifully-designed rooms with cool tiles in traditional designs and dark woods, a stunning swimming pool, an all-natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant overlooking the beach.


Ba Vi In the first of a series of articles, we take excursions close to Hanoi. On this trip we head to the fresh milk capital of the north, Ba Vi. Words by Alex Field Travel Time 2 hours

Distance from Hanoi 60km

Entrance Fee

After 12km I arrived at a car park and started the final leg of the journey on foot. There are an impressive 600 steps to Thuong Temple, and 170 more to the Ho Chi Minh Temple at the top of the mountain, but they are well worth the climb. The temples are well maintained, and on a clear day the views are spectactular. If you don’t feel like a climb, drive past the entrance to the National Park and after 4km turn right into a nice little resort. Don’t expect much from the swimming pool, but the surroundings are beautiful and there are some great picnic spots. When I went there a large swimming pool was being built, which will be quite impressive when it’s finished.

National park — VND15,000 per person, VND3,000 per motorbike Resort — VND100,000 per person, VND10,000 per motorbike The Place Ba Vi National park and its surrounding area are a great destination for anyone wanting to get some fresh air in their lungs. The climate’s just that touch milder and with its close proximity to Hanoi, it’s a popular choice with day-trippers. Fortunately it never gets too crowded. There are activities here to suit all tastes, although most visitors drive up Mount Ba Vi and then walk the many stone steps leading to the Ho Chi Minh temple, 1,200m above sea level. There are also resorts dotted around for a lazy day out — Tan Da Spa Resort (www.tandasparesort. has its own hot springs and mud baths. Adventurers and sunseekers rejoice.

The Day Trip Ba Vi is worth a few visits, as it’s got a lot to offer. I paid my entrance fee and started the sleep climb up Mount Ba Vi. If you’re coming by motorbike, make sure it’s in good health for this bit, and get some practice at driving in first gear.

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Getting There For a speedy but pleasant journey, take Thang Long Highway to the west of Hanoi for 35km, before turning right onto QL21. Drive 15 km north past millions of Ba Vi milk shops and cafes, then at a big junction turn left onto the TL87A. 10km later, take the right turn into Ba Vi national Park. From there it’s a 12km drive to the car park at the top. If you want a scenic route, follow the Red River right around to the top of QL21. It takes an extra 45 minutes, but it’s a great drive.


$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc. Tel: 090 338 2207 A getaway in the true sense, combining an eco-friendly approach with a gorgeous beachside location. Wildlife abounds on land and in the sea, the bungalows are made of rammed earth, and there are no TVs and telephones around. Excellent sunsets from the beach bar, which also serves up excellent food in the restaurant on the edge of the sea.


$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0918 073 494 / 0773 985002 Secluded budget bungalow-style resort, which lies in a beachside coconut palm plantation with small basic bungalows adding to the castaway effect. The restaurant serves fresh seafood. It’s laid-back and simple. And cheap.


Cai, 6km outside of Sapa. The eco-resort’s team are all local and will help you enjoy the surroundings of the Muong Hoa Valley.


$$ 18 Phang Xi Pan, Sapa. Tel: 020 6505 228 Located in the heart of Sapa town this simple but comfortable boutique hotel occupies an unprecedented corner location overlooking the terraced valleys of Sapa and not far from the energy of the local market. Rooms are decorated with antique hardwood furniture and contemporary artwork from local artists with touches of ethnic minority culture.



$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 2404 For the environmentally conscientious, the only place to stay in Sapa is the Topas Ecolodge. 25 individual lodges are located on the hills overlooking the valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility give it eco-cred. Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours. It takes over an hour to get from Sapa to the lodge; transportation is provided.



$$$ Tel: 020 387 1522, Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria is not priced for the backpacker (rooms range from $135 to $250 per night). The many amenities include satellite TV, in-room coffeemakers and safes, and a hilltop health club, tennis court and pool. The entire resort is tastefully decorated with panoramic views of the town below.


$ Khu Nhi Mat, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4315 A big new hotel, Green World has 100 rooms ranging in price from VND400,000 to VND600,000 a night. Because of its height, the top rooms have nice views of the town and surroundings. There is a restaurant and bar with billiards, and internet in the lobby.

$ 7 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 1243 Despite being in the centre of town, some of the back rooms offer nice views. There is also a good French-style restaurant downstairs, which is what you might expect considering the décor and name. Prices vary, but a room should generally cost around VND400,000.




$$ 18 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 1075 One of the best things about the Bamboo Hotel is the view, so make sure you check out the room first – some are better than others. There is aircon if needed, but you might want to ask for extra blankets in winter, in spite of electric heaters. Rooms here are between VND700,000 and VND1 million a night. The premium here is on the views.


$$ Cat Cat Road. Tel: 020 387 1218 Notable for having probably the best view in town from its bar restaurant, Cat Cat Guesthouse has plain rooms at very reasonable rates. A fairly steep set of steps leads to the block of rooms, most of which have big windows and balconies, and, for the cold winter, log fireplaces.


$ Km 6 Sapa, Ban Ho Road Sapa, Lao Cai Tel: 020 3872 130, A large stilt house, five clay-clad bungalows and one 70-year-old Hmong House is what waits for you amid the rolling hills of Lao

$ Khu 1 Thi, Tam Dao, Tel: 0211 382 4208 Another one of the newer hotels in Tam Dao, Hang Khong caters mainly to Vietnamese tourists. But the price is right, hovering around VND500,000. Many of the rooms have balconies, but all have comfortable beds and hot showers. $ Khu I Thi, Tam Dao, Tel: 0211 382 4282 Just your basic hotel, but if what you want is a bed and satellite television, this is your place. Can’t beat the price at around VND200,000. Beware, though, prices are subject to change.


$$ Thi Tran, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4321 Probably the prime place to stay in Tam Dao, the Mela has a swimming pool that might come in handy if you’re in the mountains to escape the heat of Hanoi summer. Rooms are comfortable and clean, with two double beds and balcony. The staff can assist if you want to explore the natural surroundings. Prices between VND800,000 and VND1.6 million.

TRAVEL SERVICES AIR MEKONG 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 37186 399 With presence in eight different cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Con Dao, Phu Quoc and Pleiku, Air Mekong

is the ideal way to see more of Vietnam. It offers 30 daily flights and is a realistic alternative to the time-consuming train and bus combo.

ASIA WINGS TRAVEL COMPANY Ground Floor, Hanoi Towers 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 9343 0888 Founded in 1998, the travel company caters to both corporate and international travel. Services include ticketing, hotel reservation, travel insurance, transfer and visa arrangement. Outbound tours and packages throughout the world are also available.

ASIAN TRAVEL MATE 7 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 0615; 21 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 3449; Crowne Plaza, 36 Le Duc Tho, Tu Liem Tel: 6265 4558, An active supporter of the Loreto Program, AsianaTravel is a tourist information company that offers a wide range of customised itineraries, and reservations throughout Indochina. Have daily departure tours available in Saigon, Hue and Hanoi.

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 time-consuming 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.

EXOTISSIMO 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 up-market services, Exotissimo brings their clients close to culture through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

FREEWHEELIN TOURS 2nd floor, 2A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 2743 Responsible travel tourism company offering intimate, bespoke tours that give customers a more “authentic” taste of Vietnam. Motorbike journeys, homestays, visits to ethnic minority villages, national parks, waterfalls and spectacular scenery are all part of the mix, with part of the proceeds going to a number of responsible tourism initiatives.

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-the-beaten-track sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives. Also provides to excursions to more well-worn destinations.

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

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 Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992, offering innovative day tours, short breaks and small group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed departures, Intrepid focuses on real life experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and beyond to get you up close to Vietnam's people, cuisine, history and culture.

JEWEL OF THE DELTA Tel: 01282 471716, A cruise boat on the Red River offering cocktail and party cruises every week with free snacks, a free cocktail and free shisha in one of the VIP rooms. Private cruises are available for parties, meetings, receptions, and dinners for groups or organisations. A unique place to chill out.

LOT AIRLINES R402, 4th floor, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da, Tel: 3577 2202 LOT serves Poland and back three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The flight arrives in Warsaw in the early morning, and because of the city’s location in the middle of Europe, it’s an ideal airport for transit to and from other European hubs.

LUXURY TRAVEL CO., LTD 5 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3927 4120 Vietnam’s First Luxury Tour Company, offers you carefree luxury travel so you and your family can focus on the fun, not the details. Challenge your skills at the country’s most spectacular golf courses. Soak up the sun while being soothed by the sound of breaking surf. Hunt for high-fashion couture in the most elegant cities of Vietnam. Envision any vacation experience you want; name it, we deliver

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.

THE SAPA SISTERS Tel: 01282 273717, The best trekking guides in Sapa showing you the key spots with the guarantee of an unforgettable experience. Sapa Sisters aims to empower young H’Mong women and give them fair pay for their skilled services. Read their reviews on Trip Advisor.

XIN CHAO HANOI Forget the inaccuracy of Google Maps, for a real quality plan of the capital, the meticulous versions created by Xin Chao Hanoi are the presently the best available. Providing tourists with access to the city's hidden charms, secret lanes, gardens and pagodas, check their website for a list of vendors.

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BARS & NIGHTCLUBS 17 COWBOYS MUSIC HALL/LONG BAR 98B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 6822 5pm to 12am Cowgirls, lasers, belly dancing and Filipino bands who never shy away from a good Guns N' Roses cover. Drinks are a little pricey, but part of the money is going to the show. Expect a lively atmosphere and the band will take requests, but 1980s rock tunes are favoured.



TOURIST BAR/CLUB 32 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem This newcomer to Ta Hien’s Bia Hoi Junction is an Aztec-themed three story drinking hole and dance space. Balcony on the second floor, which provides a great view over the beer drinkers below, and dance space on the third floor. CDJs and a promise of dubstep and drink specials on the board outside are bound to go down well among the area’s party massive.

BAMBOO BAR CLASSIC FRENCH Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 7am to 10pm Set up like a traditional colonial-era bar space with dark wooden plank flooring, bamboo roofing, wicker chairs and handheld fan crafted ceiling fans, both during the day and at night there is a relaxed, timeless ambience here. The drinks focus here is on Martini-based and classic cocktails with a huge wine list and aged spirits also making an appearance. Also a great place for a morning or afternoon coffee.




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out & about room and a night club with a decent sound set up. Ideal for private functions and party promoters. Club stays open till late.


DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

FLOW BAR BAR BETTA RETRO CAFÉ BAR 34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3734 9134 8am to midnight This bar is every bit as quirky as the Czech moped it’s named after. Inside every surface is festooned with a medley of objects ranging from gramaphones to retro TVs. The rooftop terrace is an awesome place for a sundowner or a morning coffee. Eclectic and like nothing else in Hanoi.

CAMA ATK MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Thursday to Saturday 7pm 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.

CHEEKY QUARTER 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 93 Phung Hung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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 go-to for younger Vietnamese crowds, tourists and the foreign resident looking to get up on the dance floor. If you don’t feel like dancing, relax upstairs with shisha and friends with one of the two lounges on the second floor. The sister venue on Phung Hung has a bigger menu and an earlier opening hour (11am instead of 6pm) but still keeps with the shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.



POOL HALL / LIVE MUSIC / CLUB 55 Ma May, Hoan Kiem 8am to midnight A potential gem in the heart of the Old Quarter. While it’s themed to the Easy Rider vibe out front, this huge two-storey venue is a jack of all trades – it has a bar, live music stage, pool tables, hookahs, a VIP



DANCEHALL/BAR 61 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem 5pm to late Previously known as Dracula Bar, this watering hole tucked upstairs behind a hotel is around the corner from Ta Hien. A double-sided bar splits up a pool table space, lounge area and dance floor. The smoke machine can be a bit much, but the music is a decent mix of pop and house. Never crowded and open late, free shots are given out every hour on the hour.



ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem 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 10am to late In the same building as the old Bucket Bar, Hair of the Dog, the first floor offers a large drinking space, graphic 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: 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.

HANOI ROCK CITY LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 01887 487 426 5pm to midnight With a downstairs, English-style pub garden area and an upstairs space dedicated to live music and live production, Hanoi Rock City is the only venue in the capital of its kind. Has weekly live events featuring bands both from Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming. Email for more information or check out their page on Facebook.



STAGE AND TABLE CLUB 32 Le Thai To, Tel: 3828 8806 8pm to 11.45pm Just a few yards from the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, this giant pantheon of a nightclub seems more at home in Bangkok than in the capital. With DJs, go-go dancers and an ear splitting sound system, Ho Guom Xanh is a great place to ‘dance’ around a table, if you’re willing, while enjoying expensive top shelf bottle service in the heart of the city.

LAID-BACK FIX 2 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0917 897630 A curving neon sign marks the small entrance to May Pub, which stands on the corner of Nam Ngu and Phan Boi Chau. The pub hosts a laid-back bar atmosphere with old Hollywood photographs, free billiards and darts and low-key live music. The menu combines traditional cocktails with offerings like Russian string cheese — a late-night brew and dairy fix. Wednesday and Friday nights are Buy One Get One Free for ladies.

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



IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 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.

LA FÉE VERTE FRENCH-STYLE CONTEMPORARY Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 7am to 2am Meaning the green fairy — an allusion to the hallucinatory effects of absinthe which was drunk extensively in colonial Vietnam — understated lighting, a laid-back lounge atmosphere, a good music selection and ultra-contemporary interior design make up the mix at this downstairs bar in Hotel de l’Opera. Expect a good selection of creative cocktails and an extensive wine list. Opens late with a DJ taking to the decks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

LONG PLAY CAFÉ LATE NIGHT LOCAL 9B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0914 339439 9am to late This quirky bar and living room gets busiest in the later hours. Down in the bar, plasma screens and an iPod station mix with a dance floor and comically named cocktails. Upstairs, there’s a cushioned living room — a pleasant space with a low ceiling and shisha. Throw in a dartboard, “sell and swap” book shelves, Jenga and some tasty toasted sandwiches, and it can be hours of fun. The dried buffalo “nosh” from Tay Bac in the north is a must.

MAO’S RED LOUNGE LOUNGE AND BAR 7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 3104 5am to 2am One of the few staple bars in the city that hosts an equal number of ex-pats, locals and tourists. With cheap drinks, funky, slightly ethnic decor and one of the most amiable owners in town, Mao's is always a great place to start off or finish the night. Sing-a-longs and dancing welcome at one of the most popular drinking spots on Ta Hien.


MODEL CLUB CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem 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.

PHUC TAN ELECTRO GRUNGE CLUB 51 / 4A Phuc Tan, Hoan Kiem 6pm to late Hanoi's favourite after hours dancehall/ trance den. Throw shapes on either of the two floors that have regular DJs while dancing to rapacious electronic beats or enjoy the Red River's breeze and snack on a kebab as you catch up with all of the city's regular night owls. The terrace out back has great views of Long Bien Bridge at night.



GAMING LOUNGE 104 Bach Dang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0621 0212 9am to midnight If you’re looking for a more active night out, this gaming lounge has it all. White leather sofas, and plasma screens hooked up to Xbox 360 Kinect, Playstation 3 Move etc and more. Challenge your friends to games while enjoying a western-style food menu and a decent selection of beverages. When you get a little too competitive, you can cool down in the lounge area and gear up for your next big win.



EUROPEAN BREW HALL 10 Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3734 2288 Modeled after a brewery, bar and bowling alley in the Czech Republic, Pilsner Urquell has an old Europe feel — particularly in the private rooms lined with glass beer mugs, thick cuts of dark wood furniture and semi-circular booths. With the UNmeeting-of-a-menu, customers can choose from goose dishes, noodles, fried apples, an assortment of cheeses and several other options. Perfect location for big gatherings.



LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 0959 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 English-style pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, billiards and live football matches.



BOTTLE BASED DANCE CLUB 61 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0915 381180. A glitzy, spacious basement club tucked away in the corner where Luong Ngoc Quyen meets Hang Giay. It’s a laser, mirrors and disco ball affair with high tables,

hostesses, bottles of whiskey and a DJ — usually playing a mixture of trance and house. Runs a number of spirits offers on different days of the week. Ask for details.

RED RIVER TEA ROOM LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Ho Tay, 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. Non-smoking indoors, Red River Tea Room is a welcome addition to the area.



REGGAE CHILLOUT BAR 2 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem 5pm to late With a reggae theme, the French-run Roots stays open late playing African and Caribbean music with some salsa thrown in for good measure. Laid back vibes. A good, late-night, Old Quarter option set on a first floor. The entrance is next to the Irish Wolfhound.

SPY BAR HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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 well-deserved, Chuong Duong Bridge breeze.

SUMMIT LOUNGE ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 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.

TADIOTO 12 Truong Han Sieu, Ba Trieu Leftfield, Indochine, contemporary and artsy, all thrown into one, the latest incarnation of Tadioto rolls together café, bar and gallery. Always with an attractive ambience and friendly service, a garden out back adds a nice touch to the space inside.



DANCEFLOOR / LONG BAR 8 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6675 7908 7pm to 2am A relative newcomer and an instant favourite, located in party mile, Temple Bar is a good choice for late night fun. The long, thin establishment is a bar out front with decks and some tiles out back – usually hosting electro pop DJs or sets from the likes of Link Hanoi. Has drinks specials most days and is guaranteed to be crammed at the weekend. Popular among locals, expats and tourists.



MEET-UP SPOT 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6917 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.

TET BAR LATE NIGHT LOCAL 2A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 3050 6pm to 5am This small and personal one-and-a-half floor bar starts to get busy at around 11pm and is popular with expats of all nationalities, despite having a French flavour. Run by the indomitable Thanh and once called Le Maquis, the Tet Bar these days has a slightly cluttered feel to it, but nonetheless continues to pull in the punters. Open very, very late.

THE SPOT LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 1874 8am to midnight A stone's throw from Ta Hien, this barcum-lounge-cum-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.

TRACY’S PUB AND GRILL SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 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.

TUNNEL BAR INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 11B 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.

WINE’S CORNER WINE AND CIGAR LOUNGE 2 Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3939 3477 9am to 1am The ambience at the relaxed wine bar near the Metropole screams red wine — the walls are painted a warm yellow, the exposed brick adds a touch of cool and the wine barrels-turned-tables are tasteful. Too bad it’s often awkwardly empty. Features fine wines, cigars and Vietnamese and international snacks.

CAFES ALIGN 3D POPULAR VIETNAMESE 1 Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 10A Khuc Hao, Ba Dinh 7am to 11pm Popular with young Vietnamese, the Align cafes are always busy. The younger venue on Khuc Hao is hidden down a bamboo alley and has three outdoor seating areas, one of which makes you feel like you’re sat under a waterfall. The other two are on the roof, and from the middle of this embassy-type street, the sound of motorbikes is replaced with tweeting birds. 3D pictures on the walls of each floor take you back to the old city, before KFC and

Parkson. Even to times before the French.

AVALON CAFÉ LAKE VIEW LOUNGE 73 Cau Go; 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 0801, 7am to 11.30pm Popular for its views of Hoan Kiem Lake, this lounge and bar is always busy. With comfy seating and balconies, the lounge and sky garden offer a pleasant escape from city-centre chaos. The smoothies are creamy and renditions of popular street dishes are spot on. Elsewhere in the eclectic menu, pizzas and pastas cost around VND100,000 and steak in red wine sauce goes for VND179,000. Classic pop instrumentals play by day, and come night, the chilled vibe is tainted slightly with electro pop.

