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CHUYN DU LCH, M THC


VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 5
TC GI: BAO ROSS

Contents
May 2016

60

14

86

THE TALK
010 / Smartphones for the
People

24 / Carmen

A unique operatic collaboration


between France and Vietnam

EAT & DRINK


104 / Mystery Diner Hanoi

The rise of the mobile phone

INSIDER

This months review: Gastro: Food


and Beer Pub

011 / The Big Five

54 / The Organic Farm

106 / Street Snacker Hanoi

May in Vietnam

BRIEFINGS
12 / Hanois Weatherdude

Growing organic fruit and veg in


Hanoi

60 / Food Stories

The weather, but not in Danish

Tales behind the food and drink that


appears on your table

14 / Railway Goes Suburban

86 / Mau Colour

Commuters get a welcome boost

18 / Making Every Vote Count


This months guest column: Dr.
Pratibha Mehta from UNDP

22 / Geva Alon

One of Israels top musicians


prepares to play Vietnam

2 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Graffiti artists from overseas find a


home in Hanoi

92 / The Latin Underground


Hanoi and Saigon have got a
passion for salsa

98 / The Saigon Pool Tour


Where to go to escape the heat

On the menu: bun oc co Hue

108/ Mystery Diner HCMC

Japanese-style foie gras, anyone?

110 / Know Your Com Tam


Saigons best loved street food

110

Contents
May 2016

124

132

136

TRAVEL

50 / Just In

112 / Club Med

140 / Hanoi City Guide

A visit to everyones favourite


holiday village

118 / Phu Yen

Central Vietnam has some


stunning, untouched destinations.
Phu Yen is one of them

124 / The Private Island

A snorkeling and seafood trip to


somewhere a little bit special

132 / Notes from Another City

144 / Day Tripper


152 / Bar Stool
154 / Top Eats
158 / City Map
HCMC
38 / To-Do List

Entry 4: Get Outta Town

42 / Just In

136 / Destination Zero

160/ HCMC City Guide

La Veranda in Phu Quoc

138 / The Motorbike Diaries

162 / Day Tripper

The science fiction lands of India

174 / Bar Stool

HANOI

180 / Top Eats

46 / To-Do List

186 / City Map

4 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

COLUMNS
146 / The Alchemist
148 / The Therapist
150 / Student Eye
156 / Medical Buff
164/ Business Buff
166 / Body and Temple
178 / Know Your City
184 / A World of Good
FINAL SAY
188 / Food Poisoning

The wrong side of the food chain

190 / Vegetarian Hanoi

Forget dogmeat, the capitals going vegan

192/ Ten 10

The most successful Vietnamese


restaurant in London: Song Que

CONTRIBUTORS
This month we asked our team to tell us about
their weirdest experience with food
HARRY HODGE
Contributor
I remember walking in Beijing with
a buddy and exploring Wangfujing
Street, famous for its pedestrian
shopping. There was an alley where
you could get pretty much everything
fried: starfish, scorpions, beetles. I was kind of excited
to try out the scorpions, but when I bit into the
skewer, all I could taste was the oil.
JON ASPIN
Staff Editor
Witchity grubs are the white, woodeating larvae of moths eaten by the
Aboriginal people of Australia. One
day as a child while catching yabbies
in the creek, I was dared to eat one by
another boy who knew where to find them. Not
wanting to lose face, down the hatch it went. Ive
never forgotten its glutinous, slimy texture or the
sinewy, salty taste.
SIAN KAVANAGH
Contributor
Gator and catfish jambalaya in New
Orleans bloody delicious, wish I
could whisk it up myself on a whim.
Never quite had anything quite like
alligator sausage before and I cant wait to
try it again. Theres just something so fantastic about
Cajun cuisine, finding comfort in food combinations I
could never have imagined before.
NICK ROSS
Chief Editor
I used to live opposite a dog meat
restaurant in Hanoi. Every morning a
roasted dog appeared on a spit, and by
2pm it was two thirds gone. Against
my wishes I ate at the restaurant once,
but stayed well clear of the dogmeat.
JESSE MEADOWS
Staff Writer
On a road trip to Phong Nha, we
stopped on the side of a mountain
in the middle of nowhere, and my
friends went off to find food. They
came back with a Styrofoam box full of
organs. I accidentally bit into a kidney thinking it was
a mushroom, and then had a lovely lunch of plain
white rice instead.

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EDITORIAL
NICK ROSS
Chief Editor
nick@wordvietnam.com

VU HA KIM VY
Editorial Manager
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MADS MONSEN
Creative Director
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JON ASPIN
Staff Editor
jon@wordvietnam.com

BAO ZOAN
Staff Photographer
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Photo Editor
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Staff Photographer
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Layout Designer
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JESSE MEADOWS
Staff Writer (Hanoi)
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Special thanks to Trung Del, Dr. Pratibha Mehta, Saigon Outcast, Hanoi Rock City, Geva Alon,
Hanois Weatherdude, An Caf, Anupa, Toong, Nguyen Huu Nguyen, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen,
Brian Riedlinger, Carlos Dourthe, Uncle Bills, Dancenter, Ha Le, Pham Hong Quynh, Pham Thi
Tuyet Mai from Naturally Vietnam, Pho Binh, Ly Thi Nhat, Jacko, Billy Gray, Jeremie Courivalt,
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House, Dana McNairn, Eduardo Culbeaux, Luoc and Anh from Song Que and David Legard

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owners.

EMILY PETSKO
Contributor
During a recent trip to Danang, a friend
wanted to try trung vit lon (hard-boiled
bird embryo, also known as balut), and
I obliged. We found a local street food
vendor and took a crack at this strange egg
delicacy. After peeling away the shell, I saw a fullyformed bird head peeking back at me. I didnt eat the
head, but I have to admit, the yolk was tasty.

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6 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

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Prelude

ack in October
we ran a cover
story called
On the Streets.
The idea was to
interview those people
who made their living,
as it translates in
Vietnamese, o ngoai
duong, and try to give
these people a voice
that would otherwise
not normally be heard.
Not only were the
stories fascinating
from the flower seller
in Hanoi through to
the beggar in Saigon,

the bookseller and


the papaya salad
professor but
they gave a different
flavour to this
magazine, which
perhaps too often
focuses on all that is
nice, sophisticated and
modern.
It was with this
in mind that we
approached the present
cover story, Food Stories.
Once again we wanted
to get the background
behind the things we
see every day, except
that in this instance
it was food that was
the focus, rather than
people making a living
off the streets.
To do this we spent

a day with a street


vendor, and at the
opposite extreme, a
five-star hotel chef. We
also talked to industry
pioneers like Jacko from
the Al Frescos group,
Anh Loan, the woman
who brought banh mi
to the UK, and the
lady who is purported
to have invented one
of Hanois favourite
street dishes, pho cuon.
We also visited Pho
Binh, the eatery that in
the late 1960s became
the meeting point for
a group of comrades
planning an uprising.
We havent managed
to cover everything.
When you look at
how food and drink

actually gets onto


our table, such is the
enormity of the food
industry that the areas
that could be focused
on are limitless.
But weve certainly
avoided the standard
obsession with only
the final product, a
preoccupation that
these days tends to
grip the passions of
so many writers and
bloggers.
We hope you like the
angle weve taken in
what is now our 101st
issue. And as ever, any
comments, be they
good or bad, please
email me on nick@
wordvietnam.com.
Nick Ross

CHUYN DU LCH, M THC


VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 5
TC GI: BAO ROSS

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The

TH GII PUBLISHERS

THIS MONTH'S COVER


Photo by Trung Del
Design by DH Advertising

Have Your Say


Do you have any comments? Then let us know on Facebook facebook.com/word.vietnam or
via Twitter, @wordvietnam. No matter how positive or negative your thoughts, we look forward to
hearing from you.

Inbox
Do you have
any comments
that you would
like to air? If
so, reach out
and touch
us at nick@
wordvietnam.
com were at
your fingertips.

Dodgy Expats
(April 2016, page 158)
Saigon was a home away
from home for dodgy expats
when I got there, it was a
branch line or two down from
the FILTH (Failed In London,
Try Hong Kong).
This was probably Shanes
best article honest, from the
heart, not snipped from the
World Bank Report 2015.
I bet the traffic figures were
good, too. Thereby creating
another dilemma honest
content vs clickbait. Is the
Daily Mail really the worlds
best website? PS
Awful, AWFUL article.
How on earth did this slip
through the net? Extremely
ignorant. There are plenty
of good reasons for many of
the things you mentioned, in
fact there are expats here who
meet your dodgy criteria
doing good for the world

8 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

and for Vietnam. This article


is egocentric and incredibly
male centric. EM
Worst article ever. That
Gmail thing was true 10 years
ago but nowadays companies
and their reps use Gmail
all the time. No chamber
membership? Gimme a break.
DS
A good concept for an
article with a dumb, selfcentred approach. Some
points are amusing, true
and obvious, the others are
just hoity toityness trying
to put down others who are
not being paid by daddys
company for a glorified jolly
to play business in an early
market.
Chambers and charities
are not for everyone. Sure
we should all help those less
fortunate and all network, but
we dont need to be dodgy if
we do it your way. JO

BUSINESS BUFF
DODGY EXPATS

ark my words you will see more


dodgy expats in Vietnam in
the coming years as it starts to
become an even easier place to
live for foreigners. Over my past 13 years
as an expat and eight years in Vietnam I
have met some of the best and worst of the
expatriate community. Some examples of
the dodgy expat include; simultaneous
multiple wives and children; abandoning
long-term girlfriends who become
pregnant; ripping off business partners, or
plain old-fashioned dodgy drug dealing.
This month I have made an easy
checklist of how to spot a dodgy expat.
While there may be some exceptions to my
list, in general these are the tell-tale signs
of who you are dealing with. If they hit on
more than three of these be warned: they
are probably dodgy.