CAFÉ LAM 91 Nguyen Huu Huan Always busy, the café has traditional charm in old quarter. Lining the walls, old world drawings line the walls floor to ceiling. They serve a variety of teas and coffee, as well as many jars of pickled looking vegetables and less identifiable things. Grab a seat on the low wooden tables and take advantage of their strong Wi-fi.


TEEN SCENE CAFÉ 89A Ly Nam De, Ba Dinh Tel: 3223 3246 9am to 10pm This hangout spot is styled for locals in their teeny-bop years and early twenties. The décor is kitschy and cozy, there is even a piano, used occasionally in live music shows. They serve sweet drinks at a reasonable price along with lots of treats like brownies in a variety of newwave flavors.

CIAO CAFÉ RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 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.

COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 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.

CONG CAPHE LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communist-driven 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.

ESPRESSAMENTE ILLY ITALIAN COFFEE 75 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 2065 8am to 11pm International standard, Italian-style espresso drinks are the name of the game

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out & about at this undeniably chic chain coffee shop. Boasting a wide range of drinks, including spirit coffees with tequila, and a small selection of pastries and panini sandwiches, the café’s clientele is a mix of tourists and Vietnamese who are tired of ca phe nau da. It is connected to a tour agency and in the central hub of the Old Quarter.

HAPRO CAFÉ CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 6th floor, 38-40 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7984 7.30am to 11pm Take the dilapidated elevator to the 6th floor and emerge onto a balcony with one of the best views of Hoan Kiem. The big draw to this café is the vantage point — the drinks are a secondary concern, though there is about every coffee and juice concoction known to mankind on the menu and plenty of yoghurt and smoothie options too. Graze on French fries, sandwiches, salads and typical Vietnamese rice plates. Perfect for watching the city wake up or catching a sunset.

HIGHLANDS COFFEE CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 6 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 0444 7am to 11pm As with any chain that attempts selfreplication, 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 COFFEE/BAKERY 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3747 33 88 54 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 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 2010 and is looking to open in Ho Chi Minh City in 2011. Has a play area for kids up in the West Lake café and bakery.

KINH DO PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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, home-cooked food, no frills-but-relaxing 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.

LA PLACE CONTEMPORARY / VIETNAMESE 6 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 5859 7.30am to 10pm This tall, narrow lounge café with rooftop seating is a quintessential Hanoi spot. The decoration is bright and casual and the all-day menu has food from both the east and the west. Draw with crayons on brown paper covering the tables as you while away the hours over coffee or cocktails, and take in the view of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Has some interesting food options including spinach fried rice

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out & about along with old standbys like tuna salad sandwiches and coconut chicken curry. No MSG is used here.


QUIRKY CAFE 26 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3243 2120 10am to 10pm, Closed Sundays Bathed in pink and decorated to mimic a French salon, Love Chocolate Cafe carries decadent chocolate desserts like mocha lava cake, espresso pepper brownies and tons of cookies. It doesn’t end there, hot chocolates, shakes and even coffee blends like minty java are on the menu. The sign out front reads, “All you chocoholics, We are open!”. A rare but terrific find in Hanoi.

CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 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.




CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

MARILYN CAFE ROOFTOP CAFE 4 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Considering the amount of flat rooftops in this city, it’s a crime that most go under utilized. However, the top floor of Chim Yen boutique and Marilyn Cafe is home to one of the more pleasant spaces in the Old Quarter. With a great, stone’s-throwview of St Joseph’s cathedral, food and beverages, this spot can turn a temperate afternoon into something a bit more special.

OCHAO TEAHOUSE TRADITIONAL TEA ROOM 25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 01887 785977 8am to 10pm A stylish, two-storey traditional but contemporary tea house with great views of West Lake. Specialises in “precious” Vietnamese tea from the northern hills, handpicked by ethnic minority tribes and presented to the public by a passionate French owner. Well worth your time hanging out here on a lazy day.

PANACEA CAFE MUSIC CAFE 25 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 0909 061982 8am to late Slightly rough around the edges and with an artsy vibe, this is nonetheless a place that welcomes all comers. There’s live music four nights a week (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat), but it’s not uncommon to find someone strumming away at the piano here at any time of the day. Friendly staff, good coffee, juices and cold beers.

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

ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1476 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.

STOP CAFÉ FRENCH DELI 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 9433 8am to 11pm Situated on Hanoi’s not-so-serene ‘Pub Street’, Stop sponges up the surrounding atmosphere, which gives the French delicatessen a relaxed vibe that avoids pretension. The spot specializes 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.

THAI CAFÉ PAVEMENT / VIETNAMESE 27 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Walk by this old café and you’ll see why it’s favoured by the locals. Grab a stool on the sidewalk to enjoy the lemon-y tea and sunflower seeds, or a strong drip coffee and people watching.

THE CART 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: 3928 7715 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.

THE COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF Picomall, 229 Tay Son, Dong Da Tel: 6276 1004 8.30am to 9.30pm Known for the quality of its coffee and tea, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has landed in Hanoi — in the form of an air-con, western-style drinking space in Hanoi’s newest shopping mall. The five first coffee shops in Vietnam started in Ho Chi Minh City, and this the first one in

the capital. Hanoians are finally able to taste the beverages already quenching the thirst in 20 countries across the planet. New stores to open on West Lake soon.

THE DOLL HOUSE 26 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3935 2539 8am – 10am This new café, which fills a coffee-shopshaped gap in the market for this area, has the feel of half green house, half design-conscious doll house, and is a welcome alternative for when your favourite hang out begins to get samey. Focusing on fresh ingredients to suit the fresh design, the Doll House also has a garden terrace, and is open for party bookings and private events. Enter through the shop out front.

THE HANOI SOCIAL CLUB 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem 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.



FRENCH BISTRO 10 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 1327 8am to 11pm Thanks to its original tiled floor, cast iron backed chairs and wall-hung black and white photography, there is something decidedly charming about this tiny Parisianstyled bistro and bar. Serving up a simple menu of snacks such as quiche Lorraine, Paris beurre and croque monsieur, there is also a selection of classic but unpretentious French mains. Has a daily specials board and a decent range of pizzas.

MID TO TOP GREEN TANGERINE 48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 1286 10am to 11pm daily A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green cast-iron backed chairs greets you as you walk into this French era-built villa that houses the main section of this Indochinastyled 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.

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

LA VERTICALE 19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 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 VietnameseFrench fusion cuisine.

LE BEAULIEU Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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.

SATINE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 6pm to 10.30pm Designed for strictly dinner only indulgence, the opulent Satine provides diners the option of ordering a la carte or from one of the venue’s 12-course menus. Lavish design, royal-styled chairs and tables, three private dining rooms and the option of dining in a glass-covered courtyard are all part of the mix, with the cuisine prepared by executive chef Ms. Frédérique Nguyen.

RESTAURANTS — INDIAN MID-RANGE FOODSHOP 45 INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3716 2959 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.

INDIA PALACE & DAKSHIN 78 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 5995 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm India Palace is the fourth member of owner Ravi Kumar’s family of restaurants which includes Tandoor. The menu takes the cuisine of North India and combines it with a South Indian-inspired menu, to create a pan-Indian menu appealing to all. Occupying a large four-storey villa with unobstructed views of West Lake at the front, the décor here is traditional yet contemporary Indian. The fourth floor with sweeping views over West Lake is given up to Dakshin, a vegetarian restaurant selling mainly South Indian fare.

KHAZAANA INDIAN/HALAL 1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 5657 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm One of the two oldest Indian restaurants in

Hanoi, the menu at Khazaana encompasses the entire subcontinent, complete with heavier chicken korma and northern curry dishes alongside lighter southern dosas and uttappams. The venue is homey albeit harsh, but with quintessential masala tea, naan and raita to round out the meal, the focus here is on the food and filling your belly… or overfilling, as is more likely the case. All cuisine here is halal.

NAMASTE HANOI 47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 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

TANDOOR 24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 5359 11am to 10.30pm A long-popular, Indian-food 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.


BUDGET CAFÉ 129 MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 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 super-booster with beetroot, and the coffee with whipped egg.

TRIEU PHUONG HONG KONG CANTONESE/DIM SUM 317 Kim Ma, Dong Da. Tel: 3846 1327 9am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm One of the most underrated Chinese restaurants in the city, the place itself is not much to look at, but they serve above average dim sum. A variety of other Cantonese style dishes including noodle soup and rice dishes are on offer here, all at very affordable prices.

WESTLAKE CUPCAKE CUPCAKE SERVICE Tel: 01219 499523 The cupcake obsession has caught on. A new baking project by Westlake’s infamous Anna and Mia brings custom cupcakes cooked to order to your front door. Offering a variety of cupcakes and butter cream frostings, check out their speciality flavours like New York cheesecake, brown eyed girl and creative monthly specials. Are you drooling yet? Although a delivery only outlet, the cupcakes are available for purchase at Daluva and Oasis.

MID-RANGE AL FRESCO’S AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 5322 8.30am to 11pm With a real ‘diner’ kind of feel, Al Fresco’s

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out & about 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.


MEXICAN / TEX-MEX 48 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: 7300 0206 11am to 12am Smack in the middle of the Old Quarter and close to Ta Hien, this is probably Hanoi’s the best place to get your fix of chilli, lime, coriander, refried beans, tacos and tomato. Sit in the upstairs loft for Asian-style seating, or out on the sidewalk for people watching. The open-style kitchen ensures your food is cooked to order and fast, and doubles as a bar. Their margaritas are strong and the salsa is spicy.

BRITANNIA FISH & CHIPS Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 2254 If you want a product closest to quintessential British fish and chips, then your best option by an arm and many a leg is Britannia. The cod, plaice and haddock may have been switched for basa and sea bass, but everything else is authentic, from the beer batter and mushy peas through to the newspaper wrapping, Scotch eggs and vinegar. Has an airy, upstairs two-room dining area.

CHEZ XUAN OPEN AIR EATING 41, Ngo 76, An Duong, Tay Ho Tel: 0915 085305 Though it’s a bit far from the centre, the expansive wooded area, chilled out atmosphere and good food makes it worth a visit. The menu is well equipped to satisfy cravings for fish and hearty meat dishes. If you’re in a DIY mood, you can Grill Yourself a plate of meat and seafood or choose from the gourmet selection of strip loin, ostrich or salmon to throw on the tabletop grills. Regularly holds live music events.

HOA SUA TRAINING RESTAURANT – SONG THU VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 34 Chau Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

KITCHEN INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE Ngo 40, Nha 7A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2679 7am to 9pm Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracottatiled 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, smoothiestyle drinks. Has amiable know-your-name staff and a good delivery service.

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out & about KOTO ON VAN MIEU


RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3747 0337 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.

TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0912 223966 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.


ASIAN FUSION 15-17 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3823 5636 6.30am to 10pm An extension of Soul furniture and lifestyle store, the restaurant and lounge bar at Spoon serves up a fusion menu in a setting that screams homeliness and style. Asian dishes, seafood and steaks are among the go-to menu choices. Attentive and competent staff top it all off in this chic restolounge.

VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 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.

LA SALSA IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 25 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 9052 8am to 11pm A small but eternally popular Spanishthemed 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. Western staff speak English and French.

LE MARRAKECH MOROCCAN 88 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3710 0389 10am to 11pm. Closed Monday Family-run Moroccan restaurant in a charming terrace-fronted house close to the start of Xuan Dieu. Focus of cuisine is on authentic couscous, tagines and kebab dishes made with a mixture of local and imported ingredients, all cooked up by a Moroccan chef. Uses Halal meat.

LITTLE HANOI VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Dist Tel: 38285 333 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.

MATCHBOX INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 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.


TAMARIND CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 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.



FRENCH FLAIR 2/2c Van Phuc, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3726 4782 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.

THE HOUSE FUSION FARE / WINE 10 Truong Han Sieu. Tel: 6270 2611 The House, once Annie’s Corner, is one of the latest restaurants to occupy an old French building in the quiet streets nestled between Ba Trieu and Quang Trung. It serves Vietnamese food but with international twists. The affordable and eclectic menu ranges from local tenderloin steak to lemongrass tuna salads with a decent wine list and an ideal bring-yourown VND100,000 corkage fee per bottle of wine.



WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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-get-one-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 get-togethers.

JASPA’S INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 8325 6.30am to midnight

With attentive service, tasty food and large portions, this place has something for everyone and 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. Also has a large and spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.

LA CANTINE INTERNATIONAL / CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 9897 6am to 11.30pm Converted from a wing of an old church, this upscale restaurant with extensive Vietnamese and international offerings is just a stone’s throw from the Opera House. Sophisticated but cozy, the salon is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea. Expect about VND1 million for a set topend six-course meal and VND600,000 for the more downscale five-course offering.

LE PETITE BRUXELLES BELGIAN / EUROPEAN 1 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1769 10 Alley 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 5853 10am to 10pm An airy and spacious long-running Belgian-themed eatery with a location by the cathedral and a second out in West Lake. Although this is not the place to wash down your Chimay, Leffe or Duval with moules frites on a daily basis — the mussels are only available seasonally — a number of other traditional Belgian dishes fill the menu including carbonade, jambonneau and boulettes sauce tomate as well as the more Swiss-sounding beef and cheese fondue. Hearty fare in a nice environment.

LUALA CAFE CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 2886 8 am to 10 pm If you can't afford the labels at Luala you can still enjoy the cuisine in this small cafe run in conjunction with the high-end fashion concept store, Luala and The Press Club. Offering a large menu specialising in creative but chic cafe fare as well as the prerequisite quality coffee, the outdoor terrace seating offers great views of the downtown area.

of international and Mediterranean-style fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.

DON’S TAY HO CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 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 fragrant 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.

EL GAUCHO STEAKHOUSE 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 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.

HALIA HANOI SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 0121, 11am to 11pm. Closed 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 pan-European 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.

HEMISPHERES STEAK & SEAFOOD GRILL Sheraton Hotel, K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9000 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 “Wines of the World” selection.

JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE 23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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.

MILLENIUM PAN-FRENCH / INTERNATIONAL 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 134490 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.

MING PALACE PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 Lunch 11am to 2pm, dinner 5pm to 10pm A fine dining destination at the Sofitel Plaza serving Cantonese and pan-Chinese cuisine in a sleek modern setting with private dining rooms. With more than 80 dim sum selections available along with Chinese entrees, Ming’s is an ideal eatery for those hungry for higher end Chinese fare.

NINETEEN 11 INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

PRESS CLUB CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3rd Floor, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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-Friday-ofthe-month party.

RESTAURANTS — ITALIAN MID-RANGE CIELO CASUAL ITALIAN DINING 172 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 0680 9am to 10.30pm An Italian eatery in West Lake with a large



6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 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 LAUTREC MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 6am to 10pm Featuring both à-la-carte and buffet dining as well as an innovative Sunday brunch, this namesake of the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture

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selection of authentic, pan-Italian cuisine, Cielo is a place which goes back to basic, using homemade Bufala mozzarella on their pizzas. The word Cielo means sky, which is reflected in the fresh airy dining room. And while their takeaway service is prompt, eating in ensures a much better experience. Prices are very reasonable.


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.

CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 8585 1443 11am to 11pm This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to the famed lawn chair and coconut café on West Lake has all the right ingredients to become a classic. Run by the long time former manager of Luna D’Autunno, it features scrumptious wood-fired oven pizzas from VND120,000 and other Italian delicacies. Open every day for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.




CLASSIC ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3823 73338 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 build-your-own-skiesthe-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.

MEDITERRANEO PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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: 38269 080 Just a stroll away from the Hanoi Opera

Floor 1, Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 5959 10.30am to 10.30pm Californian pizza chain in the now open in West Lake. — currently the only place to eat from this American pizza brand in Hanoi. The new pizzeria prides itself on its 100 percent certified organic wheat dough and different dishes found nowhere else, like the strawberry and goat’s cheese salad. Also serves up curry chicken sandwiches and meatball penne pasta.



CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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++. Nick Ross


BONG-CHU JJIM-DAK KOREAN CHICKEN B40 Nguyen Thi Dinh, Thanh Xuan Tel: 6680 1423 Visit 11am – 10pm In typical Vietnamese fashion, Bong-Chu Jjim Dak restaurant only serves one dish it knows best: chicken. A light kimchi soup is served alongside the steamed bird mixed with cellophane noodles packed in a mildly peppery but sweet combination. It’s simple — ordering options include half chicken, whole chicken, chicken and a half, or all of the above. Select the answer that best fits your appetite and escape from the ubiquitous boiled chicken on streets.





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KOREAN 50A Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3201 2989 One of the longest running Koreans in town, this down-to-earth eatery just off Kim Ma specialises in the Korean nation’s version of sushi rolls. These can be ordered either plain or deep-fried. Other Korean fare includes bibimbab and a range of barbecue dishes. The cuisine is brought to your low tables with floor seating and in typical Korean fashion, all meals are served with free side dishes (banchan) of kim chi, pickles and eggplant.

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

IZAKAYA YANCHA JAPANESE BBQ 121 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 8437 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 11pm Just a stone’s throw from Ky Y, this Osakabased chain does the same cuisine, but entirely differently. The small plates on the large menu are best shared among a group and with bottles of beer or sake. The tofu in amber sauce will leave you licking the plate and the chicken with udon and vegetables is off-the-charts delicious. The tidbit barbeque sticks of okra or bacon are also great, but more as a snack than anything else.

SAIGON SAKURA TRADITIONAL JAPANESE 34 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 7565 10am to 2pm, 5pm to 10pm This Japanese eatery might be easy to walk past without noticing, but venture inside and you will find a small but neat interior. The food ranges from traditional Japanese to dishes that lean towards fusion. Very reasonable prices, compared with other Japanese establishments.

RESTAURANTS — SOUTHEAST ASIAN BUDGET NISA MALAYSIAN / HALAL 32 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 1859 10am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 10pm A two-storey fresh looking Malaysian restaurant with affable staff and authentic cuisine. Difficulty in obtaining ingredients means that these days the menu is limited, but a nasi campur buffet-style counter in the downstairs space and photos on the wall of other classic Malaysian fare allows customers to choose what to eat. Think nasi lemak, mee goreng, roti canai, beef rendang and more. It tastes good, too.


RESTAURANTS — VIETNAMESE BUDGET BANH CUON PHU LY BANH CUON 39 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem 6am to 3pm Put the warm fish sauce in the small bowl with squeezed lime, chilli and fresh herbs and then dip. This is the Ha Nam version of banh cuon (rolled wet rice paper) with the gio lua (pork cake) substituted for barbecued pork and bacon. The street side, flaking paint wall location may be off putting for some, but the fare tastes great.

BANH XEO SAI GON BANH XEO / BUN BO 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: 01296 290015 12pm to 11pm A recently opened slither of an eatery selling — wait for it — a Hanoi version of a Saigon version of a Hue dish. It's a bit of a mouthful but worth it — for all its augmentations the banh xeo (beef, beansprout and egg pancakes) served up for self rolling with rice paper and fresh herbs are pretty tasty. Also does a sweet and spicy to-die-for bun bo Nam Bo.

BUN BO HUE BUN BO HUE 36c Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung 7am to 4pm This is the second branch of the ninemonth-old restaurant on Food Street. Like the Tong Duy Tan favourite, which is more restaurant than street-side affair, the new location serves up the same staples from further south including bun bo Hue, bun thit nuong and nem lui. Authentic, tasty and cheap

BUN BO NAM BO BUN BO 67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3923 0701 7am to 11pm Dressed up like an indoor version of a streetside eatery, this megalith of a skinny bun bo restaurant is famed not only for its northern interpretation of a southern dish that you can't buy in the south, but also for its ga tan (stewed marinated chicken). The bun bo itself, a concoction of sauteed beef, peanuts, beansprouts, white noodles and sweet and sour sauce, is one of the better versions available in the city. And the beef is excellent.