No Paperwork. We all know some expats

who have lived the expatriate lifestyle but


have never had the legal paperwork to
do so. No work permits, no tax code, not
registered where they live etc. They come up
with every imaginable reason why its better
to fly under the radar, but at the end of the
day the main reason is that they are dodgy.

No Chamber Affiliation. Here is a great


158 | Word April 2016 | wordvietnam.com

way to meet some quality expats. Go to a


chamber event those that are members
in general are far more professional and
legit than those who are not members.
Auscham, BBGV, AmCham, the Singapore
Business Group, Nordcham, Eurocham,
InCham all super examples of great
business network chambers to join.

@gmail or @hotmail for business.


This is by far one of the best ways to spot a
dodgy expat. It still amazes me that there are
financial services professionals who offer
advice on investment, insurance or property
and yet have no business email account. If
the business card has @gmail just turn and
run. If it was accurate it would say @dodgy.

Change of Companies.

Many expat
managers in Vietnam complain about how
quickly Vietnamese change jobs and this is
also a warning sign for expats. If the expat
has changed companies every few months
then there is a probably a problem with the
person not the companies. Be warned
they could be dodgy.

Change of Social Group. I have met

a few expats over my time that change


social/friendship groups on a regular basis.
Over time I have realized it is not them

BY SHANE DILLON

meeting new and better friends, but old


ones figuring out how dodgy they are and
the expat having to move on to the next
bunch of suckers. If someone is best buddies with a group one week and the worst
of enemies the next, there is a good chance
there is something dodgy going on.

No Charity Support. If you have been

an expat for any length of time in a developing market, you should get behind at
least one charity organization with at least
social support if not financial. Next time
you meet an expat ask them what charity
they support, and get the inside scoop if
they might be dodgy.

Girly Bars. If the expat goes to girly bars


a few nights every week, this means they
need to pay people to hang out with them
and pretend they are somewhat interesting while they get drunk. We all know the
answer already theyre dodgy.
So the next time someone hands you a
business card and offers you some advice,
make a mental check with the above list.
Who knows, it just might save you a lot of
hassle down the road.
Shane is an executive director of the
Australian Chamber of Commerce. He can be
contacted at shanedillon@pacificcross.com

THE TALK

LEAD ARTICLE

Smartphones for the People

From iPhones to the cheapest Chinese UMIs,


everyone seems to have a smartphone these days

hile only a couple of years ago


smartphones were the plaything of the
rich, or those who wanted to be rich, now
everyone seems to use them. From market
stallholders and motorbike security guards through
to school kids and rural farmers, everywhere you
look in Vietnam you see smartphones.
Statistics published in January on the website,
wearesocial.sg, put this into perspective.
As of January 2016, 93% of adults in Vietnam were
using a mobile phone. Of this, 55% (more than one in
two people) use a smartphone.
Out of a population of 93 million people, 39.7 million
access the internet on their mobile phone and four in
five of all internet users are online every day. Of this,
73% of people with smartphones are using social media.
At present, the share of total web views in Vietnam is
rising by 40% a year on mobile phones and 4% a year on
tablets.
Smartphones are increasingly the preferred method
for accessing not just the internet, but social media. The
fact that 34% of the whole population are using mobile
messengers and 29% are watching videos, while 19%
are using mobile banking, 28% mobile map services and
23% are playing games on their mobile is indicative of
another phenomenon; the smartphone in Vietnam is
being used for almost everything.

An Expensive Toy?
Considering that the average salary is around VND3.3
million a month, Vietnamese people are spending the
equivalent of one months pay to buy even the cheapest
smartphone. To purchase the entry level iPhone 6S,
which costs VND12.8 million, this rises to the equivalent
of 3.9 months salary.
That the everyday Vietnamese is prepared to spend
such a large amount of their income on these devices
shows how important they are. Smartphones are seen as
status symbols, rather like 20 years ago, when wearing
gold or a nice watch showed that you had money. If
you use a smartphone, then you are successful, modern
and part of the new Vietnam. You are connected. Use

10 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

an iPhone or the latest Samsung Galaxy, and you are


wealthy.
Also important is the adoption of the internet and
social media. With 43% of the population accessing the
internet on their phones, this suggests that Vietnamese
people en masse are buying into the modern world of
digital. The possibilities this creates for communication
and doing business online in a country with the worlds
14th largest population are boundless.

A Voice
What should be the role of the internet in modernday life? Should it remain anarchic or libertarian, in
the image of its creators, or should it be regulated
and controlled like so many other aspects of the free
modern world? In a country where for so many years
there has been little public debate, the internet and in
particular social media, offer the everyday person a
chance to express how they feel. And of course, the main
medium for Vietnam is Facebook.
The adoption of Mark Zuckerbergs brainchild is
startling. According to a survey by local newspaper
Tuoi Tre, by June 2015, Facebook had 30 million users in
Vietnam, of whom 27 million people accessed the social
media website via their smartphone or tablet. Of these
users, 20 million people were on Facebook daily 17
million via mobile.
Last year there were a number of Facebook campaigns
in opposition to unpopular policies. The highest
profile was the movement in Hanoi to stop the felling
of 100-year-old French planted trees. It made national
headlines and for a few weeks was the talk of Vietnam.
Growing access to the internet fuelled by the widespread
use of smartphones played a huge role. Using their
devices as cameras or video recorders, Facebook
activists could go to tree felling sites, and instantly
upload images to social media.
By owning a smartphone, you not only own a status
symbol, but also have access to information from all over
the world, and if used in a certain way, it can give you
a voice. Its something that todays digital generation in
Vietnam are very attuned to. Nick Ross

Big5
The

Modern
dance, Pete
Tong,
Ironman,
Ratatat and
family
theatre.
The top five
events this
month in
Vietnam

French contemporary dance performance, Autarcie, will be playing in Saigon

Its all gone Pete Tong. Get it? Tong is the only DJ in the history of dance music to lend his name to Cockney rhyming slang

The second installment of Ironman returns to Danang this month

a)

b)

c)

Autarcie
Ben Thanh Theatre, HCMC
Wednesday, May 4

For 50 minutes, four dancers using


very different performance spaces
and techniques, will take to the
stage and engage in a frantic ritual
of dance.
This is Autarcie, a French inspired
hip-hop, breakdance and popping
show that will be coming to Ho Chi
Minh City on Friday May 4.
Using the front of stage as the
rallying point, the four dancers come
together and devise a warrior dance
directed at the audience.
Interested? Well, this is the work
of lauded French-Vietnamese dancer
and choreographer, Anne Nguyen,
and by all accounts, it could be
sensational.
Autarcie will be shown at Ben
Thanh Theatre, 6 Mac Dinh Chi,
Q1, HCMC. Doors are at 7.30pm
and tickets cost from VND100,000
to VND450,000. To purchase the
tickets, click on ticketbox.vn/event/
autarcie-60640/34665

Pete Tong
Blanchys Tash, HCMC
Thursday, May 5

Pete Tong, the legend of dance


music, is coming to Blanchys Tash
for an exclusive show on Thursday,
May 5.
A BBC Radio 1 DJ, Pete has held
a commanding presence in the

industry for more than two decades.


With an unparalleled ear for new
talent, he is the leading tastemaker
of the electronic generation. This will
be a once in a lifetime opportunity
to see an industry icon up close and
personal in an intimate setting.
Tickets cost VND2 million per
person and include a free drink.
There are also table packages
available.
To book, call Mr Sen on 0909 028293.
Blanchys Tash is at 95 Hai Ba Trung,
Q1, HCMC. Doors are at 9pm

Ironman Danang
Hyatt Regency, Danang
Sunday, May 8

Its too late to enter the second


edition of Ironman in Vietnam, but
its certainly not too late to come
along and watch this spectacle of
mind and body over a lot of tropical
matter.
Participants will swim, run and
cycle a scenic course that begins
with a 1.9km ocean swim in front
of the Hyatt Regency Danang
Resort & Spa. From there, athletes
will enjoy a scenic two-loop 90km
bike course that takes them along
Danangs pristine coastline and by
some of the citys key landmarks.
The final 21km out-and-back
run course is flat and passes by
Danangs beach resorts before
finishing at the foot of the Marble
Mountains.
For more info, click on ironman.com

Ratatat
CAMA ATK, Hanoi
Sunday, May 22

Ratatat have played in Vietnam


twice before, and on both occasions
they were electric. Now theyre
back for a show at yet another tiny,
packed-to-the-rafters venue
CAMA ATK.
The work of New York duo Mike
Stroud and Evan Mast this one is
a must, and with tickets at only
VND250,000 in advance, to miss
Ratatat will be like missing out on a
trip to the Oscars. Or something like
that
For more info turn to page 48

Georges Marvellous
Medicine

Saigon Outcast, HCMC


May 28, May 29, Jun. 4 and Jun. 5
Dragonfly Theatre will be staging
their next production, the Roald
Dahl classic, Georges Marvellous
Medicine, on May 28 and 29, and Jun.
4 and 5 at Saigon Outcast.
The latest in a serious of theatrical
performances that have wooed the
audiences of Ho Chi Minh City,
this ones for all the family and will
include a number of interactive
elements.
Early bird tickets are available
until May 15. So, book your seats
early and prepare yourself for some
good old family fun.
For more info turn to page 40

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 11

Briefings
Hanoi

Hanois
Weatherdude

When you need a weather forecast in Hanoi, theres only one place to turn

n a city where the weather often seems


like its out to get us, and the forecast
is usually wrong, there is a man who
keeps watch. Every morning at 5.30, he
heads to his rooftop to test the air, taking
readings with the tools in his modest
home weather station. When he senses
changes ahead, he takes to the online
world, and tells the people of Hanoi what
to expect. Then he buttons up his shirt and
heads into his day job, no one the wiser.
He is known on Facebook as Hanois
Weatherdude.
I get lots of messages like, Who are
you, who are you, the Weatherdude
laughs. I wanted to know, too, so we met in
Hanoi on a typical grey afternoon. This is
the boring time of year, he tells me, when
everyone pesters him about the long-lost
sun.
Hanoi gets an average of four or five
sunny days a month, he says. The
sunniest time is coming in May.
Its the constant mist that I hate the most,
I tell him. Thats because all the warm air
is coming in, and the cold air thats been
here all winter is kind of getting pushed out
slowly, [so it creates condensation]. Once
it gets hot enough, it sounds simple, but
its true, it burns it off. The humidity cant

12 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

really hang out anymore, and then you


have that dun-daaa, opening to the sky.