NORTHEASTERN THAI / LOUNGE BAR 3B Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 8588 10am to 10pm This venue serves arguably the best Thai food in the city. With Thai owners and staff from the country’s Isaan region in the kitchen, the place specializes in spicy staples that come from the northeastern provinces in the country. After a meal in the more traditional ground floor space, relax in the comfortable furnishings of the venue’s chic first-floor lounge.

BUN CHA 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 5022 10am to 7pm With the help of over 40 years of customer loyalty and repeated mentions in overseas press, Dac Kim has become the powerhouse of eateries serving up bun cha (white rice noodles with barbecued pork and herbs). The formula is simple. The mini pork patties are perfectly rounded, the bacon is perfectly grilled and then the portions are humongous. If you're feeling ravenous, the servings here will fill that merry gap, but if you want quality over quantity, look elsewhere. Has a second eatery at 67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem.




INTERNATIONAL THAI 73 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 8586 7090 11am to 11pm For those with sensitive taste buds, this small restaurant serves up authentic Thai food that is lighter on the spice. Owned by a Bangkok native, the space itself is a small two-level restaurant with traditional Thai décor. At a convenient location near Hoan Kiem and Vincom Towers, Thai Elephant covers all the delicious bases with efficient, fast service and delivery.

BBQ STAPLES Ly Van Phuc, Ba Dinh Perhaps the most well known street food Mecca in all of Hanoi, the lane is flanked with BBQ chicken joints from north to south. At the Nguyen Thai Hoc entrance, the food stalls boast proper chairs, while the venues at the opposite end offer stools and host much larger crowds. No trip to Hanoi or tenure in the capital is complete without a trip to Chicken Street. Honey grilled banh my and potatoes provide vegetarians with savory alternatives.



VEGAN 79A Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3942 4140 9am to 9pm The set meals for one person or a group of six people make this a popular lunchtime eatery. Signs clearly demarcate the way through the alley on Tran Hung Dao to this casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, from standard tofu with tomato sauce to more obscure fake meat dishes. The walls are moldy but the food is fresh.

PHO GA / BUN BO NAM BO 49 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 6am to 4pm A stilt-hutted street food eatery and cafe in the shadow of Elite Fitness doing a tasty version of the sweet and sour bun bo Nam Bo (southern-style beef noodles). Ladle in the chilli and mix up with the beansprouts, fresh herbs, peanuts and sauteed beef, and you have a spiced-up, filling meal. Also does decent pho ga (chicken noodle soup) and pho xao (fried noodles). Has a semi-mezannine cafestyle space out back.

COM GA HOI AN HOI AN CUISINE 1 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3923 3856 7am to 11pm A four-storey restaurant and café specialising in food from the centre of Vietnam — or, as the name suggests, the ancient town of Hoi An. It serves everything from the famous cao lau noodles and my quang tom, to bun bo nuong and com ga Hoi An. Also sells Thai and Chinese cuisine, cakes and ice cream. A spiral staircase, a second floor terrace and pictures of the ancient town top it all off.

DAC SAN HUE HUE CUISINE 150 Nguyen Khuyen, Dong Da. Tel: 6674 7917 6.30am to 10pm A no frills, ten-table restaurant easy to miss at the end of Nguyen Khuyen, just opposite the Temple of Literature. Specialises in dishes from Hue, like banh beo and banh khoai, all at local prices. The staff is friendly and helpful and the bun bo Hue is spot on.

DUONG SOM CHAO CA FISH PORRIDGE / CHAO CA 213 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3829 5281 Serves perhaps some of the best chao ca in the city. This rice porridge with fish is garnished with a healthy amount of fresh herbs and, if you choose, strips of banh quay – the Chinese style fried bread. The fish is boneless, which helps set this place apart from others selling the same dish. One bowl is VND30,000.

MAI ANH PHO GA 32 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3943 8492 5am to 4pm Ignore the doubters, this infamous eatery serves up some seriously wholesome pho ga (chicken noodle soup) in a hygienic, shared table indoor environment. The secret? The broth, a perfectly rounded chicken stock consomme. Portions are big, too, and diners can order chicken on the bone or off and can even get an extra egg added to the soup for good measure.

PHO CUON STRIP PHO CUON / PAN-VIETNAMESE 71-77 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh 9am to midnight For a dish purported to be invented by French chef Didier Corlou, it is phenomenal how this wet rice paper filled with beef and herbs affair has so quickly been absorbed into the street food fold. Dipped into sweet fish sauce with a touch of chilli, it tastes good, too. The biggest proponents of this dish are on Truc Bach — a row of five street-side eateries that also sell standard, quan nhau meat and seafood fare. There is also another strip of joints just round the corner on Ngu Xa.

TRUC LAM TROI VEGAN 39 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 6278 1848 7am to 9pm Vegetarians delight in being able to order anything off this more-creativethan-normal traditional Vietnamese Buddhist restaurant situated on a quiet street. Corn juice is the drink of choice here, as everyone around sips the tepid yellow stuff, and the array of fried tofu vegetable dishes makes you reconsider vegan cuisine as “health food.” Order an office lunch plate or dine in during the weekend surrounded by families and walls adorned with traditional Buddhist imagery.

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.

KITI RESTAURANT VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 38 Hang Hom. Tel: 3928 7241 An unassuming establishment that rarely fills up, which means that customers often benefit from better service and the servers utmost attention. What the restaurant lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for with a large menu that is chalked full of reasonably priced Vietnamese fare and some western staples.


CLUB OPERA NOVEL PAN-VIETNAMESE 17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3972 8001 10am to 2pm, 6pm to 10.30pm Indochine elegance mixes with top-end culinary flair to create one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in town. Fine dining it isn't — this country's cuisine doesn't really lend itself to that type of cooking. But quality ingredients and a twist of creativity makes the fare here well worth the higher price tag — think creative spring rolls and lobster cooked up with a passion-fruit sauce. This is just the start. Also has a great downstairs lounge bar.


STEAK / CHINESE NOODLES 52 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3978 2251 7am to 10.30pm Located on the corner of Hoa Ma, this steak served sizzling-on-the-griddle eatery packs no punches when it comes to getting your beef. Get the standard banh my affair and the imported US steak is doled up with meatballs, fried egg, chips and lots of fat. It's a cholesterol mess of a meal but really tasty. Also does bun bo Hue, Phuc Kien noodles and the Khmer Chinese hu tieu Nam Vang. Has restaurants at 349 Doi Can and 71 Tran Duy Hung.

IMPERIAL / CONTEMPORARY 63 Pham Hong Thai, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3927 5920 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm After shutting the doors at its former location, Com Viet is nestled in the tranquil neighbourhood near Truc Bach Lake. The ‘imperial’ staple, with its pristine décor and antiques, traditional bites and regal atmosphere, specialises in serving up traditional treats with contemporary fusion — think cheese wrapped in beef with a side of pickled cucumbers and a glass of red. Go on the right night and catch live traditional music in the courtyard and feel like a king.


POTS ‘N PANS 57 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 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.


CONTEMPORARY STREET FOOD 26 A-B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 6133. 7am to 10pm Large and always busy restaurant set in two colonial buildings. The courtyard is filled with tables and fairy light covered trees, which are circled by 18 cooking stoves. Here the chefs serve Vietnamese classics from all over the country a la carte style. Good for street side classics done well in the comfort of an airy restaurant. Of the 14 dining spaces, one room holds 30 guests. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner.



CHA CA 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 3929 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm A funky wooden-floored two storey, one-dish-only eatery on a street devoted to one of Hanoi's best known dishes, cha ca. Claiming to be the oldest restaurant in Vietnam (established 1873) the deal is straightforward. The butter-coated, premarinated fish is sauteed with dill and spring onions on the table and served up with sides of peanuts, bun noodles and fresh herbs. It's not street food prices cheap by any means, but it's darned tasty. Popular with tourists and locals.


WHITE CLOUD VEGAN Nha 2, Ngo 12 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 1622 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm Simplicity is the key at this small but airy, zen-like bamboo-table eatery located behind the Syrena Centre. A rarity in Vietnam — the cuisine here doesn’t only focus on faux meat imitation — the menu mixes canh (broth) with a range of light dishes, Vietnamese-style salads and a selection of tofu and gluten-inspired mains. Worth a try for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

CHIM SAO TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 65 Ngo Hue, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3976 0633 Situated in a turn-of-the-century French townhouse in a tucked away alley, the ‘whistling bird’ continues to offer some of the best ‘traditional’ Vietnamese food in the capital. Sit on the floor upstairs or enjoy seating downstairs, regardless this eatery serves up simple Vietnamese staples that are well executed and presented in a setting that makes one feel like a regal Hanoian.



PHO GA / PHO BO / PHO XAO 32 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem 5.30am to 11pm A hearty, slightly salty broth accompanies the pho ga at this well-known, 40-year-old street corner eatery also lauded for its tasty pho xao and pho bo. It's a simple, typically Hanoian streetside affair here with red plastic tables on the street and foot-high stools. The soup comes with an accompanying basket of slightly stale but buttery banh quay.

VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 4200 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3771 6372 54 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3796 2647 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 0639 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6377 10am to midnight Always busy, often hectic, this multifloored 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

GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 1355 9096 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 rollyour-own cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music. CONTEMPORARY STREET FOOD 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 8162 7am to 9.30pm Long-time favourite serving up Vietnamese classics in a large French villa and courtyard. Menu is huge, made up of street-food options and higher end dishes from Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. Quick service makes it ideal for lunch and the array of options makes it perfect for newcomers to Vietnamese cuisine. Order loads and share, of course.

MID TO TOP AU LAC HOUSE INDOCHINE / VIETNAMESE 13 Tran Hung Dao, Tel: 3933 3533 Set in converted colonial villas and frequented primarily by travelers that unload in front of the establishment on massive tour buses, this venue is imbued with the nostalgia of Indochine, replete with chess boards, stylish fans and waitresses outfitted in ao dais. Boasts a large menu filled with Vietnamese favourites and much more.

SOFTWATER VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 42 Duong 9, F361, An Duong, Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: 2260 8968 10am-10pm Imperial-era architecture, a rock garden with trees almost 300 years old, a beautiful lawn area and contemporary Asian-influenced international fare make up the mix at this quite unique top-end restaurant. The cuisine and drinks don’t come cheap, but then establishments such as Softwater are a rarity. Has both an international and a Vietnamese menu and is located by the river in An Duong at the end of Road 9, close to the Sofitel Plaza.

TRUNG DUONG VIETNAMESE SEAFOOD 55 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 6270 0787 10am to 10pm There are two of these restaurants in Vietnam and the other is in Phu Quoc, the location of probably the best seafood in the country. Every type of ocean-breathing animal is available here in addition to an array of tofu and vegetables. From crab to Russian sturgeon and grouper, most of this seafood harks from down south or Halong Bay. The restaurant is set up so that every day is a banquet and you can pick your poisons from the tank.

WILD LOTUS CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 55A Nguyen Du, Tel: 3943 9342 10.30am to 10.30pm One of the city’s most popular Vietnamese restaurants is a delight from the entrance inwards. Walk over water features and 100 roses and up the spiral staircase into subdued lighting, warm colours and a menu that mixes subtle, well-executed Asian flavours. Not for those who love the sharpness of some street foods, but

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or dinner functions. Periodic buffets and drink specials are also offered.




23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 8388 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.


CLASSY FUSION 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 5831 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, playroom, kids menu, takeaway and local delivery.



ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hai Ba Trung 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, airconditioned 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.

FRENCH LOUNGE 95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0976 751331 10am to midnight A favourite among those who roam further west of the city centre, this multi-storey restobar has been going strong for more than two years. It has balconies, mezzanine seating and a long bar guarding exactly 50 different cocktails. For many the Ete burger is right on the mark as are the sandwiches, tartines and salads. It’s always crowded — especially during the weekends. Amiable staff, pleasant vibes.




BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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.

INTERNATIONAL The Clubhouse, Ciputra, Tel: 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

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.

displays and a private room out back for more intimate drinking. Also does day-time office lunches, coffee and decent bar food.




SPANISH 26 Lan Ong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 8585 2563 9am to 11pm Nestled just off the main Old Quarter drag, this bar and restaurant daubed in the colours of the Spanish flag is the first genuine Iberian tapas bar in town. Sells a range of fare from paella through to tapas, a selection of tortilla and Spanish mains, and also serves lethal but tasty sangria. Spanish tempanillos and reds make up the enigmatic mix.

INTERNATIONAL / WINE AND JAZZ 12 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3927 5708 5.30pm to midnight Tucked into a quiet street close to Truc Bach, this romantic, Parisian-styled lounge exhibits art from up-and-coming Hanoi artists and is best experienced on the nights with live music. The menu offerings are rich and robust, from chicken curry to spaghetti and roast duck, all created to pair well with wine. Come for dinner and stay for the live jazz and well-curated wine selection.



INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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 no-smoking 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.

CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3398 1979 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.


OLD SKOOL 1 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3939 2888 This ‘Chill Lounge’ is not too far from the Opera House and is ideal for drinks against a bright backdrop. Its large bar serves up test tube shooters and the Party Animal Bucket offers a range of shots. Of course, it’s a café/restaurant, too and be sure to check out the owner’s collection of boom boxes next to the DJ Booth. Live music on Wednesdays and a DJ at the weekend.

SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 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, sofa-style seating, glass fronted wine




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86 | Word September 2012

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InterContinental Westlake

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The Cart


L’s Place


St. Honore; Vine


Oasis; Red Apron


Segafredo; Tracy’s; Kitchen


Vine Cellar Door


Mandarin; India Palace




Al Fresco’s; Tay Tap


Kitchen Art


House of Son Tinh


Santal Spa; Bamboo Village


Don’s Tay Ho


City Zoo; Better Day


Da Paolo; Coconut Cafes


Collective Concepts


La Salsa


Binh’s Salon


White Cloud






Pure Heaven


Bobby Chinn


International SOS


Le Marrakech


Ham Long Mini Market




Module 17




George’s Fashion


Hanoi Rock City




Love Chocolate Cafe


Zenith Yoga


El Gaucho





visit for a comprehensive list of our listings


Their biggest section is composed of ESL materials, but you will also find fiction.

COSMOS 168 Ngoc Khanh, Dong Da This bowling alley may be small, but if you’re hankering for a night at the lanes, this one has instant replay cameras that will show your strike again in slow motion.

HANOI STAR BOWL 2B Pham Ngoc Trach, Dong Da Tel: 3574 1614 Plenty of lanes, and the zany colours add to the festive feel. A game will cost VND27,000, plus a little extra for the shoe rental. All in all it makes for a night of good fun.

QUAN TOM 89 Bui Thi Xuan. Tel: 3294 47844 The staff at this karaoke bar is quite friendly. Large, comfortable rooms, and – their claim to fame – a vast English language track list, makes for a good night.

ANTIQUES 54 TRADITIONS GALLERY 30 Hang Bun, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3715 0194 The only gallery in Vietnam focusing on the antiques, artifacts and art of Vietnam’s 53 minority groups and the Kinh majority people. Has over 1,000 items on display and objects in the collection have been exhibited in museums both in Hanoi and abroad.

BOOK SHOPS BOOKWORM 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh. Tel: 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 secondhand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice.

HIEU SACH THANG LONG 55 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 7043 A large bookstore with mostly Vietnamese material, but there is also a selection of French and English books and even some literature.

XUNHASABA 32 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 4068 Often referred to just as ‘The Foreign Language Bookstore’, you’ll find a decent selection of both books and magazines.

CINEMAS CINEMATHEQUE 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 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.

MEGASTAR Vincom Towers, 191 Ba Trieu, 6th floor, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3974 3333 Inside Vincom towers, this big, westernstyle multiplex shows some of the latest English language and Asian foreign films. The experience includes fairly wellstocked concession stands, comfortable seats, air conditioning and a booming sound system.

MEGASTAR PICO MALL 299 Tay Son, Dong Da The second Megastar outlet in the city in the newly renovated Pico Mall. Generally less crowed than the theatre at Vincom Towers, but the same concept. For real Hollywood and American fast food fans, has a Pizza Hut and Swensen’s within the same cinema complex.

NATIONAL CINEMA CENTRE 87 Lang Ha, Dong Da. Tel: 3514 2278 Cineplex with several smaller theaters and an arcade. Movies are quite cheap, especially matinees. Be sure to ask if the movie is subtitled in Vietnamese or dubbed.

CLUBS & SOCIETIES DEMOCRATS ABROAD – VIETNAM Affiliated with the American Democratic Party, like-minded and politically active individuals can stay in touch and continue to affect the political winds that are blowing Stateside. Hosts regular events for every major election cycle.

AMERICAN CLUB 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

leisure & arts HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3823 8115 The exclusive social and fitness club is located on the banks of West Lake. Golfers hit balls into the lake from the driving range and swimmers enjoy a lovely view from the pool. The gym is small and classes are not included as part of the steep yearly membership fees.

L’ESPACE 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem The cultural arm of the French Embassy is very active in the cultural life of the city. They both organise and host many functions – music, performing arts, film. Large French language library as well as classes and workshops.

COOKING CLASSES HANOI COOKING CENTRE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh. Tel: 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.

HIDDEN HANOI 137 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.

HIGHWAY4 COOKING CLASS 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3715 0577 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.

KITCHEN ART STORE AND STUDIO Lane 38/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 6680 2770 Well stocked and modern cooking store offering cooking classes with one of Vietnam's popular food personalities. Kitchen Art Basic Baking Classes also open to non-Vietnamese speaking students. The friendly staff ensures that everyone is able to follow the instructor.

KOTO Lane 52/28, House 9, To Ngoc Van Tel: 3747 0377, 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.

DANCING ASPARA DANCE STUDIO Level 3, 141 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6869 Gate 3, Hanoi Academy, Ciputra, Tel: 3743 0455 Cosy, friendly and well equipped dance studios offering dance and fitness classes for adults and children. Classes include ballet, folk dance, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, belly dance, salsa, zumba and yoga for family. Instructors are qualified and certified from Vietnam Dance College or overseas.

FITNESS ELITE FITNESS 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 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.

FOUR SEASONS SWIMMING POOL 14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da. Tel: 3537 6250 This beautiful hotel has a swimming pool for VND40,000 per day, and another VND10,000 for a locker to keep your pantaloons. It might be a good idea to go during the off hours, as it’s a well used pool. But if laps are what you want, the pool is large and, at times, quiet.

HANOI BOOTCAMP BEEACTIVE To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho The successor to the weekly bootcamp famously run by fitness professional Helen Kindness, BeeActive continues the community spirit by bringing together both the fit and unfit to work out on the streets. To take part, drop them an email. Sessions are all held around the To Ngoc Van area, unless stated otherwise: Mon — 6am to 7am (Ciputra) Mon, Tues, Fri — 9.15am to 10.15am Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs — 6.30pm to 7.30pm Sat — 7am to 8am

NSHAPE FITNESS 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da Tel: 6266 0495 This gym with American Life Fitness cardio and weight machines, provides a clean, uncrowded environment and expertly staffed facilities with a selection of fitness classes for its members. Classes include boxing, yoga and groupX with both Vietnamese and foreign fitness trainers on hand to give exercisers advice. Membership starts from VND1.5 million per month with no joining fee.