Good Atmosphere
In truth, Hanoi is not an easy city to live
in when it comes to the weather. But the
Weatherdude seeks to ease some of our
atmospheric pains. People trust me
because Im real, instead of a computer
that tells them approximate numbers, he
says. After 16 years in Hanoi, he knows
what to expect from the citys weather
patterns, but theres a little bit of luck in
it, he admits.
So who is this dude? A lover of nature;
he studied environmental science in
university, and worked as a park ranger in
Canada. I lived on the beach as a squatter
for a while, he adds. He came to Vietnam
as a volunteer with VSO, working in a
national park in Nghe An province.
Then he moved to Hanoi and did what
most of us do, at some point or another;
teach English. Since then, hes broadened
his educational scope, teaching highschool classes like Global Perspectives
and Environmental Systems and Societies.
Weather has always been a hobby for him,
but he started posting his informal forecasts
to Facebook about three years ago.

Particular Matter
Though his students dont know its him,
theyve liked his page, and they follow
his updates. Its a good way to get my
humanities students more involved in being
outside, he says. Most of my students
live in apartment buildings, and when the
sun shines, they close all the blinds. Its like
theres a new generation of people who are
afraid of the sun.
The pollution is really bad [in Hanoi],
but its also the geography. It just sticks
between the mountains, he explains.
Theres a few more particles in the air, and
its definitely something to worry about,
but you sometimes get expats that just
complain all the time, and I dont want to
be that person whos like, Look, its more
polluted than Beijing! Its not but it's
getting there.
Though the Weatherdude loves a good
cumulonimbus, he doesnt want to be doom
and gloom about Hanoi all the time.
If you can survive the weather and the
heat, and the grey winters and the smog,
and you can survive the traffic, then you
can live here. Because everything else is
awesome. Jesse Meadows
To keep up to date with the weather, click on
facebook.com/theweatherdudeinhanoi

Every morning at 5.30, he heads to his


rooftop to test the air, taking readings
with the tools in his modest home
weather station

PHOTO BY JULIE VOLA

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 13

Briefings
National

Railway
Goes Suburban
A new railway service gives a much-needed
nod to the commuter

14 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com


PHOTOS BY VU HA KIM VY

n 1989, on a return trip to Vietnam,


Vietnam vet Raymond Monsour
Scurfield came across his first set of
traffic lights in the country. Our sixth
day, in three cities, and our first traffic
light in Vietnam is here in Hue, he wrote
in his work, A Vietnam Trilogy.
Four years later and Scottish development
worker James Moran arrived in Hanoi.
According to his book, Vietnam in a Changing
Time: When we first arrive there are roughly
eight traffic lights in the entire city centre of
Hanoi yet in our first few weeks we do not
see a single accident. By some process of
give and take, the traffic wends in and out
like spaghetti in perpetual motion.
Speak to long-term expats and they
remember this period a phase when
there were no taxis or public buses, an era
before traffic lights where the streets were
dominated by bicycles and pre-1975 scooters.
Twenty-five years later and the
transportation system in this country is
unrecognizable. Traffic lights are the norm,
public bus systems urban, suburban and
national are well set up, taxis roam city
centres and two metro systems are being
built.
Yet, with the countrys major cities
expanding well beyond their postwar, urban boundaries, there is a new
phenomenon; the commuter. As it stands,

commuters particularly those from out


of town are badly catered for. The metro
will certainly help at some time in the future,
but at present youve got two options. Drive,
face the traffic and the danger of the roads,
or take the bus.

Saigon to Bien Hoa


Go to almost any major city in the developed
world and an urban metro system is
complemented by a suburban rail service.
Such is the thought behind the new
expansion of train services between Ho Chi
Minh City and Bien Hoa, 30km to the north
of Vietnams largest metropolis.
Created not to make profit but, according
to the Vietnamese language website Phap
Luat, to reduce the congestion in the inner
city suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City and the
two adjacent provinces of Binh Duong
and Dong Nai, the initial fare will be
VND10,000 for passengers travelling the full
route and VND5,000 for those travelling part
way. In addition, motorcycles and bicycles
can be brought on the train free of charge.
Calling at six stations Sai Gon, Go Vap,
Binh Trieu, Song Than, Di An and Bien Hoa
10 trains a day will run initially between
Di An in Binh Duong and Sai Gon Station in
District 3. In July it will extend to Bien Hoa.
The full journey will take 55 minutes.
But two questions remain. Will people use

this new service? And will it help reduce


congestion? With the number of vehicles on
the roads increasing by between 8% percent
and 12% a year, the likely answer to the
latter question is no. But this pilot scheme
provides a new and far safer option for
travelling in and out of the big city, an option
we can only hope people take advantage of.

Heading North
If they do, then its possible that Hanoi may
get the suburban railway service nod as well.
At present the capital has two main railway
lines. One travels south towards Ho Chi
Minh City. The other heads to the Chinese
border close to Lang Son.
Look at the stations along the way
and you can see how this may work. The
Reunification Line going south could take
in seven stations before finishing up at Phu
Ly, the main city in Ha Nam. The service to
Dong Dang on the border could end up at
Bac Ninh stopping at Long Bien, Gia Lam,
Yen Vien, Tu Son and Lim en route.
While residents of the capital may decry
the possible increase of non-Hanoian
workers entering the big city, as in Ho Chi
Minh City, this will provide a new option for
those struggling with the daily commute in
and out of town. And with motorbikes taken
off the roads and placed on the train, its far
safer, too. Nick Ross

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 15

Briefings
HCMC

The Man From Uncle

As the Uncle Bills story shows, doing retail in Vietnam requires flexibility

nyone who has visited Uncle


Bills will know what an unusual
shop it is for Vietnam. First is the
price point. This is not bargain
basement, but the typical cost of the
products is VND69,000, which is still cheap.
Yet what you find in stock is good quality.
Then there is the range. Uncle Bills sells a
little bit of everything from kitchen items
and giftware through to crafts, stationery,
household cleaning products, solar items,
environmentally friendly knives and forks
and stuff for the barbecue. Indeed, the 1,900
products are in many ways typical of what
you may find in Europe, Australia or North
America. As man behind the scenes Eckart

16 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Dutz explains: There is a general usefulness


on all of our items.
He adds: You go [to Uncle Bills] and you
will be surprised what you find. So you find
stuff that youre looking for and youll find
things that you dont even know exist. Thats
what people are telling me.
There is another stand-out as well. The
Vietnamese retail industry is struggling to
turn a profit. While in Indonesia, modern
trade already accounts for 40% or even 50%
of the market in Thailand its probably
60% or 70% in Vietnam its still in its
infancy. All meaning that the majority of
the big retail players, most notably the
convenience stores, are operating at a loss.

Uncle Bills, however, has avoided this


problem by selling their products not just
through having their own stores, but through
other channels including e-commerce,
supermarkets and more recently mediums
including TV shopping and mail order
catalogues. This gives Eckart flexibility, and
ensures that by not needing to have 100
stores located around Vietnam, he still has the
ability to turn a profit. Its a recipe for success.

A Worldwide Phenomenon
Formed in 2002, Uncle Bills is a simple but
unique Chinese export business a huge
central warehouse with a large range of
best-selling discount variety products ready

for immediate shipment. By having all the


products pre-produced and dispatch-ready,
this takes away the need for retailers to pay
for storage themselves or wait months for
new orders.
Now serving customers in over 50
countries, Uncle Bills has been one of
those Chinese success stories you so often
read about. A few key factors have made it
happen.
One, its really outstanding value for
money, explains Eckart. You get a lot of
product for not very much money. The second
thing is, unlike other Chinese products, Uncle
Bills has decent packaging design and this
has been steadily improving over the last
couple of years. Third, its new to the market.
Uncle Bills develops their products and
packaging in Australia. So theyre always up
to date with the latest product trends. Thats
how we have access to merchandise that is
new on the global market.
Not surprisingly there have been many
takers for Uncle Bills. Launched in 2002,
in 2004, the company moved into Australia
and in 2010 they entered both the US and
UK markets. Vietnam came during the same
year, but it wasnt until 2013 that Eckart
opened the store in Saigons District 2.

A Growing Market
The first outlet was opened in Phu Nhuan. It
wasnt effective. So in 2013 he brought Uncle
Bills to Thao Dien in District 2. It was an
immediate success. Eckart believes there are
two reasons for this. First was the size of the
store it was larger than the Phu Nhuan
outlet meaning that he could display all his
products. More importantly was the clientele,
Western customers who seem to be much
more familiar with our product range.
For some this could be a worry. If youre
providing goods or services only to the
expat market then youre missing out on
over 90 million customers. Yet as Eckart has
discovered from selling through supermarkets
and online, we are confident that our range is
a range that is not solely for western tastes.
Yet despite his brand being proven on the
local market last year he even opened a
second outlet in Phu My Hung the nature
of doing business in Vietnam means Eckart
needs to constantly adapt.
One example is import procedures.
There is this fear [in Vietnam] of poorstandard products, especially in relation to
food and food preparation, he says. So
the registration of all the single products is
definitely a big hurdle. And because weve

got so many, thats a big investment in terms


of money and time.
The other is the market itself. Its untested.
Prior to products arriving in Vietnam, its
unclear what will sell and what wont.
Its only when products are imported that
we find out what sells and what doesnt, he
explains. Category management, building
an assortment, having an idea how to
promote stuff other than having to discount
it, these are all factors that make it difficult.
Yet Eckart is successfully navigating his
way through the unique conundrum that is
doing business in Vietnam.
Many things work in our favour, he
says. We are not forced to grow, not forced
to go in a certain way, not forced to have 20
stores, not forced to combine Uncle Bills
with another 2,000 products. So we can
tailor that to what we feel is appropriate at
this point of time and we can just wait until
things develop. Nick Ross
Uncle Bills is at 26 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC
and 1032 (S12-1) Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My
Hung, Q7, HCMC. Over the next few months
Uncle Bills will be adding new categories to their
range including toys, furniture, electronics and
products for Halloween and Christmas. For more
info click on ubl.vn

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 17

BRIEFINGS

GUEST COLUMN

Making Every
Voice Count

The publication of the 2015


Provincial Governance and
Public Administration
Performance Index
provides a unique insight
into the workings of
Vietnam. Words by
Dr. Pratibha Mehta

few weeks ago I was fascinated


to learn that local authorities
in Danang have harnessed the
power of social media to make
their coastal city cleaner, greener and
more beautiful. People can go online to
report a broken lampost, flooded street or
an illegal landfill. By helping to prioritise
and direct the authoritys response, it has
quickly become a success story for other
cities and provinces to learn from.
Ten years ago, responsive governance
like this would have been almost
unthinkable in Vietnam. However, as
incomes and aspirations have continued to
rise, the relationship between government
and their people has been transformed.
As other countries have found, the more
prosperous and educated citizens are,
the more they expect governments to be
accountable and responsive.
That is why we embarked on a journey
to help improve communication between
local government and its people. In 2009
UNDP Vietnam and its national partners
introduced a pioneering set of metrics to
capture peoples experience in the Provincial
Governance and Public Administration
Performance Index (PAPI). According to
the national press, PAPI came as a breath
of fresh air to push local administration to
reform. By engaging provinces with their
results, not only has it made provincial
leaders think about their performance, but it
has also spurred them into action.
Now in the fifth year of the survey
nationwide, nearly 75,000 citizens have
taken part. As this corresponds exactly
to the last governments term, not only
does it provide a public score card of its
public administration and local governance
performance, it will set a benchmark for the
new administration going forward.

18 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Causes for Concern


With Vietnam having just gone to the polls
to elect a new National Assembly, the release
of this years PAPI report is important and
timely. For example, it warns that many of
those who depend on public administration
and services the most, including women,
ethnic minorities, and the less well educated,
would have been less likely to vote unless
urgent action is taken. The scores for
participation in local level discussions
on laws and ordinances and for vertical
accountability also dropped this year. Many
interviewed reported feeling disengaged by
the overall political process. And unless they
are engaged and mobilized, they wont have
a say.
Another major concern this year is a drop
in transparency and control of corruption.
A number of high profile corruption and
maladministration cases have been reported
at provincial and local levels over the past
year. It is encouraging that the recent Party

Congress took a strong stand on the need to


step up the fight against corruption. Broad
and inclusive participation in the election of
new National Assembly members is a vital
step in helping to make this happen.
Over the past five years we have been
greatly encouraged by how national and
provincial government authorities have
responded to PAPI findings. To date, more
than 40 provinces have hosted workshops
to look more closely at citizen feedback.
And over 26 provinces have used PAPI data
to design and carry out their action plans,
directives and resolutions to improve their
implementation of general governance,
administrative procedures and service
delivery.

Engagement
I believe that PAPI has played a vital role
in building a performance culture for
public administration and public services
in Vietnam. Good, responsive governance

and accountable institutions are a vital


foundation for success in achieving the
Sustainable Development Goals and
delivering on the 2030 Development
Agenda.
As the Party Congress stressed, there
is a clear need for greater accountability
and responsibility of the leaders to control
corruption. This can only be achieved if all
citizens, particularly the most vulnerable,
are fully engaged in this endeavor. Creating
virtuous circles of empowerment between
institutional reformers and engaged citizens
is what PAPI is all about.
Dr. Pratibha Mehta has been UN Resident
Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative
in Vietnam since 2011. She holds a PhD in
Psychology from the University of Gujarat,
and an MSc in Child Development from M.S.
University, Baroda, India. To see the findings and
insights of the 2015 PAPI Report, which covers
63 provinces, click on congbo2015.papi.org.vn/
eng and then go to the download menu

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 19

Briefings
Hanoi

Hanoi Rock City


Gets Creative

The much-loved events venue has transformed itself

veryone wants to know whats


up with the new Hanoi Rock City.
Theres a clothing boutique where
the couches used to be, and a handpoke tattoo studio in the corner. Gone is
the half-pipe that nobody used, replaced
by new tables and benches. Come by in
the daytime and you can sip a coffee, and
if youre lucky, soak up some sunshine.
About a month ago, I was doing just
that, throwing tattoo ideas at Karen Labis,
the houses resident hand-poker. A week
later, she was stabbing me repeatedly with
a needle on the back of my arm. I spent six
hours over the course of a few days in her
studio, listening as people filtered in and out
of the room, chatting, drawing, smoking,
and periodically feeding Karen and I
crackers while she worked.
The space transformed in a matter of
weeks; artist Dede Guardiola came in every
day, freehand painting a mural so big, it
broke off the walls and bled onto the floor
and ceiling. In the centre of the room, a table

20 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

is stocked at all times with scrap paper,


markers and rhinestones, so the revolving
door of visitors that come by can have
something to do with their hands.
Karen and her partner Lauren Hendin
made everything in the space themselves,
from the shelves to the cushions to the glitter
art that covers the walls. Were always just
making little things for the shop, and whoever
wants to play can play! says Lauren.

Vocational
Next door, 21-year-old Pham Lan Anh also
resides over a space she designed herself,
using recycled objects and second-hand
furniture. She began designing her own
clothes about a year ago. After friends
started asking about her outfits, she saw a
business opportunity, and her clothing line,
F.lanh, was born.
I didnt need a big shop, she says, but
when I came here, I had [one]! Lan Anh
keeps her store open late on the weekends, so
partyers can browse when the club gets too

Competition
It was a symbiotic business solution that

led Cuong Vu, co-investor and coordinator,


to bring all these young entrepreneurial
women together. In recent years, HRC has
been struggling, with the competition of new
music venues opening up across Hanoi, and
a late-night party stigma that limits the kind
of business they can attract.
We understand the process of building a
start-up, so we support them with that, and
in return, they bring us value, Cuong says.
No longer is this just a place to party, but a
creative space where artists can connect.
Some of my favourite moments are when
youre just in [the shop], being a creep and
listening to people talk, and theyre drawing,
and theyre like, I never get a chance to do
this!, or somebody says, I met this really
cool person here the other day, and now
were in a band together, says Karen.
I like that its a girl power group,
powerful women coming together and doing
things they want to do, because they can,
says Lauren. Its all possible. Jesse
Meadows

PHOTOS BY TRUNG DEL

hot, and come back during the week to buy.


Behind the bar during the day is Minh Tu,
a 23-year-old who used to work at Donkey
Bakery, a company that provides vocational
training to people with disabilities. Tu wants
to employ this model at HRCs new coffee
bar, now called Des Cafe, teaching life skills
that will prepare her deaf staff for future
employment.
Amy Cowan of the Intimate Initiative has
also found a space for her social enterprise
here, tucked away in a tiny room by the stairs.
Shes amassed the bulk of her companys
information on womens health, and created
a small enclave where women can come for
consultations, workshops or just to chat.
Having this space makes it a lot easier
for us to gradually familiarise people with
the topic. You can come here for coffee, you
can browse the shop, and then just kind of
meander [over] and have a read, she says.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 21

Briefings
HCMC

PHOTO BY MUPER

22 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Geva Alon

On Jun. 9 and Jun. 10, three of Israels top Indie


rock musicians will be playing in Saigon

was doing a gig in Oslo and we


posted some photos, recalls folk
rock singer-songwriter, Geva
Alon. Someone commented
on one of the photos on Facebook, Why
dont you come to Saigon and play for us
as well? and I just answered, If you put a
gig together, I will come.
The person who made the comment was
Doron Shachar, a long-term Israeli resident
of Vietnam. A few weeks later he came up
with a proposition.
Ive lived in Vietnam for many years,
explained Doron to his fellow Israeli.
I love music and I really want to start
bringing bands that I love to Vietnam
because no-one ever comes here.
The critically acclaimed musicians
response was positive, and from Jun. 9
to Jun. 11, the guitarist and singer often
compared to Neil Young will be playing in
Saigon with his newly formed band, Vegan
Friendly.