STAR FITNESS 4th Floor, The Garden, Me Tri, Tu Liem Tel: 3787 5353 This lifestyle, top-end gym in My Dinh offers massage rooms, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, cold plunge baths, gym areas, exercise studios, locker rooms, and a swimming pool. It is a great option for residents living on the outskirts of the city.

SUNWAY HEALTH CLUB 19 Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3971 3888 Very good equipment in this small gym, housed in a little hotel. None of the extra frills that you might expect at a larger place, but all the machines are running and well maintained. Monthly price of membership for non-guests is about VND1.4 million.

VIETCLIMB So 40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho Tel: 5321 9235 Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a French-owned, 200-meter climbing gym with state-of-the-art courses. There are 100 different climbing routes within the gym that are changed every few months. They offer clinics, classes and children’s events. Membership and group rates are available, but be sure to check out the three-month pass.

VINCHARM SPA AND GYM 6th & 7th floor Vincom Centre, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3974 8686 Far more Zen then your average gym, work out to toned-down music while toning up on state of the art equipment,

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cinema buff

Hoa Le takes a look at what’s on in the cinemas this month BEATS BEING DEAD Dreileben Directors: Christian Petzold Stars: Jacob Matschenz, Luna Mijovic and Vijessna Ferkic Genre: Thriller, Drama

It could have been a relaxing summer for Johannes: while doing his community service in a hospital by the lake, he meets the young Ana and begins a romance with her. One day while Johannes is on duty, a convicted sex offender escapes from the hospital. The police are on full alert searching for the dangerous man, who has disappeared into the woods. Meanwhile, the first problems arise between Johannes and Ana: Ana wants to go to America with him, but he hesitates, and then Johannes’ former girlfriend shows up. After a big fight at a party Ana runs away, straight into the woods and into deadly danger. This multi award-winning film is part of the 2012 German Film Festival. It hits the screen on Sep. 7, 8pm at the National Movie Centre, 87 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh. German with English and Vietnamese subtitles. The oneweek festival kicks off on Sep. 6. Free tickets are available at the Geothe Institute. Check out dfv/ffv/enindex.htm for detailed schedules.

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

This adventurous animation now in 3D is expected to bring the sea world closer to reality. A clown fish named Marlin who lives in the Great Barrier Reef loses his son, Nemo. After he ventures into the open sea, despite his father’s constant warnings about many of the ocean’s dangers, Nemo is abducted by a boat and netted up and sent to a dentist’s office in Sydney. So, Marlin ventures off to try to retrieve Nemo, meeting a fish named Dory, a blue tang suffering from short-term memory loss. The companions travel a great distance, encountering various dangerous sea creatures such as sharks, anglerfish and jellyfish, in order to rescue Nemo from the dentist’s office, which is situated by Sydney Harbor. While the two are doing this, Nemo and the other sea animals in the dentist’s fish tank plot a way to return to Sydney Harbor to live their lives free again. Hits the screens on Sep. 14 at MegaStar cinema complexes in Vincom Tower (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) and in Pico Mall (229 Tay Son, Dong Da),

WHEN WE LEAVE (2010) Die Fremde Director: Feo Aladag Stars: Sibel Kekilli, Derya Alabora and Blanca Apilanez Genre: Drama

FINDING NEMO (3D VERSION) Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Alexander Gould

88 | Word September 2012

A 25-year-old German-Turkish

woman Umay can no longer endure daily life with her brutal husband in Istanbul. Together with her young son Cem she flees to her family in Berlin, where she grew up. But her hope to live a new, independent life is destroyed: her parents and brothers accuse her of dishonouring the family. Umay encounters a wall of hatred and she fears for her life. She again escapes with her child and breaks off all contact with her family. Soon after, she meets the sensitive Stipe, with whom she hopes for a happy new start. When her younger sister Rana marries, Umay sees the opportunity for reconciliation with her family, but it is already too late... This German candidate for The Academy Award 2011’s Best Foreign Film will be shown at 8pm on Sep. 10 and Sep. 13 at the National Cinema Centre as part of the German Film Festival. German with English and Vietnamese subtitles.

PREMIUM RUSH Director: David Koepp Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre: Action, Thriller

and have a post workout drink at the juice bar. There is even a separate swimming pool for tots, and a full service spa. Top-end equipment and services come with top-end monthly fees — not for the feint-hearted.

FOOTBALL, SOCCER & RUGBY HANOI CAPITALS FOOTBALL CLUB Hanoi Capitals don’t play. This football club is serious about their sport. The uniforms and attitudes alone tell you they’re no Bad News Bears. If you want to let your skills shine get in contact with Ricky at 0903 413339.

HANOI YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE The biggest youth football league in the capital. Youths aged 8 to 16 years old come together to play regular tournaments.

VIET CELTS The first and only Gaelic Football league in Hanoi has recently added a women’s team. The teams play in the Southeast Asia Gaelic League as well as in tournaments all over the region. Bring a sporting spirit as a spectator or a player. Call Gareth for more information: 0904 228629.

VIETNAM SWANS In true Aussie style, the Vietnam Swans footballers hold not only weekly matches and training sessions, but social and drinking affairs as well. Concerned just as much with fun as with winning, this club is welcoming to anyone who is willing to have a good time.




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.

35A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Don’t be fooled by the signs hawking café sua da. Hidden within the coffee shop interior is a small gallery showing some of Vietnam’s newest talent.

VIET FINE ARTS GALLERY 96 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 6667 If you’re looking for a well-known name, and a high price tag to match, Viet Fine Arts sells work by some of Hanoi’s more famous artists.

GOLF COURSES HANOI CLUB DRIVING RANGE 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3623 8115 A fitness club that also boasts a two-level driving range where the balls are hit into the water. No net means you can gauge your driving. The price for a bucket of golf balls depends on whether or not you’re a member.

TAM DAO GOLF AND RESORT Relatively new golf club near the base of the mountains at Tam Dao. It is about


MAI GALLERY 113 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 0568 Several floors of paintings, regularly changed, by some of the best known contemporary artists in the country, some of whom they’ve helped in gaining international recognition. Mai specialises is finding the perfect décor for both homes and offices.

MAISON DES ARTS 31 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3747 8096 A gallery near the Temple of Literature with several floors bills itself not only as an art gallery, but a multi-purpose social and cultural space. Frequent exhibitions



FOUR SEASONS 14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da Tel: 3537 6250

36-38 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 7192 This art space is home to a large collection of your standard tourist fare along with a smatter of more unique pieces.




Ngo 66 So Nha 2, Pho Yen Lac, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3862 3184 Now operating from the private residence of owner Suzanne Lecht, Art Vietnam is one of Hanoi's most respected galleries, featuring contemporary art in all its forms: painting, lacquer, photography and video, from both up-and-coming and established artists. To see the full list of artworks available, go to the website. Gallery viewing is by appointment only

two hours from the city, but does provide an 18-hole course with a clubhouse and a spectacular view, surrounded by green

7 Hang Khay, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 9071 This small gallery has focused on building a collection of traditional Hanoi images with a modern twist since it opened in 1990. The gallery actively seeks out talented young contemporary artists.

40B Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 8965 This centrally located space houses art by some of Vietnam’s best-known contemporary artists, such as Hoang Hai Anh and Dinh Quan, as well as up and coming artists.

HANOI ART CONTEMPORARY GALLERY Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the best among the agile and aggressive bicycle messengers in New York City. One day when Wilee picks up his last envelope of the day on a premium rush run, he discovers something different with the package. The routine delivery turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan as someone is trying to kill him. Released on Sep. 7 at MegaStar cinema complexes and at Platinum Cineplex in the Garden Shopping Mall, My Dinh

feature both Vietnamese and international artists. Mlle. Nga, who runs the space, also involves herself in several other cultural projects around Hanoi.

ARMY HOTEL 33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 2896

HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 HORISON FITNESS CENTER 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808 MELIA HOTEL 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343 OLYMPIA 4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049 SAO MAI 10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161 SOFITEL PLAZA FITNESS CENTER 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888 THAN NHAN Vo Thi Sau, Hai Ba Trung, (Inside the park) THANG LOI HOTEL 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho

3 Lane 31/10 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2656 A salon and spa offering a variety of cosmetic services, and specialising in western cuts and colour.


FRANGIPANI SPA 405 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh. Tel: 6329 2915 New garden-themed day spa named after the frangipani flower, known in Vietnam for its healing properties. Services include hair salon, nail care and massages. Details to amenities like bathrobes, slippers and towels provide a comfortable atmosphere.

TA SALON Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3716 1754 / 3758 2940 (Ciputra). Hotline: 0912 267613 Multi-functional hair and body salon with a range of treatments running from haircut, highlights, shampoo, straightening and perm to hot stone foot and body massages, a range of facials, waxing, bikini lines and body scrub. With a first salon in Ciputra, TA number two is at the Hanoi club. Popular with both western and Asian expats as well as A-class Vietnamese.

THE HAIR WORKSHOP 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 5980 Located in Hanoi Towers, The Hair Workshop has a number of hairdressers used to cutting and styling all types of hair. The prices are significantly higher than they would be on the street, or at a smaller shop, but there are many people who refuse to go anywhere else. A full service salon that also offers such services as waxing.

HAIR SPACE 137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 0912 127554 Run by an Australian expat named Cat, this is a small but comfortable and well-run hair studio located in the Hidden Hanoi building. There is only Cat and her one assistant, so be sure to make an appointment.

TRAN HUNG HAIR CREATION 5 Ho Xuan Huong, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3943 4946 Located near Reunification Park, Hung has a long list of satisfied clients, both western and Vietnamese. Be prepared to allot one to two hours for a cut and more for colour as Hung is a perfectionist.

KIDS HANOI ZOO Off Kim Ma, opposite Daewoo Hotel Tel: 3834 7395 Really as much a park as it is a zoo, you can find Vietnamese families on picnics here on any given day. Strewn throughout, sometimes in curiously small cages, you’ll also find a number of animals large and small, all indigenous to the country. Also, there are other attractions for children such as a fun house, and big, floating plastic balls they can climb into. The One Man Cinema operates out of here at weekends.

KINDERPARK 614 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Tel: 3710 1666 A huge international indoor playground for children of all ages founded by three likeminded mums. The indoor playground covers an impressive 2,000 sqm, and offers activities, birthday parties and a welltrained staff. There is a café for parents to sit in while their children run amok.

THANG LONG WATER PUPPET THEATRE Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Daily shows of traditional rustic Vietnamese carved puppets, animate folkloric tales accompanied by music. This can be fun for adults as well as children.

THE LITTLE GYM OF HANOI 4th Floor, 402A Vincom Center, Long Bien Tel: 3515 8555, The newest addition to the Hanoi family entertainment scene, this globally-known brand has more than 300 locations across the world. Has a range of programmes for kids aged four months to 12 years old including gymnastics, karate, dance classes, sports skills and more, with the activities focusing on developing both cerebral and physical capacity. Also hosts birthday parties, organises camps and arranges parents nights.

TINIWORLD 51 Xuan Dieu, Syrena Towers; 229 Tay Son, Pico Mall An indoor play-haven for children inside the safety of a shopping centre. Pay an entry fee of VND50,000 and let your kids loose on the jungle gym and video arcade-style games. Small and with enough staff on hand so you can let your kids play, and head out to do a little shopping next door.

VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung There are a bunch of toy stores and shops for children in the mall area of the second tower. Also, near the food court, you’ll find an arcade with video games and tiny rides for very small kids.

LEISURE GENERAL FRIENDS OF VIETNAMESE HERITAGE A non-profit organization devoted to the culture of Vietnam. People from all over the world join together to educate themselves and others on Vietnam and preserve its heritage. The organization holds events such as lectures, city walks and excursions available to the public.

HANOI HASH HOUSE HARRIERS This big, assorted “family” gets together every week to go on out of town excursions, for hour-long runs along paths marked by flour spots, and with no lack of beer stops along the way. Drink and get into shape at the same time, and add some sight-seeing into the picture. Emphasis here is on fun. Bus leaves on Saturdays from the American Club on Hai Ba Trung at 2pm in summer and 1:30pm in winter.

HANOI LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL If you’re looking for a little league baseball team in Hanoi, this is the website to check out. One of the first, if not still the only, such club in town, their mission is to teach young people about the game, teamwork and to have a great time. Practice every Saturday at Xuan Dinh Field from 6.15 to 8.30 am

MASSAGE JUST MASSAGE 237 Au Co, Tay Ho. Tel: 6671 2249 Aromatherapy, Swedish, shiatsu and

pregnancy massages all given by the hands and touch of nine visually impaired therapists. The massages here are professional and, of course, in aid of a great cause. Check their website for their range of promotions.

HANOI AESTHETIC INSTITUTE 14 Yen Phu, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3945 4548 Trained at the Tue Tinh Traditional Hospital, the therapists at this no frills, traditional Vietnamese massage centre use a variety of techniques including tuina, aromatherapy, ayurvedic and shiatsu. Also offer a range of healing treatments as well as not-so-traditional laser and plastic surgery.

THANH GIA 18 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 38 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem One of a number of foot massage parlours in town that has treatments focusing as much on the pressure points of your feet at they do on the rest of your body. Strong hands, unbranded oils and, if you ask, tiger balm oil.

NAILS FANCY SPA 26 Dinh Ngang, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 4183 A small Vietnamese spa and salon. Prices are quite high, but the shop offers a wide range of services in addition to manicure/ pedicure.

LINKQ 271 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3725 2359 One of a chain of all-purpose beauty salons that specialises in manicures and pedicures. This place has a lot of business from word of mouth, so it’s best to call ahead and make an appointment.

THU CUC EXOTICAL SPA 57 Nguyen Khac Hien, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 0316 This all-purpose beauty salon offers spa pedicures in a Zen-like atmosphere where your manicurist won’t be chatting on her mobile phone.

TOP SPOT 52 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 8344 They offer a long-lasting, professional manicure and pedicure service for barely more than you would pay to get your nails cut on the street. The staff doesn’t speak much English, but they have an extensive menu to choose from.

PERFORMING ARTS HANOI CIRCUS 67 Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung For VND50,000, see an array of live performances, both human and animal. Bears ride motorbikes, monkeys do tricks. The acrobatic performances are particularly amazing.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL THEATRE SOCIETY (HITS) Hanoi’s premiere community theatre group has been entertaining audiences around the city since 2001. The amateur acting society both draws from and gives back to the local community. All profits from the bi-yearly performances are donated to charities in Vietnam.

HANOI OPERA HOUSE 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3933 0113 This French colonial building hosts a packed schedule of cultural events throughout the year, everything from the New York Philharmonic to cutting edge Vietnamese performance art has graced its stage.

THANG LONG CA TRU THEATRE 25 Tong dan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3665 54608 Head to this theatre, lodged on the cam-

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leisure & arts



pus of the Vietnam Revolution Museum, for a taste of one of Vietnam’s most traditional musical forms.


YOUTH THEATRE 11 Ngo Thi Nham, Hoan Kiem A few blocks south of Hoan Kiem Lake, this community theatre space hosts both music events and theatre productions.

SPAS KIM DUNG 38 Nguyen Cong Hoan, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3483 50079 Face massage, hair care, manicure, pedicure, this is a one-stop shop for all sorts of comfort services and products. Facilities are clean and modern. Hairstyling also available.

LANCY SPA 35 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9461 This all-purpose spa offers the full menu: massage, nails, skincare at reasonable prices. Discounts offered to regular customers.

Bookworm’s Truong provides us with this month’s recommended reads Not being a native English speaker I was, at first, a bit bemused by all the American moms, dads and grandparents who rushed to buy our first supply of Dr Seuss books for their offspring. So, I just had to read them, and now that I’m more familiar with the rhymes and nonsensical whimsy, I’ve become a great fan of most of his 46 books — but none of the movies! The Cat in the Hat is about two kids who are left alone on a rainy afternoon with nothing to do. A large black-and-white cat in a tall, red-and-white hat pops up on their doorstep. Although their goldfish advises them not to let the Cat in, they do, and he begins to show them tricks and games as do his unusual friends Thing One and Thing Two. The Cat and the Things are told to vamoose by the kids after they turn the house into a dump. However, the Cat returns soon after and shows them his best trick of all — how to pick up after yourself. Now how on earth the movie makers found enough material in that simple rhymed fantasy to turn it into a 70-minute film is beyond me. I only hope that the moms and dads — who spent their American childhoods since 1957 up to their eyeballs in the magic of Dr Seuss stories and wonderful cartoony pictures — had the sense to keep their kids away and thus keep the magic of the books intact for them. Dr Seuss’ birthday on Mar. 2 is now ‘Read Across America Day’ in honour of Theodore Seuss Geisel, who encouraged lots of kids to get into reading, and to those who

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continue to encourage their kids to do the same. THE OJIBWE Another American author that I’ve become a fan of is Louise Erdrich who was born around about the same time as The Cat in the Hat was written. Erdrich is a Native American and just about all her work is connected to the oppression of her people by the all-conquering Europeans. She’s from the prairies of North Dakota and writes about the Ojibwe people, many of her novels are set in and around an Ojibwe reservation. Erdrich confronts the modern difficulties faced by the remnants of the northern plains' indigenous people and outlines the policies and prejudices that marginalised and dispossessed them. I’ve just re-read The Beet Queen, which is set in the small prairie city of Argus. Once you’ve read a few of Erdrich’s 13 novels you become familiar with its dusty streets, its stunted landscape, its European immigrant population and its Ojibwe perimeter dwellers. Now that North Dakota is becoming the oil fracking center of the US, with unemployment a national low, it will be interesting to read Erdrich’s take on the industry and its effects on her people (both indigenous and European), and on the local environment. Erdrich has already been shortlisted for a Pulitzer prize for A Plague of Doves, and Phillip Roth once called her the most interesting novelist to have appeared in years.

THE EPIC The Story of Edgar Sawtelle popped into my line of vision due to the fascinating name of its author, David Wroblewski, though the recommendation by Oprah’s Book Club plastered over the cover almost turned me off. It’s one of those books that you can’t put down, and that means lots of late nights. You also have to stop yourself rushing to the end to find out what happened to young Edgar and his dogs in this epic about devotion, betrayal and courage. Lots of reviewers have drawn thematic comparisons with Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays such as King Lear. As with those plays, in the hands of a brilliant director it’s a mystery, a ghost story and a thriller. It has all the hallmarks of a great tragedy and an ending that will leave you feeling emotionally gutted. After you reluctantly close the last of the 560 pages, you have to agree with Stephen King. “I flat-out loved this,” he declares. My next big read is going to be this year’s Orange Prize winner, The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Before I start this I’m going to spend time reading a simplified version of Homer’s Iliad and catching up on all the ancient Greek heroes who were at the Siege of Troy and the gods who rewarded or destroyed them. It won’t be time wasted because tons of western literature’s themes are based on the Iliad and its sequel about Odysseus. For me it’s all new territory.

LE SPA DU METROPOLE Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 6919 A five-star spa for a five-star hotel, this colonial-style centre of relaxation is pure luxury. Choose the genre of music you want to hear in your treatment room from a menu, select anything from themenamed facials through to traditional, Vietnamese-style massages, and indulge. It comes at price, but when you’ve just got to treat yourself…

ORCHIDS SPA 34 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 4862 Just a few steps away from bia hoi corner, the unisex Orchids spa recently one a VTV award for being one of the top spas in Hanoi. Treatments range from facials through to waxing, saunas and slimming treatments.

SANTAL SPA 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 4686 Private rooms with showers, a beautifully designed interior, well-trained and professional staff. The place to go if you want to forget a busy work week, or the busy streets.

THU CUC EXOTICAL SPA 57 Nguyen Khac Hien, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 0316 Near Truc Bac, Thu Cuc is an all-purpose spa where you can get a full-body massage, a facial, manicure or pedicure in a relaxing environment. Both prices and service are comparable to the West.

ZEN SPA 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 9889 Brushing up against the banks of the Red River, this Indochine-styled day spa hideaway comes replete with an oasis-like bonsai garden and peace and quiet, a perfect tonic to the chaos of the city. Has a range of five-element spa packages as well as just one-off facials and waxings and other treatments. Has a second outlet at 100 Xuan Dieu as well as spas in Hoi An.

SPORTS CLASSES HOANG CAU SPORTS CENTRE 59 Hoang Cau, Dong Da. Tel: 3511 8030 The distinction of this fitness centre is that they have a large space, filled with a “number of different fields of different sizes”. Includes areas for aerobics, football and rugby. Classes depend, according to the season.

RED RIVER RUNNERS The Red River Runners meet every

Saturday to run through the fields and suburbs skirting the Red River in Hanoi. The group organises races, such as the annual Hanoi Triathlon and the Song Hong Half Marathon, which are community events that help to add a different, more social dimension to fitness and sport in the capital.

UNIS COMMUNITY EDUCATION UN International School, Tay Ho. Tel: 3758 1551 The UN International School is located between West Lake and the highway heading to Noi Bai Airport. They have great facilities and offer a number of different classes throughout the year.

TENNIS THUY LOI SPORTS COMPLEX 95 Chua Boc, Dong Da A wide sports pitch that also offers a swimming pool and a football field – if you get tired of tennis. Football fields are almost always crowded, but even for tennis it might be good to go during the off hours.

VAN TUE THANG LONG 136 Ho Tung Mau, Tu Liem A little bit hard to find, but Van Tue Thang Long offers quite a bit of room, with a sit-down restaurant and a few tennis courts. Facilities are a bit run down, but a place to go if you want to play tennis on concrete courts.

VIETNAMESE CLASSES VIETNAMESE TEACHING GROUP 164 Le Thanh Nghi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 7236 9842 Offers not only Vietnamese classes, but also a variety of excursions and events that will help foreigners and expats to better understand Vietnamese culture. Organised and professional, classes are usually sold in blocks, which you pay for in advance.

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY B7 Bis, Bach Khoa, Dong Da, Tel: 3869 4323 This national university also offers some language and culture classes to foreigners. Teaching standards are high, and prices are not unreasonable, at around VND150,000 for a one-on-one lesson.


A western-style yoga studio with three practice rooms offering different types of yoga, pilates, tai chi, meditation and dance. Certified professional teachers provide up to seven classes a day, with private classes also available. Workshops and retreats are also held, both at the studio and further afield.


3B Dang Thai Than, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3913 5497 One of the only yoga studios in town exclusively devoted to the practice. Professional instruction with well-trained teachers, and a very low monthly fee.


3rd floor, 111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 0904 356561 A premier studio offering some of the best yoga, pilates and tai chi in town. Kids’ yoga, prenatal yoga and meditation are also available. Professional instruction along with a peaceful atmosphere creates one of the most zen places in Hanoi. Drop in classes are available for VND200,000 and a month unlimited class pass costs VND1.8 million.




ACCESSORIES & FOOTWEAR BOO SKATESHOP 84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

EURO FASHION SHOES 26, 84/16 Ngoc Khanh Tel: 0904153041 While you may have to dig through piles of mismatched or orthopaedic-looking shoes, this shop is full of hidden gems in larger sizes, a rare find in Hanoi.

EURO SHOES 320 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem If you’re looking for a diamond in the rough, head for Euro shoes, which has a wide selection of options, many of which you’ll want to give a pass. Often carries larger sizes than most Vietnamese retailers.

HANDMADE SHOES 18 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 5357 This cobbler’s shop repairs shoes and makes shoes to order. The staff speaks limited English, so it’s best to bring along your favourite pair to get copied.

HUONG’S JEWELLERY SHOP 62 Hang Ngan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 1046 A small store specialising in silver necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants. While Huong’s merchandise is mostly silver or pearl, the staff will also make jewellery to order.

IPA-NIMA 73 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 4000 Started by Hong Kong born designer Christina Yu, Ipa-Nima’s stores are filled with their one-of-a-kind purses and accessories. Their use of colour, a unique design philosophy and hand done embellishments appeals to jetsetters and fashionistas from Los Angeles to Paris. Always eye-catching and trendy, Ipa-Nima accessories are tangibly timeless and sophisticated.


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LOUIS VUITTON Sofitel Metropole, 15 Ngo Quyen. Tel: 3824 4977 This boutique offers an exclusive collection of the French designer handbags and accessories.

THREE TREES 15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8725 The jewellery on offer, designed by a Belgian expat, often features chunkier gold shapes with small, well-placed diamonds. Hidden in the back of the store there is also a display case featuring less-expensive costume jewelry.

TINA SPARKLE 17 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7616 An eclectic assortment of costume jewelry and Chula dresses are scattered among a wide collection of bags by one of Vietnam’s most popular designers, Ipa-Nima. Check out the seasonal sales for heavy discounts.

VIETNAM OPTICAL 138B Giang Vo, Ba Dinh Tel: 3736 5505 This all-purpose eyewear shop offers free eye exams and a wide selection of frames. Usually there is at least one English-speaking staff present. The quick and easy service means you will be out of the store, lenses in hand, in an hour.

CLOTHING BEO BOUTIQUE 54 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8997 The answer for women who struggle with the Hanoi heat. A locally owned boutique selling simple, unfussy clothing in light and easy to wear styles, perfect for when the humidity rises. Most clothing is made from cotton or silk, but they also have felted jackets for the colder weather. As well as off the rack, do custom orders.

CALVIN KLEIN 19-21 Dinh Tien Hoang ; 61-63 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem If it’s all in a name then Calvin Klein’s lakeside store has got it pretty much sewn up. Underwear sits next to jeans going for around VND2.5 million and a range of quality CK shirts, belts and more. By Hanoi standards, prices are high, but think relative. VND5 million for an original, welltailored pigskin jacket is pretty good going.



2 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh Tel: 3928 6556 Large selection of lenses as well as biomedic contact lenses imported from the US. But buyer beware, lenses in Vietnam usually aren’t scratch-resistant.

37A Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: 3747 1535 High-end silk clothing retailer located near the Temple of Literature carries contemporary looks based on traditional Vietnamese styles.



21 Nguyen Huy Tu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 4972 6327 Home to the world’s finest gemstones, master craftsmen and jewellery experts, London Diamond Gallery is among the most established jewellery houses in the world, with an international presence that spans across England, Japan, Hong Kong and South-East Asia.

23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

45 Phan Dinh Phuong, Ba Dinh Tel: 3629 78574 The limited stock in this clothing store is made up for by the unique design of the pieces, which are refreshed by the designer every month.

GEORGE’S FASHION BOUTIQUE 36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, el: 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-to-measure service are available at no extra cost.

GINKGO T-SHIRTS 44 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem; 79 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem An environmentally conscious and fairtrade company that offers unique designs and a quality product, Ginkgo t-shirts sport ethnic and modern graphics in a rainbow of colors. The company began in Ho Chi Minh City and now has five outlets around Vietnam. These shirts make great gifts or souvenirs, perfect for proving to disbelievers overseas that you’ve visited the home of the conical hat.

HANOI SILK Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3716 3062 Located on the ground floor of the Sofitel Plaza Hotel, this silk shop offers a highquality selection of ready-made items. The most popular sellers include robes, linensilk blend shirts, ties and jackets.

ISALYNA 1 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3762 4405 The retail outlet for local designer Teddie Tran, who believes that fashion is all about “attitude”. Accordingly, the store’s pieces are mostly basics that can be combined with a range of high-quality leather accessories and jewellery for a unique fashion statement.

KANA 41 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3928 6208 Reasonably priced handmade silk clothing and accessories in a wide range of patterns sized to fit western bodies.

KEN SHOP 108 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0256 A popular stop for silk lovers, this store is all about soft and light fabrics. Silk, cotton and silk cotton mixes in creamy summer colours or eclectic prints. Ken has a wide range on offer, from casual summer skirts to fancy dresses. A cute collection of toys made of cotton and imported jewellry and accessories are also for sale.

KENLY SILK 108 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7236 Instantly recognizable with its two-pillared shop front, Kenly prides itself on professional guidance and high-quality materials from a design’s conception to finish. The shop caters to everything from fashion shows to personal designs.

KHAI SILK 133 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 4237 One of the better established silk shops in Hanoi, this store also has a satellite shop in the Sofitel Metropole. With outlets throughout the country, this household name is a great place to go for ready-made silk items. You may find better deals at other shops, but with the highest quality

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fashion silk, at Khai you pay for what you get.

L’ATELIER No 33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3668 5509 Designer store where Le Duyen Huong features her creations and matching accessories and shoes. The trendy shop exudes a pleasant and warm atmosphere and collections change often. Offers tailoring for local and export markets.

LUALA BOUTIQUE 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 9899 Close to the Opera House, this “concept store” dressed up as a spacious boutique and café is aimed at the luxury, lifestylefocused end of the local market. Has clothing and accessories for men and women and stocks the likes of Vera Wang, Nina Ricci, Elie Saab, Paul & Joe and much more. Also slated to show contemporary Vietnamese art. Check out their website for latest arrivals and their full range of brands.

MAGOON 19 Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 9 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem A small fashion house with many outlets around the city, Magoon offers one-of-akind lady like fashions. They have a bit of everything from jackets and dresses to knitwear. The prices are affordable and the merchandise changes often. The main studio is on Au Trieu.

MARIE-LINH COUTURE 11 Nha To, Hoan Kiem 74 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Parisian-style clothing combined with

SUPERMARKETS BIG C SUPERMARKET 222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay CITIMART HANOI TOWERS 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem CITIMART VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung FIVIMART 210 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem 10 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh 671 Hoàng Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da 51 Xuân Dieu, Tay Ho 93 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Online shopping: HANOI STAR SUPERMARKET 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da INTIMEX 22 & 23 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem 131-135 Hao Nam, Dong Da 17 Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung 27 Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da METRO 126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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quality Vietnamese dressmaking skills. The beautiful clothes are available in silk, organza and linen. Also available for online orders. With the accompanying home décor and accessories shop on 38 Hang Trong, it is possible to live an entire life of couture.

METISEKO 40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, 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 fair-trade, Textile Exchange.

MOON 111 Ma May, Hoan Kiem This small shop carries handmade embroidered linen and silk clothes that are usually less expensive than those found at the larger stores. The shop owners make most of the clothes themselves, so they will adjust designs to fit personal tastes.

NAGU 20 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Walk past the rows of teddy bears and head for the small rack of clothing, which offers unique Japanese-designed dresses and shirts. The second floor has a selection of home goods. There is a loyalty program for frequent customers.

NUNA NUNONG 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Racks of flowery frocks line the walls, and handmade fabric garlands hang from the ceiling. You will also find a wide selection of handmade goods, such as hand-painted mugs, totes and baskets of increasingly popular animal pillows.

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.

RUNWAY 13 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 6260 The second branch of the flagship store located in Ho Chi Minh City, Runway sells only authentic designer collections from all over the world. The large store located in the Sun City Building mimics what a designer boutique should look like, with an all white interior. If you are in need of a designer fix, Runway is your answer, but be warned, the prices match the labels.

SOLE 21 21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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. Mark-up seems high on some pieces, but all designers are authentic. No fakes here.

VINATEX 25 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem In-town factory outlet for the Vinatex clothing corp. Carries items for men, women and children at low prices.

LINGERIE ANA MAI 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho This small boutique stocks lingerie similar to Parisian designers Agent Provocateur and Cosabella.



55 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6290 If the classic storefront doesn’t draw you in, the clothing will. The Scandinavian showroom is clean and streamlined, emulating the modern but simple clothing contained within. Cottons and knitwear are the main focus in the European designed clothing for women and children. Prices are affordable and the quality is great.

52 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3822 9051 Pretty, lacy underwear imported from France. Carries mostly small sizes, up to a western sized medium.

SONG 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 6965 This boutique, whose name comes from the Vietnamese word for “life”, stocks high-end 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 higher-end neighbours.

TAN MY 66 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 1579 Located in the heart of the old quarter, on “silk street”, Tan My claims to be Hanoi’s oldest silk and embroidery shop and boasts customers like Hillary Clinton. The three-storey shop offers everything from clothes and hand-embroidered baby pillows to sumptuous silk bedding.

TAN MY DESIGN 61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1154 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-of-a-kind 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.

THINGS OF SUBSTANCE 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 6965 This shop’s motto “Western sizes,

MINOSHE 59 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem This popular store carries a wide range of bras and underwear. Additional locations in Hanoi Towers and Vincom Towers.

SHOPPING MALLS HANG DA GALLERIA Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 9999 This small shopping mall is conveniently located in the centre of the Old Quarter, with all the standard small stores as well as a range of boutiques selling the wares of Vietnamese designers. The Highlands outdoor café is a perfect place to sit and watch the Old Quarter ebb and flow.

HANOI TOWERS 49 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem The retail space on the first floor of this complex includes everything from a golf shop to a hair salon. After shopping you can enjoy a cup of coffee at the Highlands Café or a sandwich at Papa Joe’s.

OCEAN PARK LUXURY MALL 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3936 0737 Shopping mall includes international designers such as Versace collection, Dolce and Gabbana, and Roberto Botticelli.

PARKSON Cnr. Thai Ha & Tay Son, Dong Da This Malaysian-owned department store prides itself on making the shopping experience one that is “more exciting and

fun”. Unlike many of Hanoi’s retailers, this megastore is also appealing to those who just want to browse. Departments include men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as home furnishings.

from Italy and England. The go-to place for top-of-the-range suits and shirts for all occasions. The shop is new and the service spot on.


18 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 9925 Though this tailor offers both men’s and women’s clothing, the well made dresses displayed in the window and the range of bright colours and patterns caters mostly to female tastes. Located in the shadow of the cathedral, it’s a little pricier, but you pay for the view.

299 Tay Son, Dong Da Newly renovated mall housing international stores like French Connection, Nike, and Adidas. A touch far from the centre, but distance brings lower levels of noise and customers, making it a nice option for shopping spree. Also has a movie theatre, a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and a food court.

TRANG TIEN PLAZA 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This large shopping centre located at the southern tip of Hoan Kiem Lake includes shopping options for every price range. Bargain bins full of locally-produced clothing stand beside a Nike retail outlet. Offerings also include a cosmetics department and multiple electronics retailers.

VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 9999 A shopping plaza offering a range of international brands such as Levi’s, United Colours of Benetton, Nike, Adidas and Geox.

SPORTSWEAR ADIDAS 83 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel:3828 7190 The capital city’s flagship store of the international retailer of sport clothing and equipment.

B.BALL 65A Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da Tel:3224 10780 This hoops-themed store sells balls, basketball shoes and jerseys of the madein-China variety.

HANOI CLUB GOLF SHOP 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 A small shop on the first floor of the Hanoi Club sells a range of equipment to fulfill your golfing needs, including clubs, balls and clothes.

NIKE Trang Tien Plaza, 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem; Vincom Towers, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung With multiple locations open, and more to come, Nike retails high-end sports clothing and accessories, including yoga mats and water bottles.

TOLIA Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Also known as the “Russian shop”, Tolia retails overstock outdoor wear made for export. Brands include Jack Wolfskin, The North Face and Patagonia.

ZONE GOLF Hanoi Towers, 49 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3936 3233 This centrally-located shop carries all the equipment and gear you need for a day at the course.

TAILORS CAO MINH TAILORS 250 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3939 3594 Located near Cua Nam street at the western-most end of Hang Bong, this established tailor with over 50 years of experience specialises in quality materials




home UV-resistant and moisture-resistant, all the paper is made in Sweden and shipped free within Hanoi.

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NGOC SHOP 64 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4747 This English-speaking tailor located near the fabric market off Pho Hue offers a seasonal collection of ready-made designs. The owner will also copy clothing or sew from your own designs. Fabric can be picked out in the shop or you can bring your own.

MS TAM Tel: 0989 098903 With a long list of foreign clientele, Ms Tam works from her home not too far outside of central Hanoi. She will pay a visit to where you live to take measurements and then bring the final clothes back a few days later. She also carries a book of fabric swatches for those who truly want to skip the shopping experience.

PHUONG LINH TAILOR 99 Son Tay, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 083674 Exceptional quality at very reasonable prices, Phuong Linh may not speak English but her and her team make every effort to understand the task at hand. From copying your favourite garments to creating something new or from a magazine, Phuong and her girls succeed in getting it right time and time again.

THANH HA 114 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Located in the heart of the old quarter, this tailor caters mostly to tourists, but a large collection of Vogue pattern books makes communication very easy.

OPTICIANS & GLASSES SUNGLASSES STREET Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem If it’s all in a name, well here its all in a number — two of them in fact, 51 & 58. Not exactly conventional opticians — the rows of shops here do sell frames with lenses and have basic eye-testing services — but if its sunglasses with brand names super-glued on top, here is the place.

THU HA KINH THUOC 134 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4570 Free eye testing in this well-known, German-trained opticians that also doubles up as a medical clinic and pharmacy specialising in eye problems. Sells a range of branded and no n-branded spectacles and sunglasses. Located opposite the National Hospital of Ophthalmology.


48 Hai Ba Trung, Hai Ba Trung & 231 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan Tel: 3736 5505 Chain of opticians, glasses and sunglasses stores selling a range of branded and Chinese-imported frames starting at VND100,000 a go and rising to over VND2 million. The in-store optometrist gives free eye tests. Helpful, English-speaking staff.


tion, which helps disabled and underprivileged children in Hanoi and northern provinces.

8 Nguyen Hoang Ton, Tay Ho Founded as a donut shop, it now also offers a wide range of German-inspired breads for those who favour nutrition over sugar. A loaf of rye bread rings in at VND40,000. Donuts, breads, cookies and sandwiches can be ordered online and delivered to your home or office. The bakery employs mostly disabled persons and is dedicated to providing them with high-quality training and care.



58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem; 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 0473063682 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.

252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem One of the oldest and most wellestablished 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.

38 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 0436 This newly-opened shop sells specially designed decorative objects in traditional Vietnamese lacquer and pottery in unique styles. It also retails small accessories that are easy to pack in your suitcase. Items are sold in the shop and online.



LE CROISSANT 21 Ha Hoi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3943 6707 A well established and well respected Hanoi institution. Le Croissant not only makes excellent baked goods of all kinds, but is also part of the NGO Hoa Sua, a school for disadvantaged children that teaches them life changing skills.

PARIS DELI 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6697 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.

THU HUONG BAKERY 35C Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh Tel: 3734 3868 A small but popular Vietnamese-style bakery selling all types of sweets and cakes, luxuriously decorated. They also sell baguettes and sliced breads. They also deliver.

CRAFTS CRAFTLINK 43 Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: 3843 7710 This non-profit organisation helps traditional artisans seek new markets. for sale in the retail space include handmade textiles from the northern provinces.

INDIGENOUS 36 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0977 799911 A crafts and home furnishings shop stocked by the Hold The Future organisa-

BAMBOO FURNITURE CORNER Cnr. Quang Trung & Tran Nhan Trong, Hai Ba Trung This cluster of furniture shops offer lowpriced bamboo products from baskets and desks to drawers.