A Celebrated Career
That the majority of Gevas work is in
English may come as a surprise his
native tongue is Hebrew but for Geva,
composing and singing in his second
language is natural.
Pretty much 99% of the music I listened
to as a kid, as a growing teenager, was in
English, he says. So when I started to
write songs and play guitar, I wanted to
do that, to be like those guys. So I started
to write in English, got deeper and deeper
into it, and it just became something that
I do.
Influenced by a range of styles
anything from rock n roll, classic rock,
grunge, New Wave, blues and Americana
the resulting sound, says Geva is
pretty much a melting pot of all those
things together. It was a sound that
enabled him to launch his career back in
2000 as the founding member of indie rock
trio, The Flying Baby.
He has since garnered critical acclaim
as both a solo artist much of his work is
acoustic. His many collaborations, and has
worked extensively with famed producer
Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart,
Vetiver, Silver Jews, Dinosaur Jr, Jayhawks).
He has toured with Macy Gray and Paul
Weller, has played all over Europe and
North America, touring up to seven times

a year, and is a household name in his


native Israel. Yet this will be his first time
in Vietnam.
Im coming to Vietnam with a band
thats kind of new, he says. Weve been
working together for the past few months
and its a trio me on guitar, a bass guitar
and a drummer. [Most of what] youre
going to hear has been written together
by the three of us. Im also going to add a
few songs from my past that will probably
be a mix of acoustic and electric stuff. But
because no-one has really heard what Im
doing, Im free to do whatever I want as
opposed to playing our back catalogue.

The Israel Factor


With the Israel-Palestine conflict often
making headline news, ever since 9/11,
Israel has struggled with its image in
the eyes of the wider world. Naturally it
affects its citizens and as Geva admits, hes
often asked about the issues faced by these
two nations.
Its a really complex issue, he says.
Usually when I get into these kind of
conversations, I say to people, Listen,
youre talking to me right now, thats
Israel, not what you see on TV or what you
read in the newspapers. Its two entirely
different worlds.
He adds: I cant blame people who
think terrible things about Israel after what
they feed them on television and on the
news; they only see horrible stuff. Then
again, Im going out there in the world,
and I show people the real things that are
in Israel people who are creative and
kind, care nothing about conflicts and
wars. I have Arab friends and Palestinian
friends. I grew up next to Palestinians and
we got along great. I go eat in their villages
all the time, and vice versa. Im building
a house at the moment and Im using a
Palestinian contractor. Thats the real Israel
to me. Thats what I try to tell people.
Geva Alons Vegan Friendly band is made
up of Geva Alon on guitars and vocal, Jango
on bass and vocals, and Assaf Riess on drums.
They will be playing at Saigon Ranger on
Thursday Jun. 9 and Friday Jun. 10. Tickets
are available on ticketbox.vn (VND200,000
for early birds or normal price, VND250,000).
Entrance includes a free drink. To listen to
his music, do a search on YouTube for Geva
Alon

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 23

Briefings

Carmen

HCMC

A unique French-Vietnamese opera collaboration


comes to Vietnam

n Jul. 1 and Jul. 2, the most


unusual operatic performance
to grace Vietnam will play
for two nights at the Ho Chi
Minh City Opera House. Pitting French
musicians and actors together with
their counterparts from Vietnam, this
will be the first genuine international
collaboration of its kind seen in this
country.
Telling George Bizets tragedy of the
Spanish gypsy, Carmen, and the love

Nguyen Huu Nguyen


Orchestra Lead
France / Vietnam
How did you come up for the idea of this
collaboration? And why Carmen?
After a concert organised with Lys Events
in 2014, we wanted to create something
more ambitious and we thought, why
not Carmen? I love the idea of bringing
the French music I know so well to a
Vietnamese audience. And I also enjoy
being able to do so with the French
National Orchestra. We couldnt have
asked for a better Carmen than Thanh
Huyen.
When did the collaboration start?
The project started one year ago. We
worked on finding the right artistic and
stage director, the right conductor, the right
soloists for each role and, obviously, the
right orchestra members. With them being

24 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

triangle that forms between her, the soldier


Don Jos and the toreador Escamillo, to this
day Carmen is the most-performed opera
in the world. It is also probably the best
known. As the man with the idea for the
collaboration, violinist Nguyen Huu Nguyen
explains, The story can be understood by
all, no matter in which language it is sung,
and the arias are already favourites.
We speak to four of the key players
behind what will be a unique, one-of-a-kind
production.

in France and Vietnam, this gave a different


colour to our ensemble.
How important is it to bring opera to
Vietnam?
Opera has been brought before to Vietnam.
Vietnamese musicians and lyrical singers
are already trained and some of them are
familiar with Carmen. It makes the process
much easier. I hope the audience will like it
enough for us to create new opportunities
for cooperation.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen


Carmen
Vietnam
What do you like most about Carmen, the
character?
Carmen is a strong, courageous and
independent woman. For centuries, women
have been dominated by men. Carmen
breaks these rules, she takes back the power,

without fear of the consequences. She is full


of self-confidence and wants to be in control
of her fate, even until her death. Eventually
she dies because she refuses to acquiesce to
the desires of Don Jos. As an opera singer,
it is very exciting to play the role of such a
charming woman.
How difficult is her role to play?
I consider myself to be a passionate,
independent woman. Which, in a way,
should make it relatively easy for me
to embrace the role of Carmen. Mezzosopranos like me traditionally sing
secondary roles in operas; Carmen is a
notable exception.
Why do you think bringing Carmen to
Vietnam is good for local audiences?
Vietnamese society is still very traditional,
largely dominated by men. However
Vietnamese women, just like Carmen, are

PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

Images from a recent rehearsal of Carmen

famous for being full of passion, for being


emotional and seductive. Women are
considered the backbone of family and society.
Vietnam had to fight for its independence for
centuries. Vietnamese people strove to be in
control of their fate and paid the high price
for freedom, just as Carmen does. I think the
Vietnamese audience will be greatly inspired
by this opera.

Brian Riedlinger
Stage Director
USA / Vietnam
Youve been working in Vietnam for years.
How does this present project differ
from previous musical projects youve
undertaken?
This production is an opera, and I have
never directed an opera before. I have
directed several Broadway musicals and
stage plays, but opera is really quite
different. I am trying to approach this from

a more believable perspective and make the


characters seem more real and human.
How does your role as stage director differ
to previous roles youve had in musical and
operatic performances in Vietnam?
The main difference is that this time I do not
have to perform in the show as well. I can
concentrate all of my efforts on directing.
This means that I can see everything from the
audiences perspective and thus have a better
idea of how everything will be perceived.

Carlos Dourthe
Conductor
France
Will this be your first work in Vietnam?
It will be my first visit and first musical
collaboration in Vietnam. In my opinion, this
particular musical work by Bizet is one of
the most representative and imaginative that
French opera has ever known.

What are you expecting from the project?


Hurdles! They inspire me and give me
wings! I think it is a beautiful challenge
for me to interpret Carmen with both
Vietnamese and French artists on the
same stage. It will bring an exotic touch
to a musical creation that is breathtaking:
through the colours, the vivacity, the
intensity, the emotions and the tragedy,
which is an essential part of the work.
What obstacles do you expect to
encounter?
I think that the main obstacle [will be] the
differences that can be found between both
schools. But I am confident that thanks to
these differences, we will create something
vibrant and unique.
Ticket info for Carmen will be available
closer to the performance. For more info on the
production and ticketing, please email Thai Tu
Tho on tutho@lysevents.com

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 25

Briefings
HCMC
PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

An Caf Expansion
A garden restaurant in District 2 creates a unique space for retail

hen I pulled up to An Caf on


a swelteringly hot afternoon,
I had no idea that the rustic,
tropically-styled, Indochine
restaurant had evolved as much as it has.
Since the development finished in March
2016, An Caf is now home to Anupa
Eco-Boutique, Diabolo Furniture Store
and Asian Hideaways Photo Gallery,
providing not just an appealing, leafy
destination to have a meal or ca phe sua da,
but also a retail experience.
Serving up beautifully presented, authentic
Vietnamese cuisine, food prices at An Caf are
kind on the wallet. The motif pulsing through
the entire space is Vietnam whether it
is the food prepared, the images in the art
gallery, or the products available to buy.
What we are offering is not just made in
Vietnam, remarks Anupa Horvil, the designer
and face behind fashion accessories boutique,
Anupa. Were about paying attention to all
the details and keeping it authentic.
The Anupa brand has existed for a decade,
with a full-blown retail outlet on Dong Du
in District 1 and a pop-up shop around

26 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

District 2, but it has finally found a Thao


Dien home at An Caf. The shop is filled
with classic, elegant pieces that make up the
Anupa Collection one-of-a-kind leather
accessories, jewellery, linen dresses as well
as the sandals of Simone Irani, Pepite-a-moi
childrens clothing, and Chichi World linen
clothing for men and women. This is wearable
art all created with a love of Vietnam.
There is so much high-quality production
in [this country] right now, explains
Anupa. We are all about keeping our shop
stocked with quality designs you wont find
anywhere else.