BELLIZENO 130D Thuy Khue, Ba Dinh Tel: 3825 1343 The factory location of the Bellizeno bedding company includes a retail space for their high thread count sheets and bedding.

CARPET STREET There are a number of made-to-order carpet and rug stores along Kim Ma from roughly number 239 to 299.

CHI VANG 63 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 0601 Located near the lake, this store offers a wide range of embroidered bedding and tablecloths. Items can be purchased in the store or hand-embroidered to order.

COTYLEDON 1A Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7887 This shop stocks high-end duvet and cushion covers, quilts and tableware like runners and placemats.

DARLING HANOI Tel: 01282 273717 Photowalls and Wallpaper of the highest quality. Create a photowall from your own image or choose an image from their large online catalogue. Inspiring and unique wall décor for private homes, offices and reception areas, hotel rooms and foyers, restaurants and bars. PVC-free,

DOME 10 Yen The, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3843 6036 Internationally run furniture store with three large outlets in Hanoi. They offer ‘affordable luxury’ goods such as pillows, bed linens and other home wears, in addition to making custom furniture.

EUROPEAN IKEA SHOP 35 Ngo Thanh Mie, Dong Da This tiny shop carries a small collection of IKEA brand furniture, but can order more from the catalogue.

GRAND BOIS Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This high-end wooden furniture store located on the first floor of Hanoi Towers has offered best-selling designs for a decade. The classic pieces are mostly constructed out of dark wood and are complemented with cream-coloured linen lampshades and cushions.

HANOI MOMENT 101 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7170 This shop makes sifting through lacquer kitchenware and accessories easy. While its stock may not differ from the stores next door, the display is less overwhelming.

LA CASA Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 4084 2C Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 9616 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.

MAI LONG 71 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3822 5393 This shop sells material for curtains and window blinds. They make house calls to measure and install.

MAROON 156 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7264 Nestled in the heart of the old quarter, Maroon sells accent pieces to brighten up any household: lacquer picture frames, lamps, and silk bedding.

METISEKO 40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, 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.

MODULE 7 83 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 7247 Open since 2002, this interior design firm and home store creates modern and simple collections. They use local materials and traditional craftsmanship for a cool mix of contemporary Vietnamese living spaces. Their

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ELECTRONICS CAMERAS 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 computerrelated task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes. VIETSAD 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.

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showroom showcases floor to ceiling windows, which allows for a bright open design centre.

MOSAIQUE BOUTIQUE 22 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6181 Hard to miss, this bright green boutique blends Vietnamese traditionalism with modern flair. The result is a shop selling intricate lamps, lacquers and fun home wears. Handmade jewellery and crafts are also scattered around the store.


L’S PLACE 3 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho; 34 A Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Cramped and crammed to the bursting point with imported food products, making your way around the maze that is L’s Place can often be a tight affair, but it’s worth it. The canned and packaged goods together with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and more can provide the dietary solution for anyone craving for a change from pho ga or bun cha.


CT 6 My Dinh, Tu Liem; 147 Doi Can, Ba Dinh; 210 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3972 7412 Designers and retailers within the interior industry, each branch sells trendy furniture for modern living as well as interior design for all types Vietnamese houses.

62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 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.



87 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 6758 This store is an impressive mix of fusionwestern furniture and home accessories. All furniture is hand crafted by artisans meaning top-end quality, but with price tags to match.

VELVET UNDERGROUND Tel: 3716 0400 This shop offers a range of ready made items, from bedding to hot water bottle covers as well as the option of designing your own item from a choice of fabrics. The friendly and helpful English-speaking staff make shopping a pleasure instead of a chore.

GROCERIES AU DELICE 3 The Giao, Ha Ba Trung Tel: 3972 0584 A European style deli and grocery store with all sorts of imported products for your dinner parties or a homesick night in. Their claim is to have the best selection of cheeses in Hanoi.

BETTERDAY 100 A Xuan Dieu Tel: 4258 3511 Hanoi’s speciality organic shop has a small stock of locally grown products including coffee, tea, cashews, a range of spices and beauty products produced in Sapa. Better Day Organics products are also available at the following stores: L’s Place, Oasis and Donkey Donuts

CLASSIC FINE FOODS 19/298 Ngoc Lam, Gia Lam Tel: 3873 6079 The place to go for imported foods such as foie gras, high-quality meats, pastas and dairy products. Although they specialise in the wholesale market, they occasionally do retail sales.

HUNG LONG MINIMART 71B Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 6220 This little store around Westlake has the feeling of one of those small ethnic markets you find in London or New York, but the ethnicity is Western. Reasonably priced canned foods, potato chips, cookies and other snacks that may be difficult to find elsewhere in the city.

28 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6492 9597 If you have a sweet tooth this store was made for you. Near the corner of Ly Quoc Su, Rock Candy specializes in the obvious, traditional rock candy. You can sample before you buy, and Rock Candy is available for weddings, private and corporate functions.

VEGGIE’S 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 4719 4630 International grocer at the end of Xuan Dieu, Veggie’s remains one of the best suppliers of western foods in the city. Stock includes organic granola bars, frozen corn dogs and shelves full of cereal. When searching for baking supplies, this store is your best bet. Also, due to having their own farm in Dalat, sell some of the best locally grown non-standard vegetables in town.

VINE CELLAR DOOR 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2922 With a huge wine cellar, a tasting bar, a new array of gourmet foods and a deli case with imported meats, cheeses and olives, Vine Cellar Door Wine & Gourmet Market is a good spot to find the perfect bottle and the foods that go well with it. Also offers glassware, wine & cigar accessories, espresso, gourmet tea and a small café menu from the kitchen of Vine Restaurant.

THE OASIS 24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 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.

YUKI’S 54 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6192 New on the scene, this grocer on Xuan Dieu has a large selection of fruits and seafood downstairs. Upstairs is reserved for a grocery store carrying western goods.

KITCHEN PRODUCTS KITCHEN ART 38/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 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.

PUNTO ITALIA 62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 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.

LIQUOR & WINE BACCHUS CORNER 1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

DA LOC 96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem; 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 1325 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.

HANOI GOURMET 1B Ham Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

PANE E VINO WINE SHOP 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

RED APRON 18 Yen The Tel: 3747 4889 15a Ngo Van So Tel: 3943 7226 28 Xuan Dieu Tel: 3719 8337 #6, Lane 1, Au Co Tel: 3718 6271 Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu Tel: 3823 8749 The retail face of wine distributor Celliers d’Asia, this small wine shop is in the French Quarter, adjacent to the Metropole. The focus here is on quality and the portfolio ranges from French to Chilean to the barrage of wines coming from Down Under. Delivery service available.

THE WAREHOUSE 59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0439 287666 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.

medical buff


VINE CELLAR DOOR 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2922 With a huge wine cellar, a tasting bar, a new array of gourmet foods and a deli case with imported meats, cheeses and olives, Vine Cellar Door Wine & Gourmet Market is a good spot to find the perfect bottle and the foods that go well with it. Also offers glassware, wine & cigar accessories, espresso, gourmet tea and a small café menu from the kitchen of Vine Restaurant.

MARKETS CHO HOM Corner of Pho Hue and Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung One of the best places in the city to buy fabrics. Found a tailor, want to make clothes? Here you’ll find everything you need, stuff imported and domestic, silk, cotton, linen. Also any sewing materials you might need can be found here.

CHO SINH VIEN Xuan Thuy and Pham Hung, Cau Giay The Student Market, across from Hanoi National University, caters to students. Mostly durable goods, clothing and accessories here. As far as style and size of clothes, selection is a bit limited, but if you take your time you may find something worth the trouble. The market, as well as the food stalls surrounding it, are open quite late. Prices are also tailored for the student budget.


Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem The biggest market of it’s kind in Hanoi, Dong Xuan is filled with pretty much any durable good you can think of: from jeans to jewelry, from leaf tea to livestock. The indoor market spills out onto the streets, which can also serve a good place to get a meal pretty much any time.


Au Co, East Side of Street The name can be a little deceptive, since it’s more of a distribution point, where flowers come in to vendors all over the city. Of course you can buy directly from sellers here at a good price, provided you’re up late enoug`h. The other reason to come is for the pho stands. The market begins late at night and continues well past dawn.

PETS CITY ZOO 114A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 6660 7749 Hanoi pet lovers take notice. A real pet store selling all your pet needs exists. City Zoo caters to dogs, cats, birds and fish. Dog beds line the walls at this small shop which also offers a range of imported pet food, accessories like collars and pet toys. You can even pick up a hamster while you’re here. Delivery is available on pet food.

RABIES MOSTLY TRANSMITTED BY BITES from stray dogs, rabies kills about 55,000 people a year around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The largest group of victims is children under 15. Rabies kills around 100 people a year in Vietnam, the National Institute of Health and Epidemiology (NIHE) reported. To heighten awareness of this disease, WHO observes World Rabies Day on Sep. 28. Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies (usually late in the disease), the disease is nearly always fatal. For that reason, anyone who may have a risk of contracting rabies should receive rabies vaccines for protection as soon as possible. PREVENTION AND SYMPTOMS Signs and symptoms (just days before death) may include: fever, headache, agitation, anxiety, confusion, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing, as well as hallucinations, insomnia and even partial paralysis. Seek immediate medical care if you're bitten by any animal. Based on your injuries and the situation in which the bite occurred, you and your doctor can decide whether you should receive treatment to prevent rabies. Even if you aren't sure whether you've been bitten, seek medical attention. For instance, a bat that flies into your room while you're sleeping may bite you without waking you. Also, if you find a bat near a person who can't report a bite, such as a small child or a person with a disability, assume that person has been bitten. Rabies infection is caused by the rabies virus, which is spread through the saliva of infected animals. These animals can spread the virus by biting

another animal or a person. In rare cases, rabies can be spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes, such as the mouth or eyes. This could occur if an infected animal were to lick an open cut on your skin. Any mammal can transmit the rabies virus. NIHE in Hanoi says that domestic dogs are responsible for most human cases (97 percent) — the rest come from cats. Despite this, the vaccination ratio for dogs nationwide ranges from between 60 to 70 percent, although that number can drop as low as zero percent in some provinces. Wild animals that may carry the disease in Vietnam include bats, foxes and monkeys. There has never been a documented case of human-to-human rabies transmission. In rare cases, the virus has been transmitted to tissue and organ transplant recipients from an infected organ. IMMEDIATE ACTION WHEN BITTEN Wash your wound gently and thoroughly with soap and generous amounts of water. This may help wash away the virus. If the animal that bit you can be contained or captured without causing more injury, do so. Do not kill the animal with a blow or a shot to the head, as the resulting injuries may make it difficult to perform laboratory tests to determine whether the animal has rabies. At the time a rabid animal bites you, there's no way to know whether the animal has transmitted the rabies virus to you. For this reason, treatment to prevent the rabies virus from infecting your body is recommended if the doctor thinks there's a chance you have been exposed to the virus. Blood and tissue tests are used to diagnose rabies in animals that have signs and symptoms of the infection.

TREATMENTS AND VACCINES There is no specific treatment for rabies infection. Though a small number of people have survived rabies, the disease is usually fatal. For that reason, anyone thought to have been exposed to rabies receives a series of shots to prevent the infection from taking hold. There are two types of rabies shots. 1) A fast-acting shot (rabies immune globulin) is often given to prevent the virus from infecting you. Part of this injection is given near or around the area where the animal bit you if possible, as soon as possible after the bite. Any excess immune globulin is given into the buttocks. 2) There are also a series of rabies vaccines to help your body learn to identify and fight the rabies virus. Rabies vaccines are given as injections in your arm. You receive five injections over 14 to 21 days. In some cases, it's possible to determine whether the animal that bit you has rabies before beginning the series of rabies shots — if it's determined the animal is healthy, you won't need the shots. Procedures for determining whether an animal has rabies vary by situation. For instance, cats and dogs that bite can be observed for 10 days to see if they show signs and symptoms of rabies. If the animal that bit you remains healthy during the observation period, then it doesn't have rabies and you won't need rabies shots. Regardless, each situation should be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is very important to talk to your doctor to determine whether you should receive rabies shots. Dr WB McNaull MB ChB MPhil (Cambridge) DTM&H FRSTM (London) is the medical director of FMP, 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh

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visit for a comprehensive list of our listings



enjoy the dental experience. Has an attentive and experienced mixed foreign and Vietnamese dental team who are there at all times to assist with any questions or concerns.

PEACE DENTAL CLINIC 51a Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 2286 Established in 2001, it is run by an American dentist named Frederick. The clinic has a number of dentists trained in such places as Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic – so the doctors are also fluent in many languages.






80 Ngo Nui Truc, Ba Dinh Tel: 0913 540907 Dr. Tran Huong is well-known in Hanoi thanks to his long experience as both a practitioner of traditional Chinese and Western medicine. The clinic treats severe and chronic pain with a variety of drug-free methods, including acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and moxibustion.

Cnr. Thai Ha & Tay Son, Dong Da One of the newer malls in the city, Malaysian-owned Parkson offers international name brand cosmetics. For those days when you feel like treating yourself, do your shopping in a real mall atmosphere.

YAKUSHI CENTER Lane 28, No 6, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1971 The centre offers such services as acupuncture, massage and traditional Chinese medicine. One of their specialties is the hot rock massage. Run by Dr. Thuy, a qualified practitioner, the Yakushi Center has a clean and relaxing environment and takes a holistic approach to health, designed to take care of both body and mind.

TRANG TIEN PLAZA 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Stop here for everything from moisturizer to lipstick before heading upstairs to continue the shopping trip. Keep in mind, imported cosmetics don’t come cheap.

COUNSELLING INTERNATIONAL SOS VIETNAM, LTD. 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3934 0666 In addition to emergency healthcare, the clinic also offers consultations by in-house specialists, full counselling and psychotherapy services. Call to make an appointment.

FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE Van Phuc Compound, 298 I Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh Tel: 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.

COSMETIC SURGERY NEW LIFE CLINIC 6 Nguyen Thi Thap, Khu do thi moi Trung Hoa, Nhan Chinh Tel: 6261 6166 www.newlifevietnam.comA small clinic that offers cosmetic dental work, skin treatments and minor cosmetic surgery. The on site doctor, Ms. Ha, was trained at the University of Southern California.

DENTAL AUSTRALIAN DENTAL CLINIC 3 Nguyen Du, Dong Da Tel: 3944 5216 A clinic with modern facilities and internationally trained dentists. The prices here are more than competitive than the other international dental clinics in town.

HONG NGOC HOSPITAL 95 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh Tel: 3716 3972 The dental practice is located on the first floor of this well-organised health clinic. The waiting time is short and the doctors competent.

ONE DENTAL No 8, Lane 27, Xuan Dieu,Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6168 Providing quality dentistry in a calm, relaxing environment where patients can

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1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3934 0666 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. This is the place to go when your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the night, or you fall down and break a tooth. Competent doctors and fast service.

ONE DENTAL CLINIC No 8, Alley 27, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6168 Providing clients with the best in dentistry, the international standard One Dental but also creates a calm, relaxing environment where customers can enjoy their dental experience. Using the latest technology, the attentive and experienced One Dental team is there all the time to assist customers with any questions or concerns they may have.

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi Tel: 3710 0555 www.westcoastinternational The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who share a vision to deliver modern, highlevel dental services throughout Vietnam. From the waiting room to the chair, the clinic is designed to provide the highest quality technology, comfort and afterservice care to patients.

MEDICAL FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 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.

FMP PEDIATRIC UNIT Van Phuc Compound, 298 D Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3726 5222 At the new Pediatric Unit of the Family Medical Practice Hanoi, services include routine newborn and well-child check-ups, updated immunizations and vaccinations, out-patient treatment and follow-up. FMP’s pediatric specialists provide professional consultancy for every milestone in your child’s life, from infancy to adolescence.

FRENCH HOSPITAL 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da Tel: 3577 1100 This was the first international hospital created in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical treatment. Offers everything from standard medical and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff that speak good French and English.

INTERNATIONAL SOS 24-HOUR CLINIC 1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 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.

PHARMACIES H CLINIC 24T 1 Hoang Dao Thuy, Cau Giay Tel: 6251 2835 A clinic with a very large pharmacy that can fill pretty much any prescription you get in Hanoi. They also offer minor medical consultations.

NHA THUA VINH PHUC 625 Hoang Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh While it appears to be your basic street pharmacy, this small shop front stocks some hard-to-find medicine.

SUPPLEMENTS AMEVITA SUPPLEMENTS Tel: 3759 2515 Sells high quality vitamins and supplements imported from the USA including multivitamins, probiotics, joint care, herbals, fitness and anti-aging products. Free delivery in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Available online and at select retailers.

ULTIMATE NUTRITION Hotline: 0917 295091 Protein supplements, high quality vitamins, testosterone, muscle gain and fat loss supplements for those looking for professional sports nutrition to help their exercise or training regime. Call the hotline for free delivery to your home or office.

VETS ANIMAL CARE 16 ngo 424 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: 2246 1946 / 0978 776099 Locally-run clinic specialising in treating cats and dogs as well as providing a range of pet-care accessories, from animal food to clothing, toys and much more.

ASIAN VETERINARY & LIVESTOCK SERVICES (ASVELIS) 98 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3178 2779 English, French and Vietnamese-speaking veterinarian providing a range of medical services as well as grooming, boarding and certification for pet import and export. Also sells a range of pets toys as well as other products.

DR. BAO, MOBILE VETERINARIAN Tel: 0903 223217 On-call, English-speaking veterinarian who does the rounds in Hanoi. Wellrespected, knowledgeable and, according to the feedback, very funny.

INTERNATIONAL LABORATORY & VETERINARY SERVICES 31 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District Tel: 3719 9994 A Vietnamese-owned small-animal veterinary clinic with English-speaking vets. Offers a range of healthcare and laboratory services as well as a selection of products for all animal needs. Products can be ordered online via their website.