Ambience
A key element of the change is the
atmosphere. Here it is relaxed and
comfortable. This is reflected in the clientele,
many of who are working or meeting; some
are just enjoying their afternoon.
Many customers comment on the oasislike relaxing atmosphere, food quality and
originality of the space, says Wieger Otter,
co-owner of An Caf. We had too much
land initially and it has been great working

with these wonderful businesses to create a


unique space for District 2.
On the horizon are a host of events at
An Caf including wine tastings, seafood
evenings and live music, as well as other
ideas still in the works. Anupa, for example,
will host monthly events by hand picking
designers exclusive to her District 2 store. In
April it will be Cashmere Crush, a clothing
line made from fine cashmere suitable for
the tropical climate. And expect the space to
mature beyond its initial new look.
An Caf is no longer just an attractive
restaurant and caf with open air seating,
colonial-style ceiling fans, tropical flora and
local cuisine made with quality ingredients.
It has expanded, grown up, and added
something called lifestyle. A place to go to
escape the chaos of Saigon, now you can get
a shopping experience thrown in as well.
Sian Kavanagh
An Caf is at 10 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, HCMC.
For further info on An Caf, click on An facebook.
com/ancafesaigon. To find out more about Anupa
Boutique go to anupa.net/boutique-shopping-inVietnam

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 27

Briefings
Hanoi

The Bee Hive


Coworking spaces in Hanoi take on a new flavour

oong coworking space feels more


like a spa than an office. Their
new location in a hotel complex at
the end of To Ngoc Van is striking
for its tranquillity. Tall trees wave at you
as you walk from the parking lot into a
softly lit room where koi swim in a wall
length fountain. Up a spiral staircase
is the workspace, which opens out to a
bright, wide loft with beautifully designed
furniture and lighting, glass walls, and a
vast painting of lotus flowers mirroring
the lotus-laden view of West Lake.
Ly, a member of the team at Toong,
shows me around. The companys name is

28 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Vietnamese for beehive, to ong, squished


together and with the accents removed.
It meshes perfectly with their goal; to
help entrepreneurs and enterprises from
diverse areas connect and work together
in a productive community. While many
coworking spaces target young startups,
Toong attracts more established businesses
in different fields; it provides them with
a place to work, and to network and find
partners, investors, or innovators. To this
end, Toong hosts many events every week
for members and non-members alike,
as well as training workshops on topics
like fundraising and PR. They also host

bi-weekly morning coffee sessions, more


intimate gatherings for members to share
ideas and help each other.

A Fast Expansion
The company has another branch on Trang
Thi, which opened last September. The To
Ngoc Van location opened in March, and
Toong plans to expand to Ho Chi Minh City
sometime this year. The Tay Ho spot was
chosen for its large, attractive space, as well
as its proximity to expat neighbourhoods in
the upscale West Lake area.
I had a chance to speak to one of
Toongs co-founders, Giang, who told me

PHOTOS BY JULIE VOLA

that Toong started when she and Duong,


the current CEO and other co-founder
of the company, were talking business
at Starbucks. They realised they needed
a place to meet like-minded people in a
better setting than the busy coffee shop,
and they knew about the success and
rapid growth of coworking spaces like
WeWork in New York.

A European Environment
Event organiser Tanya, from Minsk, has
been a member at Toong for one month.
She was initially drawn to its beautifully
designed space and relaxing atmosphere,

as she says the loft-style room is unusual


in vertical Vietnamese buildings it
reminded her of coworking spaces back
home in Belarus. Although Tanya has
not yet had a chance to network with the
other members, she told me that she was
looking for a space to think, plan and meet
people. Toong was a perfect fit.
The company currently offers a variety
of packages, including a day tripper or
one-day-only membership for VND90,000,
and a 40-hour tourist package at
VND550,000. Various monthly packages
include a regular hot desk option, or
options for a dedicated desk and other

benefits including lockers, discounted use


of the conference room, and longer access
hours. Individuals can rent out pretty
glass-walled offices overlooking West
Lake, while companies can rent larger
rooms with multiple desks.
Setting itself apart from other
coworking spots cropping up all over
Hanoi, Toong is an expanse of luxury and
calm. Much like the beehive from which
it draws its name, it is a place where
workers can come together to flourish.
Kate Robinson
Toong in West Lake is at 98 To Ngoc Van,
Tay Ho. For more info click on toong.com.vn

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 29

Briefings
HCMC

Live to Dance

Every year Dancenter puts on a huge performance to showcase the


work of its students. This year its called Imagine

hen French-Vietnamese dance


instructor Linh Rateau cofounded Dancenter in 2007,
few could have imagined that
almost a decade later the annual dance
performances put on by her performing arts
centre would be such a huge event. That
they manage to draw in an audience of 1,600
people, including not only family members
and aspiring dancers, but the general public
as well, is a testament to the success of a
school that boasts well-known instructors
and both professional and amateur dancers
aged from four years old and up.
Now in its ninth year, this years show
on Saturday, Jun. 4 and Sunday, Jun. 5 at
the Youth Cultural House on Pham Ngoc
Thach will be no different. Entitled Imagine,
and with the dancers performing a range
of styles, from jazz and ballet to hip hop,
tap, flamenco, belly dance and high heels,
the performance will bring together more
than 200 dancers, from 12 years old to over
50, amateurs and professionals, locals and
expats, all sharing the same passion.
We practice in the studio in front of
the mirror to correct ourselves, says Linh

30 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Rateau. But the most exciting time for all of


us is when we are on stage as we can share
[our work] with the audience.
She adds: Our goal is to offer highquality entertainment to our audience with
beautiful costumes, professional lighting and
a great variety in the programme through
music and [different] dance styles.

Inspiration
Presented by Dancenters teenagers
and adult, amateur students as well as
the centres professional dance troupe,
Urban Dance Group, Imagine has been
choreographed by experienced professionals
coming from as far afield as France, Canada,
Denmark and Vietnam. Among them is John
Huy Tran who is a professional judge and
dance advisor for well-known Vietnamese
TV shows including So You Think You Can
Dance Vietnam, Vietnam Idol and Vietnams Got
Talent. So well known has he become that on
a recent episode of the TV game show, Nguoi
Bi An, when a 12-year-old semi-professional
hip hop dancer was asked who his hero was,
his answer was John Huy Tran.
Aspirations play a huge role when it

comes reaching the zenith of any profession


or discipline, and the fact that John Huy Tran
is now being cited as an inspiration is not
only a commendation to his own work, but
to the work of Dancenter where he has been
an instructor for many years. Likewise, the
annual show is also a source of inspiration
for not only its participants, but the audience
as well. This is echoed by Linh.
We chose the title Imagine because we
hope the audience will be inspired by the
music, costumes, movements, expressions
and passion of our dancers, she explains. As
performers, dancing allows us to pretend to
be whoever we want to be, to explore different
worlds, to imagine a situation sometimes
based on our own experiences or sometimes
based on pure fiction. Dancing gives us the
freedom to be anyone, anything at any time.
Imagine will be performed on Saturday, Jun. 4
at 7.30pm and Sunday, Jun. 5 at 3pm at Nha Van
Hoa Thanh Nien (Youth Cultural House), 4 Pham
Ngoc Thach, Q1, HCMC. Tickets are available
by emailing reservations@dancentervn.com,
calling (08) 3519 4490 or online via ticketbox.
vn. Tickets cost VND150,000, VND200,000 and
VND250,000

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 31

Briefings
HCMC

Songkran Madness
This years celebration of Thailands Water Festival in Saigon was hell.
Words by Jon Aspin

hen the biggest consequence


of war is a face full of H2O,
its no surprise that peoples
loyalty becomes questionable.
Arriving late at Saigon Outcasts Get Wet
Water and Music festival at the Youth
Cultural House in District 1, it was clear
that a battle of sorts had taken place.
However, who was winning, or if that
even mattered, wasnt quite so cut and,

32 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

er, dry.
Whats your game plan? I asked
Henrike from Holland when I bumped into
her. No idea, she screamed above the
crowd, anybody whos dry is a target!
Has anyone stood out in battle? I asked
Mike from the US. I dont know, he
shouted, but there is a girl over there
wearing a Captain America uniform, you
should go and ask her!

Tactics and Lots of Water


Resembling a kind of aquatic orgy in the
middle of the city, icy-cold money-shots
from brightly-coloured super-soakers were
being fired in all directions by the time I
arrived. The only strategy seemed to be
engage your enemy, anticipate retaliation,
and then brace for an all-out exchange of
water-based fun.
Clearly there was a damp grey line

PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

between enemies and friends, so I wasnt


sure how to react when my own editorial
manager let loose on me with the full force
of the water law.
Sopping wet, and promising to get
this article in on time, I hunkered down,
then bravely strafed through the random
jets that criss-crossed the battlefield.
Embedding myself with some other
shelter-seeking survivors, I tried to regain

my composure.
Soon however, as bass-heavy music
began to pump, and while water bomb
grenades rained in all around me, second
mojito-in-hand, I realised that there was
no escape and that before I ended up in a
watery grave, I had to wave the white flag
and leave.
Casualties strewn around the
apocalyptic car park location, I took one

last look at the scene. Brightened up by


one giant inflatable castle-cum-water slide,
what looked like a drenching pool in the
middle, several wading pools, and of
all things a mechanical bull, this festival
was everything and nothing that I had
expected.
Songkran, you may have beaten me
this year, but Ill be back, maybe. Jon
Aspin

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 33

Sports

Dance, Baby, Dance

Digest

The annual Vietnam University Games (VUG) competition is heating up


the dancefloors at both ends of the country. Harry Hodge has more

o you think you can


dance? Well see what Ha
Le says about that!
Le is one of the judges
at this years Vietnam University
Games (VUG) competition in the
dance battle category, with schools
from around the country vying for
dancefloor supremacy.
We see the team as a whole, we see
the movement of one dancer related
to his or her teammates, says Ha
Le, who judged the 2014 and 2015
versions of the event. Each of us
then gives points in four categories:

34 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Creativity, Technique, Teamwork,