Người Con Tây Của Hà Nội Viết bởi Nick Ross // Ảnh bởi Aaron Joel Santos


"Töi sinh ra úã àêy," hoåa syä George Burchett noái, àûa tay khoanh caã möåt vuâng höì Truác

Baåch. Ðoá laâ möåt lúâi noái baån thûúâng nghe thêëy úã Haâ Nöåi khi ngöìi uöëng möåt cöëc bia húi hay möåt ly caâ phï bïn caånh Höì Têy. Chuáng töi cuäng àang uöëng bia húi. "Khöng hùèn nhû vêåy," anh noái tiïëp vúái ngûä àiïåu Chêu Êu nhûng khoá nhêån biïët àûúåc chñnh xaác vuâng naâo cuãa mònh. "Ðoá laâ möåt nùm sau trêån Ðiïån Biïn Phuã. Böë töi laâ Wilfred Burchett. Anh biïët àêëy, nhaâ baáo àêìu tiïn vaâo Hiroshima sau sûå kiïån bom nguyïn tûã." Töi nhanh choáng nhêån thêëy thiïëu xoát cuãa mònh khi khöng mêëy quan têm túái lõch sûã baáo chñ. Töi tòm kiïëm ngay trïn Google tûâ maáy àiïån thoaåi cuãa mònh vïì Wilfred Burchett. Vaâ töi chó coân biïët haá höëc miïång. Ðûúåc biïët àïën nhû möåt cêy viïët àêìy khiïu khñch nhûng chñnh xaác vïì cuöåc chiïën úã Haân Quöëc vaâ Viïåt Nam cuâng vúái sûå àöìng caãm cho chïë àöå Cöång Saãn, nhaâ baáo ngûúâi UÁc Wilfred Burchett àaä tûâng laâ möåt ngûúâi baån thên cuãa Höì Chñ Minh. Baâi tûúâng thuêåt gêy tranh caäi cuãa öng trúã thaânh möåt trong nhûäng yïëu töë quan troång àïí àûa thïë giúái ra khoãi Chiïën Tranh Laånh. Baây toã quan àiïím ngûúåc laåi vúái baáo chñ phiïën diïån cuãa phûúng Têy thúâi àoá àöìng nghôa vúái phó baáng chñnh quyïìn. Túái nùm 1969, bõ buöåc töåi laâm phoáng viïn cho KGB, nhaâ baáo nöíi loaån naây àaä bõ tûâ chöëi nhêåp caãnh UÁc àïí tham dûå lïî tang cuãa böë öng. Nhûng rêët ñt ngûúâi coá thïí tûâ chöëi nhûäng aãnh hûúãng maâ öng àaä àïí laåi trong àoá coá baâi baáo Tai Hoåa Haåt Nhên xuêët baãn trïn baáo The Express cuãa Anh, chñnh baâi baáo naây àaä laâm cho öng nöíi tiïëng. Tiïën vaâo Hiroshima möåt mònh chó 30 ngaây sau khi Myä neám bom nguyïn tûã, öng ngêåp chòm trong khöëi buåi bùåm cuãa möåt thaânh phöë bõ phaá huãy. Sau gêìn 70 nùm sau ngaây àoá, nhûäng lúâi viïët cuãa öng vêîn mang àêìy yá nghôa: Töi viïët nhûäng sûå thêåt naây lïn möåt caách vö tû nhêët maâ töi coá thïí vúái hi voång noá seä laâ möåt lúâi

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caãnh baáo vúái thïë giúái. Lêìn àêìu tiïn khi ài xem khu vûåc mùåt àêët núi coá quaã bom nguyïn tûã, töi àaä thêëy möåt sûå taân phaá kinh khuãng vaâ àaáng súå nhêët trong voâng böën nùm cuãa cuöåc chiïën. Ðïën nöîi so vúái núi àêy, möåt hoân àaão bõ phaá huãy úã Thaái Bònh Dûúng cuäng coân laâ thiïn àûúâng. Sûå huãy hoaåi lúán hún rêët nhiïìu nhûäng gò maâ caác bûác aãnh coá thïí mang àïën.

Phía Sau Bức Màn Möåt vaâi ngaây sau, töi vaâ George Burchett laåi cuâng ngöìi uöëng bia Halida vúái nhau úã möåt quaán bònh dên khaác, lêìn naây trong laâng Yïn Phuå Khi hai tuöíi, George rúâi Haâ Nöåi cuâng vúái meå anh ngûúâi Bulgaria vaâ caã gia àònh chuyïín túái söëng taåi Mowscow cho túái khi anh taám tuöíi. Nùm 1965, hoå túái Phnom Penh vaâ nùm 1969 túái Paris. Lúán lïn trong möi trûúâng nhû vêåy khiïën George caãm giaác nhû mònh àang söëng trong thïë giúái cöí tñch. "Khi töi lúán lïn [böë töi] àang baão vïå Viïåt Nam," anh nhúá laåi. "Öng thûúâng xuyïn ài vúái nhûäng ngûúâi baån Viïåt Cöång. Vò thïë, vúái töi, Viïåt Nam laâ nhûäng ngûúâi anh huâng vaâ nhûäng keã khaác àïìu xêëu xa hïët." Khi böë öng bõ mêët höå chiïëu UÁc möåt caách bñ êín nùm 1955, caã gia àònh àaä di chuyïín duâng giêëy thöng haânh do chñnh quyïìn Bùæc Viïåt Nam cêëp. Ðoá laâ thúâi kyâ ngay caã khi söëng úã Liïn Xö, George vêîn caãm thêëy nhû mònh laâ möåt ngûúâi Viïåt Nam thûåc thuå. "Töi yïu Liïn Xö," anh noái. "Töi yïu têët caã nhûäng lyá tûúãng cuãa noá, lõch sûã, Caách Maång Thaáng Mûúâi, Lïnin. Vaâ töi nhúá têët caã nhûäng bûác tranh tuyïn truyïìn cöí àöång – hoâa bònh vaâ thõnh vûúång cho caã thïë giúái. Ðoá laâ tû tûúãng cho rùçng möåt thïë giúái lyá tûúãng coá thïí àûúåc taåo dûång. Têët nhiïn àûúâng löëi cuãa Viïåt Nam phuâ húåp vúái lyá thuyïët àoá." Khi gia àònh anh chuyïín túái Campuchia, phong traâo chöëng chiïën tranh àaä bùæt àêìu lúán maånh. Vúái vai troâ tûúâng thuêåt tûâ nûãa kia cuãa thïë giúái, böë cuãa anh àaä trúã thaânh möåt biïíu tûúång coá têìm aãnh hûúãng lúán. George nhúá coá têët caã caác loaåi ngûúâi "túái gùåp

böë [töi] àïí tòm àûúâng vaâo Haâ Nöåi." Anh thïm vaâo: "Theo nhûäng gò töi quan têm, chuáng töi àaä àûáng àuáng bïn cuãa lõch sûã. Noá nhû laâ möåt cuöåc chiïën giûäa caác vò sao, vaâ chuáng töi àaä chiïën àêëu cho caác chiïën binh chöëng laåi thïí chïë thöëng trõ. Chuáng töi thûúâng goåi nhûäng ngûúâi Viïåt Cöång laâ nhûäng öng chuá àïën tûâ rûâng nuái."

Màu Sắc Cuöëi cuâng George quay trúã laåi Haâ Nöåi vaâo nùm 2011 àïí töí chûác möåt buöíi triïín laäm kyã niïåm trùm tuöíi cuãa böë öng taåi Baão taâng Höì Chñ Minh. Thu thêåp nhûäng bûác aãnh cuãa Wilfred Burchett, nhûäng taâi liïåu vaâ thûúác phim cuâng vúái buöíi biïíu diïîn, Nhaâ xuêët baãn Thïë Giúái àaä cho ra àúâi cuöën saách song ngûä "Wilfred Burchett 100 tuöíi vaâ Höì Chñ Minh". Trong àoá cuäng coá möåt taái baãn in cuãa möåt höì sú ñt àûúåc biïët àïën nùm 1972 vúái tïn goåi "Biïët ún Höì Chñ Minh". Thúâi gian quay trúã laåi Haâ Nöåi vaâ thûåc hiïån buöíi biïíu diïîn àoá laâm cho George coá caãm giaác nhû àûúåc trúã vïì nhaâ. "Böîng nhiïn töi thêëy mònh àûúåc trúã laåi vúái nhûäng võ anh huâng." "Töi lúán lïn vúái nhûäng tû tûúãng trùæng, àen roä raâng, caái xêëu vaâ caái töët," anh noái. "Nhûng giúâ àêy nhûäng thûúác maâu trùæng àen àoá àaä chuyïín thaânh gam maâu sùåc súä vaâ töi àaä bõ cuöën huát búãi nhûäng sùæc maâu vaâ hûúng võ cuãa Viïåt Nam. Töi rúâi núi naây khi múái hai tuöíi nïn töi khöng coá chuát kyá ûác naâo. Nhûng coá caái gò àoá vïì maâu vaâng trïn moåi núi baån nhòn thêëy laâm töi rêët yïu noá, vaâ maäi töi vêîn khöng thêëy nhaâm chaán." Giúâ àêy khi àaä sinh söëng vúái vúå con úã àêy, àoá laâ möåt sûå phuåc hûng, möåt sûå thûác tónh àang giuáp George söëng laåi nhûäng ngaây thaáng cöí tñch thúâi thú êëu cuãa mònh. "Ðöëi vúái töi [söëng úã Haâ Nöåi nhû laâ] àûúåc gùæn kïët laåi vúái nhûäng chuyïån kïí vïì nhûäng ngûúâi anh huâng, vúái ba chaâng lñnh ngûå lêm maâ töi àaä àûúåc nghe. Giúâ àêy moåi thûá phûác taåp hún rêët nhiïìu. Noá chaåm vaâo möåt goác têm höìn baån maâ úã phûúng Têy baån khöng caãm nhêån thêëy."

Ho Chi Minh City



The Bodyguard Your safety is his concern. Words by James Pham. Photo by Quinn Ryan Mattingly


ociety has become obsessed with celebrities. With the pervasiveness of the internet, gossip magazines and entertainment-related TV shows, anyone can gain immediate access to information about their favourite stars — who’s romancing who, how much plastic surgery is on that face, what latest diet craze they’re on and everything else under the glittering sun. But seeing a celebrity in real life takes it to another level. While an odd encounter with a single fan looking for a photo to tweet or autograph to cherish is part of celebrity life, multiply that by a few thousand delirious, screaming ones intent on getting everything from a handshake or a space-invading hug, kiss or momento, and personal security becomes a real issue. Enter Rod Stubbs, aka ‘The Bodyguard’. The interview with Rod is set at a small table in the crowded lounge at Strata, the establishment on the 50th floor of the Bitexco Tower. In walks a tall, stocky man dressed all in black and sporting dark sunglasses (which remained on during the entire interview). “Let’s go over here,” he says, as he heads towards a deserted area of the restaurant, bypassing smiling waitresses and chatting up managers, casually throwing in the line, “I helped build this floor”.

International Man of Mystery Indeed, Rod Stubbs is a man of mystery. Or at least he likes to portray himself that way. He’s also a master in kung fu. “In this business, being able to choke someone out and have them wake up wondering, ‘Where am I?’ is pretty handy,” he says. Having done internal investigations and protection work for the Australian government and having been a member of the Australian Special Forces for eight years, bodyguarding came naturally to Rod. He scored his first security job at 18-years-old

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at a radio station where he had to deal with a deranged “nutso” wielding a knife demanding to meet Cyndi Lauper. Since arriving in Vietnam almost 11 years ago and setting up his own security company with more than 1,000 employees, he’s guarded everyone from the Prime Minister to The Backstreet Boys. “When I first arrived, the protection industry was still pretty raw with only basic guard services,” he says. “There’s still a long way to go. It’s difficult here to provide a high level of training because if you train someone too well, they might disappear [to another job] the next month. There’s a big hole in

"There’s a big hole in security in Vietnam at the moment. But we’re hoping things change. Right now, the minimum wage for a general security guard is only VND2.3 million a month” security in Vietnam at the moment. But we’re hoping things change. Right now, the minimum wage for a general security guard is only VND2.3 million a month.” Despite the occasional kidnapping or high profile robbery, Rod says Vietnam is not considered “high threat”. That all goes out the window when it comes to celebrities, though, Korean pop stars in particular. Korea has even coined a term to describe overly obsessive groupies who take fandom a step beyond stalking — ‘sasaeng fans’ (‘sasaeng’ is Korean for ‘private life’). Sasaeng fans have been known to do everything from install GPS

trackers in their idol’s car, or in the case of girls too young to drive, shell out hundreds of dollars a day to hire a car and driver to follow stars around. Some have even poisoned rivals or sent messages written in menstrual blood.

Kiss & Sniff Fortunately Vietnamese fans haven’t quite reached that level of sasaeng, although Korean superstar Bi Rain’s Hanoi visit earlier this year caused a national stir when a television insider reported that a seat (A12, to be exact) that Rain sat in during rehearsals was swarmed by fans later that evening wanting to take pictures with it and more shockingly, a group of teenage girls even kissing and sniffing the seat. Earlier this year during April’s Soundfest, Rod was responsible for the security for Big Bang, presently the most successful Korean boy band on the world stage. Despite it being past 11pm, “the scene was incredible,” he recalls. “There were about 3,000 fans who swarmed the airport. The crowd soon got too big. They were jumping on top of cars trying to get to the group. It didn’t help that the airport personnel were trying to get pictures and autographs of their own. But professional security is all about understanding the threat and controlling it. Knowing where safe houses are, being able to change routes from points A to B are all part of the job. The security for Big Bang was like no other. We always kept control.” Security guards in Vietnam aren’t allowed to carry guns, relying on less lethal weapons such as batons and tasers. “We have an international bodyguard training programme, covering rules of engagement and tools of the trade. But it always comes down to common sense, knowing what you’re doing.” When asked about the most danger he’s ever encountered in Vietnam, Rod answers with a wry smile, “Driving on the road”.

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Life in Recycle Based on the concept of rejuvenating discarded objects, two friends have turned shipping container crates and anything else they can find into the latest hang out craze. Words by Ed Weinberg. Photos by Doan Phuong Ha


ne of Saigon’s charms are the abrupt transitions, the journey from digital age office building to sidewalk cafe culture. But it’s not often you see these differences reconciled. The gritty, unpolished industrialism of the city — reflected in Saigon Outcast’s shipping container components — balanced by a modern approach to design and space has to be seen to be believed. Though the venue hasn’t officially opened yet, Linh Nguyen and Doan Phuong Ha are too excited with its possibilities to keep it under strict wraps. They held a BBQ there and then another and a conversation on DIY culture they hosted the week after. There’s a balance in there, one as carefully struck as the bolts placed in the containers’ supports. The two are friends, just friends — but all the same, life-and-death friends. They share the same ideas, a creative marriage made in geek heaven. “I met Ha at Gameloft. Ha was really funny. We become friends and recently we decided, let’s do something... crazy.”

Old & New As I wait to speak with Linh and Ha at the DIY event, I take in a presentation on bio-tuning — a diesel engine’s conversion to biodiesel. The presenter, Hai Nguyen, is an ethnographer who has studied SoCal (Southern California) youth and their cars. He talks about how customisation creates a personal meaning, how the unusual needs of DIY engender a social network, in this case of restaurant owners with used vegetable oil to burn. Somehow it all seems relevant. Linh steps up next. “Originally we wanted to build a place for bikers,” she says, “for people who customise motorcycles, classic motorcycles. Instead of diesel we like gasoline, greasy gasoline.” That visceral connection with process is definitely part of the aesthetic, and Linh and Ha are active in pursuing it. Instead of buying new furniture, they go to scrap yards and use their imagination on old pieces. The half-pipe is made of old wooden house panels from before the war, contoured and grafted together. The trees are from properties around Thao Dien that had no use for them. The rocks under our feet are from Vung Tau, scraps of tiles sent from Korea. “We want to give things a second life,” Ha explains, “a second chance to be something better.” Even the land's renewed: marshland made reusable by adding seven layers of foundation since they started work in April. The containers — the iconic part of Outcast, stacked two-high like Lego pieces — have been around the globe, and still have tracking marks on them which they plan to someday trace. If they need to, they can stack them on a truck and move them to a beach somewhere. When they put the containers up, people just thought, “Oh these are

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containers for someone to live in while they’re building something bigger — but this is it,” Linh tells us. “The local people just said, ‘Ah young people, they have all these ideas.’”

In All Directions Outcast is continuing to grow in unexpected directions. Work is ongoing on a bar-kitchen, where Ha will soon practice her subtle northern techniques on paying customers. There are plans for a bike workshop and more graffiti on the walls. Even small things are open to these relaxed directions — like the spontaneous BBQ I stumble into a few days later. We find a quiet corner to talk in, next to some split-log swings, one of the more reflective climates on a property with energy niches coursing through it. I ask Ha what gives Outcast such a different feel, the energy that people respond so well to. “I find it quite amazing,” she tells me, “because the last few weeks we met so many like-minded people.” We’re

surrounded by them tonight — in midconversation, someone asks the sound a frog makes in Vietnamese. “Ekko!” Ha yells before turning back to me. “Before we would go to nightclubs and get wasted, we didn’t know about each other at all... But [people] come here and can have real conversation, they come here and they feel good, like they want to create something.” Right now this is the most important thing in both their lives, this sharp detour into the fantastic, this immersion in uncharted potential. Right now, neither wants the adventure to go static. “There are some values that don’t change,” Ha tells me when I try to pin down the uncertain future. “Right now I deal with life, like, I see what life can give me, don’t think about the future. How I live my life is tomorrow. I open up my fridge, see what there is, and then try to make the best dish out of it.” Saigon Outcast is located at 188 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, Q2

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The Pharmacist James Pham speaks to a local chemist about her work behind the counter. Photo by Quinn Ryan Mattingly


hen a recent unforgiving 10-hour night bus ride back from Nha Trang left me feeling under the weather, I did what so many Saigonese do, I headed to my nearest pharmacy. “What are your symptoms?” asked the woman in the white coat. “Sore throat and a slight fever,” I managed to croak back. “How many days do you want to take medication for?” “Umm. I don’t really know. Two?” With that, she made up six neat little packages, each containing four pills retrieved from cabinets marked “No Prescription Needed” and “With Prescription Only”. I recognised two of the tablets as Cipro (short for Ciproflaxacin, a common antibiotic) and Paracetamol, an over-the-counter pain / fever reliever. “What’s this pink one for?” I ask pointing to the pill that had no labelling, something she seemed to have added to the packages as an afterthought. “For colds,” came the succinct answer. And VND30,000 later, I was on my way. This scenario is repeated countless times in the reportedly nearly 3,000 pharmacies scattered around the city. This may come as a surprise — overseas the local pharmacist is often a nameless, faceless entity tasked with filling prescriptions or ringing up over-the-counter purchases. However, for many local residents, going to the local pharmacist is seen as a preferable alternative to visiting a public hospital which usually entails arriving in the early hours of the morning to take a number followed by hours of waiting to see a doctor. “For many, coming to the pharmacist is cheaper and less time-consuming,” says Khanh Thuy, a licensed pharmacist who has owned her own store for 15 years in Binh Thanh. “People come mainly for colds and flu, coughs and runny noses. Others come to have their prescriptions filled. However, there are certain types of illnesses where I would advise people to go see the doctor, especially for high blood pressure and heart problems.”

The Counter Treatment Without the benefit of medical tests and patient history, diagnosing a patient and prescribing medication simply based on a brief conversation can be tricky at best and fatal at worst. The Ministry of Health has recognised the need to regulate and support how medicine is dispensed. A VND1.6 billion project, supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Australian government, aims to improve training facilities at 18 medical universities and colleges by 2015. In

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early 2011, all pharmacies were meant to comply with Good Pharmacy Practices (GPP) and those that didn’t would no longer be allowed to sell prescription drugs. Among other requirements, the GPP standards oblige all licensed pharmacies to have a certified pharmacist with a five-year degree at the counter. The pharmacy must have an area of at least 10m2 and have the facilities to store medicine in accordance with drug specifications, taking into consideration temperature, direct sunlight and humidity. Medicine not sold in its original packaging must be accompanied by information including the name of the drug, storage instructions, dosage and precautions. The origin of all drugs must be clearly visible and expired drugs cannot be sold. In addition, according to directives, personal information of all customers must be kept in the event of a drug recall or other emergency. Thuy confirms that “the [authorities] come by to inspect [her shop] every six months or so. But we’re given four to six weeks’ notice, so there’s always time to prepare. The regulations are strict and expensive to comply with for a small pharmacy like mine. I know of some people who voluntarily closed up shop because they knew they could not meet the GPP standards.” One of the obstacles in standardising pharmacies across the city is the attitude of the consumer. For many, it’s become commonplace to ask for antibiotics to alleviate the symptoms of the flu and actually needing a prescription for certain medications is seen as a nuisance. “We have to cater to the needs of the consumer,” continues Thuy. “They might only have money to buy medicine for a few days and then come back for more. For others, they start feeling better or forget to take their medication and never come back. So in the case of antibiotics where the normal course is five days, people may only take it for a couple of days.” Recent hospital surveys have indicated that antibiotic resistance is on the rise, which means that common antibiotics may not be as effective as before. With the prevalence of medical websites like where users can enter their symptoms and diagnose themselves or in areas where qualified medical aid may be inaccessible or too expensive, self-medication is tempting. However, while more convenient and often less expensive in the short term, caution is required. As The New Encyclopædia Britannica writes, “One of the striking characteristics in the medical field in the 20th century has been the development of new drugs… Probably more poisoning is due to medicines than to any other cause.”