(and) Style. We announce our own
winner by pointing towards them.
The school team with two-thirds or all
votes from the judges wins the battle.
According to the rules, each team
has from eight to 12 members. Each
dance battle game consists of two
teams, and each team performs
three rounds in turn. In the VUG
2016 competition in Hanoi and Ho
Chi Minh City, the dance battle
competition will include 16 teams
from four groups. After the group
stage, the eight best teams from those

groups will advance through the


quarter-final, semi-final and final
rounds to determine the champion.
Establishing a dance team for
VUG is really hard, says Pham Hong
Quynh, a dancer from the Diplomatic
Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi. We
have to gather enough members, find
a regular training venue and schedule
for at least two months prior to the
competition.
We stand for the whole school of
over 3,000 students in this competition
(VUG). A simple win shows that my
school is better than your school, and

Hanoi to Host 2021 SEA


Games
The Southeast Asian Games
will once again return to
Hanoi in 2021, after an
18-year-long hiatus, following
formal acceptance of the
offer to host the games by the
Hanoi Municipal Peoples
Committee.
After Ho Chi Minh City
bowed out of the running,
the Ministry of Culture,
Sports and Tourism (MOCST)
offered Hanoi the opportunity
to host the games, to be held
from November to December
2021.
In announcing the
agreement, Vuong Bich
Thang of the MOCST said it
was his understanding that
Haiphong, Bac Ninh, Hai
Duong and Nam Dinh will
also participate in organising
the event.
Having previously been
home to the Games in 2003,
Hanois second time around
is especially significant, as
it presents the city with the
perfect opportunity to put its
best face forward and show
the world its true cultural
identity.
An estimated 11 countries
will feature in 36 sports and
402 events at the 31st SEA
Games, which could draw
an estimated 13,000 sports
enthusiasts from all parts of
the globe.

Rowing Their Way to


Glory

a champion title shows that my


school is the best.
According to Quynh, the
reason VUG stands out from other
university sports competitions is
that it creates a real sense of school
spirit.
The Dance Battles will crown
a champion for Hanoi on May 8,
and another for Ho Chi Minh City
on May 15. Defending champions
from last years event include
Thang Long University in Hanoi
and Ton Duc Thang University in
Ho Chi Minh City.

VUG also features a futsal


competition, with regional
tournaments in Hanoi, Da Nang
and Ho Chi Minh City, with finals
in Ho Chi Minh City this month
as well. FPT University is Hanois
defending champion, IUH (Ho
Chi Minh University of Industry)
is the southern city champ, Duy
Tan University captured the
Danang title last year. IUH was
the national champion in 2015.
For more information, visit the
VUG Facebook page for updates and
results.

Hanoi dominated the


National Rowing Club
Championships that ended
in Danang on Apr. 4, writes
Vietnam News.
The players from the
capital won 11 gold and four
bronze medals to top the
rankings table. Hai Duong
were in second place, winning
four titles, followed by
Danang with one title. The
championships saw more
than 100 rowers from 14 cities
and provinces competing in
18 events.

Vietnamese Gymnasts
Clean Up in Tokyo
Ha Vi secured a gold
medal at the International
Gymnastics Federations
2016 Aerobic Gymnastics
World Championships, also
known as the Suzuki World
Cup 2016, held in Tokyo last
month.

The 14-year-old girl won


the medal in the individual
womens age group 12-14
after getting a total of 18.975
points.
Kanon Miyajima of Japan
finished second with 18.850
points, followed by Vietnams
Vu Ngoc Anh with 18.825
points.
On the same day,
Vietnamese gymnasts
won three silver medals,
including Bui Minh Phuong
in the under 18 womens
individuals, Phan Nguyen
Gia Hien in the under 18
mens individuals, and Dao
Hai Giang, Phan Nguyen Gia
Hien and Bui Minh Phuong
in the trio category.

Swimmer Snags
Sponsorship in
Olympic bid
Swimmer Nguyen Diep
Phuong Tram has won a
large sponsorship deal worth
VND18 billion (US$800,000)
to help her secure an Olympic
berth, according to Vietnam
News.
The money, one of the
largest sponsorship deals
in this country, will be
distributed over nine years
for her training at local and
international destinations,
as well as international
competitions.
Its hoped that Tram will
win at least one gold medal at
the regional Southeast Asian
Games in 2017 in Malaysia.
Tram and her coach Vo
Thi My Trang will fly to the
United States in June for a
three-month course at the
Pleasanton Seahawks Club
in California. Coach Trang
will be Trams manager,
while American experts will
take charge of her technical
training. Tram will compete
in the Southeast Asian
Swimming Championships in
Hanoi in May.

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wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 35

ToDo
list HCMC

Fundraisers,
underground
German DJs,
networking events,
Georges
Marvellous
Medicine and
a marathon

Merci in May
Merci Nail Spa and Bistro, Q1
Weekdays in May
Merci Nail Spa and Bistor has a great
story behind it and is one of those
well-kept secrets that once youve
tried it, will undoubtedly have
you telling your friends and going
back again. Now, theres even more
reason to go because theyve added
nightly happy hours on food and
drink. The details were a bit scant
but its on weekdays from 5pm to
7pm and includes The Bistro Menu,
which you can get over two courses
(VND180,000) or three (VND220,000).
Theyve also decided to throw out a
group booking discount of 15 percent
when you turn up in a group of four
for one of their awesome manicures
or pedicures. What a concept: great
food and drinks while someone
makes sure your hands are feet are
looking their best! Merci.
Merci is at 17/A6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1,
HCMC and is open from Tuesday to
Sunday, 9am to 9pm

Vin Gallery Spring Collection


2016

The ARC Fundraiser in May will help raise money to rescue pets

Berlin-based DJ Avalon Emerson will be playing at Observatory this month

Mads Monsen will be exhibiting a selection of works at Asian Hideaways Gallery this month

4.

5.

6.

Adoration by Juergen Buhre. One of the works on show at Vin Gallery

Livnwondr at Galerie Quynh is a community created art project

Endless River by Karine Guillerman Yama will be one of the works displayed at Vin Gallery this month

3.

2.a

1.

Merci Nail Spa and Bistor is ramping up the deals this month

Vin Gallery, Q2
Throughout May
Vin Gallerys 2016 Spring Collection
includes a selection of works from
national and international artists
currently represented by the gallery.
International works include two
pieces by Japanese Op-artist Yohei
Yama, who creates large-scale intricate
works on canvas, and explorations
into colour and form by Australian
and German artists Will Whitehouse
and Juergen Buhre respectively.
National artworks on show include a
piece by Doan Xuan Tang, fresh from
his Tho Cam II solo exhibition at the
gallery, and some of the portraiture
work of Doan Hoang Lam.
Vin Gallery is at 6 Le Van Mien,
Q2, HCMC. For enquiries contact the
gallery on 0907 729846 or hit them up
on facebook fb.com/VinGallery

Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop


Snuffbox, Q1
Friday, May 6
Get down to some 1950s and 1960s
beats at the Rock n Roll Motown
dance party at Snuffbox. Dress to
impress at the cool new District 1
venue and you could find yourself a
hero of the next weeks social pics.
Hidden in a semi-dilapidated old

38 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

building on Ton That Dam, Snuffbox


is the newest late night venue in
Saigon that has everybody talking,
presenting a speakeasy vibe and some
of the best drinks in town. So go shake
your tail feather at Shimmy Shimmy
Coco Pop on May 6, and you might
just win a prize. DJs Superkid and Stu
Pot will be selecting on the night.
Entrance is free for this event which
starts at 10pm and goes on til late.
Snuffbox is at 14 Ton That Dam, Q1,
HCMC

to function as public platforms for


communal exchanges and connection.
The theme for this first incarnation of
Livinwondr in Vietnam is Stars in Our
Eyes: Creating a Sense of Place.
Galerie Quynh is on Level 2, 151/3
Dong Khoi Q1, HCMC. The opening
reception will take place on Friday
May 6 between 6pm and 9pm and the
exhibition will run until May 14. For
enquiries please contact Celine Alexandre
on celine@galeriequynh.com or call (08)
3824 8284

Livinwondr

ARC Fundraiser

Galerie Quynh, Q1
May 6 to May 14

Thao Dien Coffee, Q2


Thursday, May 12

Galerie Quynh is launching a


community-art project Livinwondr,
curated by Vietnamese artist Hung
Viet Tran.
Comprising a sculptural structure
made up of stainless-steel tubes
that can be arranged in various
ways, Livinwondr is an interactive
project, taking on configurational
transformations in direct response to
public surroundings.
According to the press
release, A manifestation of the
interconnectedness of our modern
world, for each Livinwondr project, any
member of the (global) population can
contribute, via an online platform, their
artistic interpretation of the theme.
A variety of well-known local
artists have already contributed, and
once finished, the pieces are said

ARC Pets are teaming up with


Relocation Vietnam to put on a
business networking fundraiser and
in the process raise money for ARC
Pet Rescue.
Including a free flow of wine
and beer from 7pm to 9pm, as
well as finger food such as mini
burgers, pintxos and vegan sushi
rolls, the other aim of the event is
to help introduce ARC clients to
professionals and to help integrate
them into life here, make key
business partnerships, allow people
to meet and to make new friends.
As part of the event there will
be a raffle including prizes such
as a second hand electric scooter,
a National Gallery painting worth
US$1,000 and a Dine out for a Year
deal which will give the winner a meal

for two at a nice restaurant as well as a


bottle of wine, every month for a year.
But ultimately the goal is to raise
US$20,000 for ARC to help them
continue their work with rescued
street pets.
Thao Dien Coffee is at 38 Tran Ngoc
Dien, Q2, HCMC. The ticket price
is VND700,000 and tickets can be
purchased on Ticketbox by clicking on
ticketbox.vn/event/arc-pets-businessnetworking-fundraiser-60662/34762. For
further information, go to arcpets.com