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The World According to Me With increasing numbers of people posting photos of themselves online, narcissism, or excessive self-interest in our own appearance, is huge in Vietnam. But why? Words by Vu Ha Kim Vy


’ve got more than 250 friends on Facebook, of whom about 10 people like taking photos of themselves and then posting the images online. This trend has been around for quite some time and has spread like wildfire among the younger community. Even thirty-somethings have become narcissistic and have fallen in line, taking photos of themselves through many mediums — cameras, phones, iPads — and often asking their friends to take photos of them. As long as they’re in the picture and have the opportunity to post online, they’re happy.

Confidence As someone who finds looking at photos of others just not all that interesting, I ask myself why. I’m on the threshold of turning 30 and accept that today’s youth are better dressed, more attractive, and far more stylish. I even remember what I used to wear as a teenager — dressing up meant putting on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and having long black hair. These days, teenagers have got far more choice, have a range of popular cultures to choose from, and can easily learn more about styles and trends from overseas. As a result, they seem to want to put it all on record and keep attractive images of themselves. It helps them become more self-confident.

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“In the past I was fairly timid and often avoided people taking photos of me,” confesses university student Han. “This was because I didn’t feel particularly attractive. Now I’m okay with it all. I feel better looking and really have no problems with photos any more.” For those who are self-confident, taking and posting images of themselves is one of personal preference. Mai, a 26-year-old employee of a computer game company, recognizes that she is “not as pretty as some of her friends”. However, “When we take photos it’s fun, I love it. And if I see myself looking more attractive in photos than in real life, I’m really happy.” “So why do you have to post the images online?” I ask. “Putting the photos on the internet makes them even more eye-catching, more attractive,” she replies. “Just having them standing up in your room is boring.” In contrast to Han and Mai, Linh, who is presently working in the banking sector, is often involved in fashion shoots, despite not officially being a model. “I’m often involved in photo shoots because I’m passionate about fashion,” she says. “And I save all my photos in one location — Lookbook. Even there I only put the best images. I also have a number of photographer friends who ask me to model

for them, or be a subject in their photos.” She explains why she often poses in photos. “Although I like it when photos look natural, when necessary I will put on the right pose or facial expression to fit with the subject of the photo.” While she doesn’t accept that she’s addicted to being photographed, she seems to show off and post images of herself almost daily on Facebook.

Why Facebook? Regardless of how often you take photos and how good or bad they are, why do people feel the need to post their photos on Facebook? “I want to share them with everyone,” says Han. “What are you sharing in the photo when there’s only you there,” I reply, perhaps a little aggressively. “Because I like it,” she says. “I want everyone to see how beautiful I am!” Mai is even more direct. “If you have a beautiful photo of yourself, why shouldn’t you show it off? Everyone wants others to see them as being attractive, and wants to be praised.” This is a typical Vietnamese response. If you have something that looks good, show it off to the world, let everyone see. And if

there’s something bad? Sweep it under the carpet, cover it up. Adds Han: “Everyone else is doing it. So why shouldn’t I? I’m only following what everyone else does.” For me, this is another typical characteristic of Vietnamese people. Let’s take a restaurant in this city. Any restaurant. If it starts becoming busy, then suddenly it will get even busier. It’s the, ‘if other people go there, then I must go there, too, mentality’. It’s the same with clothing and fashion. If some people start to wear

a particular design of jeans or shirt, then gradually this spreads until everyone, even those making their living off the street, are wearing the same clothes. In a period where people like showing off, and in particular showing off photos of themselves on Facebook, what’s happening now is only normal. It’s just everyone following the latest craze, becoming narcissistic. And with that in mind, I am now off to look at myself in the mirror and snap a photo.

STRIKING A POSE The five most popular places in Hanoi to get your photograph taken: 1) Hoan Kiem Lake 2) By the Nicholas Cage ad at the Opera House 3) The coconut cafe area on West Lake 4) The lotus ponds in To Ngoc Van 5) The river road from Ngo 264 Au Co September 2012 Word | 107

D. Th ai



Khac Can





Pham Su






Hien Ta

To Thai



19/2 Ho i Ha

Dinh Liet



H. Thiec

Hang Da



Hoa Lo

Da T uong


Hang Cot

H. Ruoi

H. Dong

Ga Hang

Bat Su



Phung Hung Ho i


Qua n

Tran Binh Tron g



Phung Hu


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Boi Phan


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De Nam

HOANG Khuc H ao






P. P hu Tie n

h an Kh


n Pha nH uy Ich

ng Ha



Doc Lap





Dung Chau Long


Dang Tat an

Dang Tat

Ng. Can h Chan



Hung V uong


Ong Ich Khiem

Hoa i D uc




Vong Duc


Opera House





h Than


Thanh L. Dao



Phu ng





Dinh Le


Dan g Tra n Co n



Van Chu Ho



Le Thach


ng Da ch Ba

Tran Ng. Han


i Vo




Hoan Kiem Lake




h Din

Nh uo m

H. T

Ph uc Ta n

g hun



re gT Han


Huan Huu Hang Be


Hang Mam


g Tron

ng Chu Nha

Bich Cau


o Ba

Tho Nha


Q uyen



ng Ha


hinh H. C


ao g D Han Van

Thanh B ao


a Tu



n c Ta Phu



g Luon


r AT DU AT NH uy


g Luon Hang Giay

Buom Hang

g gan H. N n g Ca Han



uat Th

n Xua



en Thi

Ly V an P huc






Th o



Su uoc Ly Q



Tran Quo c


An a Ch


ng uo


ng Do



ao C. G ieu S n e Nguy

ai gG n Ha Hanh




uat gQ Han

en Huy Ngo ong u Trie T ho





o Ph

Huo n



am nC Cha


Va n

oc Lu


ng Bo


Nam Ngu

Hanoi Train Station

Hang N on

P hu

Dong Da


Hang C

Hang Bo

m Ho ng Ha anh gM Han

Gia m

m Na Cu a HAI

Marke t

hieu Hang C


nh Tha


Ngo Qua nT ho 1



Nguy en K huyen


m uo Nh

P. Va n




Tho 1 N


Quo c Tu Ng o Ta t To QuGi am

ng Ha

gD Ton


Doa n

Han g B ot

Ba Qu at

Ngo rung Ha T



Ha n g

Ca o


ng ha oT a C


Hoan Kiem

ai Kho

g Don anh Ha Cau D o n gTh X u an

Thai Yen

Ng. Van To m Tra


g Han

Lo Re n

Bat Dan

Lenin Park






Hang Ma Hang Vai





y G ia




e Ho





ai Nh

ng Duo







hao gC Han

g an Gi

Ngu yen Tru ong To QU A

g Han




Ng Duc uye C n K hin h a Hon g T c Nhu hai

Pha m

ng Ha

Ha Ngoc

Ba D i n h S q uare



H. Van









n Vu



Ba Dinh

Bach Th ao P ar k






Q uan

108 | Word September 2012

Nguyen Huu Huan - C6, D6 Nguyen Khac Can - F7 Nguyen Khac Nhu - A4, A5 Nguyen Khuyen - E2, E3 Nguyen Sieu - C6 Nguyen Thai Hoc - D1, D2, D3, E4 Nguyen Thien Thuat - B5, B6 Nguyen Tri Phuong - A4, B3, C3, D3 Nguyen Truong To - A4, A5 Nguyen Van To - D4, D5 Nha Chung - E5, E6 Nha Tho - D5 Ong Ich Khiem - C2, D2 Pham Hong Thai - A4, A5 Pham Ngu Lao - F7 Pham Su Manh - F7 Phan Boi Chau - E4, F4 Phan Chu Trinh - F7 Phan Dinh Phung - A2, A3, B3, B4 Phan Huy Ich - A4, B4 Phan Phu Tien - D2, E2 Pho An Xa - A5, A6 Pho Duc Chinh - A4, A5 Phuc Tan - B6, C7, D7 Phu Doan - D5, E5 Phung Hung - B4, C4, D4 Quang Trung - E5, F5 Quan Su - D5, E4, E5, F4 Quan Thanh - A2, A3, A4, B4, B5 Quoc Tu Giam - E2, E3 Son Tay - D1 Ta Hien - C6 Thanh Ha - B6 Thanh Nien - A2 Tho Nhuom - E4, F5 Tho Xuong - D5, E5 Thuoc Bac - C5 Thuy Khue - A1, A2 Ton Duc Thang - D2, E2, F1 Tong Dan - D6, E7 Tong Duy Tan - D4 Tran Binh Trong - F4 Trang Thi - E4, E5, E6 Trang Tien - E6, F7 Tran Hung Dao - F4, F5, F6 Tran Quy Cap - E3, F3 Tran Nguyen Han - E6, E7 Tran Nhat Duat - B6, C6 Tran Phu - D2, D3, D4 Tran Quang Khai - C6, D7, E7 Tran Quoc Toan - F4 Tran Vu - A2, A3 Trinh Hoai Duc - D1, D2 Van Mieu - D2, E2 Vong Duc - F6 Yen Phu - A4, A5, A6 Yen Thai - D5 Yet Kieu - F4

Truc Bach Lake



Hang Giay - C6 Hang Giay - B5 Hang Hanh - D5, D6 Hang Hom - D5 Hang Khay - E6 Hang Khoai - B5, B6 Hang Luoc - B5, C5 Hang Ma - C5 Hang Mam - C6, C7 Hang Manh - D5 Hang Ngang - C5, C6 Hang Non - D5 Hang Quat - D5 Hang Ruoi - B5, C5 Hang Than - A5, B5 Hang Thiec - C5, D5 Hang Thung - D7 Hang Tre - C7, D7 Hang Trong - D5, D6, E6 Hang Vai - C5 Hang Voi - D6 Ha Trung - D4, D5 Hoa Lo - E5 Hoang Dieu - B3, C3, D3 Hoang Hoa Tham - A1, A2, B1 Hoang Van Thu - B2, B3 Hoe Nhai - A5, B4, B5 Hoi Vu - D5, E4 Ho Van Chuong - F2 Hung Vuong - A2, B2, C2, D2 Khuc Hao - C3, D2, D3 Lan Ong - C5 Le Dao Thanh - E7 Le Duan - D3, E3, F3 Le Hong Phong - C2, C3 Le Lai - E6, E7 Le Phung Hieu - E7 Le Thach - E6, E7 Le Thai To - E6, D6 Le Thanh Tong - F7 Lo Ren - C5 Lo Su - D6, D7 Luong Ngoc Quyen - C6 Luong Van Can - C5, D6 Ly Nam De - B4, C4, D4 Ly Quoc Su - D5 Ly Thai To - D7, E7 Ly Thuong Kiet - E4, F4, F5, F6, F7 Ly Van Phuc - D1 Ma May - C6 Nam Ngu - E4 Ngoc Ha - B1, C1 Ngo Huyen - D5 Ngo Quan Tho 1 - E1, F1 Ngo Quyen - E7, F6, F7 Ngo Si Lien - E3 Ngo Tat To - E2, E3 Ngo Tram - D4, D5 Ngo Van Chuong - F1, F2, F3 Ngo Van Huong - F1 Nguyen Bieu - A3 Nguyen Canh Chan - B3



19/2 - E4 Au Trieu - D4, E4 Bach Dang - E7 Bao Khanh - D5, D6 Bat Dan - C4 Ba Trieu - E6, F5, F6 Bat Su - C5 Bich Cau - E1 Cao Ba Quat - D2, D3 Cao Thang - B6 Cat Linh - D1, E1, E2 Cau Chuong Duong - C7 Cau Dong - B5 Cau Go - D6 Cau Long Bien - A6, A7, B6 Cha Ca - C5 Chan Cam - D5 Chau Long - A4 Cho Gao - C6 Chu Van An - C2, D2 Cua Bac - A4, B4 Cua Dong - C4, C5 Cua Nam - E4 Dang Dung - A3, B3 Dang Tat - A3 Dang Thai Than - F7 Dao Duy Tu - C6 Da Tuong - F5 Dien Bien Phu - C3, D3, D4, E4 Dinh Le - E6 Dinh Liet - C6, D6 Dinh Tien Hoang - D6, E6 Doc Lap - B2, C2 Dong Thai - C6 Dong Xuan - B5, C5 Duong Thanh - C5, D5 Gam Cau - B5 Gia Ngu - D6 Giang Vo - D1 Ha Hoi - F5 Hai Ba Trung - E4, E5, F6, F7 Hang Bac - C6 Hang Bai - E6, F6 Hang Be - D6, C6 Hang Bo - C5 Hang Bong - D4, D5, E4 Hang Bot - D2 Hang Bun - A4, B4 Hang Buom - C6 Hang Ca - C5, C6 Hang Can - C5 Hang Chao - D2 Hang Chieu - C5, C6 Hang Chinh - C6 Hang Cot - B5, C5 Hang Da - D5 Hang Dao - C6, D6 Hang Day - D1, D2 Hang Dieu - C5, D5 Hang Dong - C5 Hang Ga - C5 Hang Gai - D5, D6

We s t L ake

4 h


3 T

Street Index


Nguyen Bieu


September 2012 Word | 109


Photo of the Month

Answers on page 3



















29 35


By Nick McQuaid

5. Grand ___ Opry 6. Slip into 7. Omelet base

18 20







4. Flipper freezers

Do you ow na photograp h that would look good here? Ema il it to editor@wo rdhanoi. com

8. Pro football's Bald Eagle


9. Group of fish 10. Curbside call


11. Tom Joad, for one






12. "Miracle" team of 1969 15. Transistor developers


17. King of tragedy










45 50 53


21. Earthen pot 23. Web-footed flier



52 55


26. "That's all, folks!" voice



59 65

24. Nepal's locale


27. Ancient Aegean Sea region













28. City on the Rhine 30. Water balloon sound 31. Emulate Demosthenes 32. Org. that "tracks" Santa 33. Airborne pests 35. Highland/lowland separator


29. Louisiana senator,

55. Do Zen

40. Schooner fillers

1. NaCl


59. "Out!"

41. Witch's blemish

5. "Waiting for Lefty"

34. Veg out

63. Tennis great Lendl

44. Gill opening


36. Something to gloss

64. Depictions of fruits, say

48. Pencil's end

10. Adventure hero


67. Bog

49. Act the snitch


37. Moses' older brother

68. The Jetson boy

50. Auction off

13. Jai ___

38. Looped handle

69. Theater schlepper

54. Raise, as an anchor

14. Detective's skill

39. Bochco TV drama

70. Animal with horns

55. Charades, essentially

15. Lie in the sun

42. Vamp Theda

71. Witherspoon of "Legally

56. Wickedness

16. Like some mirrors

43. Nobelist Bohr


57. Like some turkey meat

18. ___ interview

45. C.S.A. state

72. Devout

58. Land of Molly Bloom

19. Rage, e.g., onstage

46. Rebounds per game, e.g.

20. Ratfinks

47. WKRP, e.g.


61. Bridal accessory

22. It's a long story

51. MS. markers

1. Call at home?

62. Catch sight of

25. Veg out

52. Pisa dough

2. Dubya, to Yale

65. ___ Alamos, N.M.

26. Splatter protector

53. Hot pot or pepper pot

3. Composer Schifrin

66. NaOH or KOH

110 | Word September 2012

60. Woodstock hairdo

The storm

{trivia buff} Answers on page 2

1) What is the name of electronic musician Tri Minh’s famous pop-star sister? 2) Which author’s first names were John Ronald Reuel? 3) Who bowled Don Bradman for a duck in his last Test Innings? 4) What is the national flower of Scotland? 5) Which country is the largest exporter of coffee in the world? 6) Which novel has the longest sentence in literature with 4,391 words? 7) From which plant does natural vanilla flavouring come from? 8) A stupa is a shrine to the memory of

whom? 9) According to the Bible, what is the root of all evil? 10) What did ancient Egyptians rub on their genitalia to enlarge them? 11) Who is the top scoring English Premier League player of all time? 12) How many English managers have won the English Premier League? 13) Which football league is presently considered the most profitable? 14) Which city was the capital of Brazil prior to the creation of Brasilia? 15) In Japan what is Seppuku? 16) What was the title of the book,

published in the 1860s, which opens “at the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather”, and tells the story of a murderer’s growing sense of guilt? 17) What is Vietnam’s Cu Da village most famous for producing? 18) With a seating capacity of 150,000, in which country is the largest football stadium in the world? 19) Which group were the first Germans to have a UK No. 1 hit with The Model and Computer Love? 20) In Gunter Grass’s novel, The Tin Drum, what was The Onion Cellar?

September 2012 Word | 111

the LAST



This month marks the 10th anniversary of one of Hanoi’s most unlikely but successful pairings: a female Vietnamese restaurateur with Indian cuisine. Hoang Minh Hue from Foodshop 45 spills the lentils

ARRIVING IN HANOI FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE... made lots more room in the bed that I used to share with my brothers and sisters.

MY FIRST JOB IN AN INDONESIAN RESTAURANT… was to wait on tables and make the customers believe I was Indonesian.

LEARNING ABOUT INDIAN CUISINE… got me curious about the different yoga positions illustrated in The Kama Sutra.

CHAU LONG MARKET… is where Foodshop 45 was founded. It’s a great place to find veggies, but the last place in the world where you can find fresh herbs and spices for Indian Cuisine. THE NAME FOODSHOP 45… was born out of the name of an obscure position I learned about after reading The Kama Sutra.

112 | Word September 2012

THE FIRST FIVE ITEMS ON MY MENU… helped me realize that I needed to get more items on my menu — my first five items were also my last five items.

THE TWO-AND-A-HALF YEARS WITH THE RESTAURANT ON TRAN TE XUONG… taught me it was time for bigger and better things. No more sitting on bright blue plastic baby chairs.

MOVING TO TRUC BACH IN 2006… helped me understand that the tiny blue plastic tables and chairs did not quite go with Indian decor and the ambience of sitting next to Truc Bach lake and enjoying the sunsets.

MY FAMILY… recently bought a new bed and also discovered bunk beds and box springs. They still think I am running an Indonesian restaurant.

OUR CUSTOMERS… think I am Indonesian.

A VIETNAMESE WOMAN RUNNING AN INDIAN RESTAURANT… is like an Indian woman wearing an ao dai with an allergy to curry.

CATERING FOR THE TASTES OF OUR CUSTOMERS… will hopefully win me the Nobel Prize.

OUR TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY ON SEPTEMBER 9TH… will be a blast. All the proceeds will go to help re-elect Obama in November.

IF I COULD CHANGE ANYTHING I WOULD… get rid of the dull blue uniforms of our motorcycle security guards. I was thinking of dressing them in bright red uniforms to look just like Canadian Mounties. I like men with great big hats.

THE FUTURE… looks a lot like my past. I still share a bed. This time with my fourmonth-old daughter, Bao Chau.

Word Ha Noi September 2012  

The what's on guide to Hanoi, Vietnam

Word Ha Noi September 2012  

The what's on guide to Hanoi, Vietnam