Avalon Emerson
The Observatory, Q4
Saturday, May 14
Berlin-based production and DJ
powerhouse Avalon Emerson has
some truly impressive releases under
her belt. Expect her to bring her on
brand of raw electronic fire to the
floor. Support comes from Cora.
Doors open at 9pm and entrance is
free before 10pm. After that, ticket price
is VND150,000. The Observatory is at 5
Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC

Selected Works
4

Asian Hideaways Gallery, Q2


From May 15

Asian Hideaways Gallery opened


on Mar. 25 this year and is run by
four photographers: Yan Level, Pop
Vichaya, Sylvain Marcelle and JP.
As part of the gallery, they have
a wall space set aside for small
exhibitions by photographers, and first
out is Mads Monsen, with his show,
Selected Works. As the name implies,
the exhibition consists of photographs
captured around Vietnam. Living in
Vietnam since 2000, Mads took an
apprenticeship with a commercial
photography studio in Bergen
Norway, before graduating from Saint
Martins College of Art in London,
UK. He is also presently the Creative
Director of Word Vietnam.
Some of Mads work is available
online at omcollectionstore.com. There

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 39

ToDo
list HCMC

is also a new collection at Saatchi Art,


saatchiart.com/madsmonsen. Mads will
exhibit from the middle of May until
the end of June.
Asian Hideaways Gallery is located at
8 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, HCMC

Nick Monaco
The Observatory, Q4
Saturday, May 21
After a fantastic Thursday
performance last year, Nick Monaco
returns with his highly unique and
exotic approach to dance music for
a highlight night on the calendar.
Support comes from Observatory
house DJ, Nic Ford.
Doors open at 9pm and entrance is
free before 10pm. After that, ticket price
is VND150,000. The Observatory is at 5
Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC

Network Girls

Roald Dahls works are timeless. At the end of this month youll be able to see why

Images from the 2015 edition of the Saigon Summer Ball

Last time out in Phu Quoc it was a half marathon. This year the organisers are going the whole hog

6.

Sierra Sam and Pascal Hetzel, coming soon to a place near you

3.

5.

This month Network Girls rocks up at Merci Nail Salon and Bistro

2.

4.

Nick Monaco is back! And guess where? Observatory

1.

Merci Nails, Q1
Thursday, May 26
Those network girls know how to
party and network. Best thing, though,
is they know how to pick a venue. So
if you like a bit of pampering mixed
with some serious social networking,
youll be pleased to know that their
monthly event for May is being held
at Merci Nails, where they are giving
guests the chance to indulge in nail
treatments, foot and hand massages,
finger food and free-flow wine.
Network Girls is a monthly
networking event at venues in Ho
Chi Minh City that gives expat and
local female working professionals in
Saigon a channel to meet each other
and exchange ideas on life in the city,
employment and business.
Members of Network Girls usually
meet on the last Thursday of every
month for breakfast (7.30am to 9am) or
cocktails and canaps (6.30pm to 9pm).
The May edition will be in the evening.
Merci Nails is at 17/A6 Le Thanh
Ton, Q1, HCMC and the event costs
VND500,000. To confirm your
attendance, please RSVP to Van Ly at
networkgirlshcmc@gmail.com or find
them on Facebook: NetworkGirlsHCMC

Sierra Sam and Pascal Hetzel


The Observatory, Q4
Friday, May 27
Two massive names out of the
European electronic sound world
with releases on top shelf labels will
be combining live performance with a
DJ set in a full-on audio feast. Support
comes from Observatory house DJ,
Nic Ford. This is one not to miss.
Doors open at 9pm and entrance is
free before 10pm. After that, ticket price
is VND150,000. The Observatory is at 5
Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC

40 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Georges Marvellous Medicine


Saigon Outcast, Q2
May 28, May 29, Jun. 4 and Jun. 5
Dragonfly Theatre will be staging
their next production, the Roald Dahl
classic, Georges Marvellous Medicine,
on May 28 and 29, and Jun. 4 and 5.
Georges nasty old grandma
needs teaching a lesson, and he
decides the best remedy is a special
homemade medicine. What follows
from there will only be discovered
if you come to the play, which
means an afternoon of interactive
theatre, a barbecue, a climbing wall,
a Kepi stall and a chance to make
your own Magic Medicine drink.

In short, food and fun for all the


family.
All performances start at 4pm and
tickets are available at Kepi (63 Thao Dien,
Q2, HCMC) or at ticketbox.vn. Early bird
prices are VND300,000 (until May 15)
and VND350,000 thereafter. Under-threes
go for free. Saigon Outcast is at 188
Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, HCMC

Saigon Summer Ball


Park Hyatt Hotel, Q1
Saturday, Jun. 4
To celebrate midsummer and
escape for an evening the hustle and
bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon
Childrens Charity is holding its

7th Annual Saigon Summer Ball on


Saturday, Jun. 4.
Held to raise important funds
for their work with disadvantaged
children, since its inception in 2009,
the Saigon Childrens Charity Summer
Ball has raised almost US$370,000 to
support their work in Vietnam, with
thousands of distinguished guests, both
individual and from many different
companies, taking part over that time.
Bringing together many key
people from both the international
and Vietnamese social and business
worlds, the event is designed to be a
night of great celebration and style,
with the added benefit of raising much
needed funds. Tickets are already
selling fast so to avoid disappointment,
the organisers encourage you to book
your table as soon as possible.
For ticket bookings, please email
saigonsummerball@saigonchildren.com
or call 0901 393502 or (08) 3930 3502.
Tickets are priced at VND3,800,000 per
person or VND38 million for a table of 10

Phu Quoc International


Marathon
Phu Quoc Island
Saturday, Jun. 11

Registration is now open for the


inaugural Phu Quoc International
Marathon to be held on Saturday, Jun.
11 on Phu Quoc Island.
Tagged the Run in Paradise, a
course has been created that combines
running with national park scenery
and views of the ocean. Plotted
through the southern half of Phu Quoc
Island along one of the most scenic
stretches of beaches in South East Asia,
many events are scheduled the main
race of 42km (Full Marathon), plus
the shorter 21km (Half Marathon),
10km, 5km and a 1km kids race, all
finishing inside the grounds of Long
Beach Resort Phu Quoc, where athletes
are welcome to run straight into the
refreshing ocean.
To register and find out more, go to
sportingrepublic/phuquocmarathon

IN

Just
HCMC

Resorts, gourmet burger


restaurants,
wine cellars
and Arms
museums.
Who says that
our content
isnt eclectic?
All thats new
in Saigon and
beyond

Cam Ranh Riviera Beach


Resort & Spa
The first five-star resort in Bai Dai,
Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa officially
opened for guests on Apr. 1.
A 15-minute drive from Cam Ranh
International Airport and a 40-minute
drive to Nha Trang city centre, Cam
Ranh Riviera Beach Resort & Spa is
located on one of the most pristine
white sandy beaches in Vietnam.
Spread over an area of 10 hectares
with 200 meters of coastline, Cam
Ranh Riviera Beach Resort & Spas
226 ocean view pool villas and rooms
blend contemporary style with a
European-holiday concept. Allowing
ample daylight, the interiors feature
a soothing mix of neutral and earthy
tones and subtle Vietnamese touches
that adorn each living space, ensuring
guests utmost comfort and relaxation.
With all-day buffets, quality
dining and plenty of spa treatments
in the mix, it sounds like theyve
left no stone unturned in creating a
memorable experience by the beach
on Vietnams South-Central coastline.
As part of their grand opening, Cam
Ranh Riviera is offering a three-day, twonight package in a Deluxe Seaview Room
with daily buffet breakfast, one dinner, one
body massage and airport transfer for two
people at only VND5,400,000. Valid until
Nov. 30, except for public holidays. For
more info click on rivieraresortspa.com

Cam Ranh Riviera Beach Resort & Spa is the latest five-star resort to come to the area south of Nha Trang

The travel portal, One Click to Asia, is offering a money back guarantee if it rains too much in Laos

Pacharan is no more. Instead it is now Piu Piu

Relish brings its gourmet burger concept to District 2

Sushi and cocktails meets wagyu barbecue at Lavastone

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Good Weather Guarantee in


Laos
Southeast Asian travel portal One
Click to Asia (OCTA) believe that
the rainy season is a great time to
travel to Laos and theyre putting
their money where their mouth is by
offering a Good Weather Guarantee.
From Apr. 1 to Oct. 31, any
travellers who book a minimum
seven-night trip to Laos with OCTA
will get a partial refund if their holiday
is disrupted by heavy rain for every
day of 3 hours or more continuous
rain, the clients will receive a refund of
50 percent of their daily trip cost.
Laos and its neighbours (Vietnam,
Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand) all
suffer a big drop in visitor numbers
during the rainy months. So we want
to knock on the head the notion that
travelling to Laos during the rainy
season is unpleasant or impossible,
says Laurent Granier, OCTAs
co-founder.
To find out more, visit oneclicktoasia.
com or email Laurent on laurent@
oneclicktoasia.com.

Vietnam Approves One-Year


Visas for US citizens
U.S. citizens will now have to wait for
about six weeks to be able to get a new,

42 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

2
longer-duration visa, compared to
the current three-month single-entry
one to enter Vietnam. But the payback
is that Vietnam will issue 12-month,
multiple-entry visas to American
citizens who travel temporarily to
Vietnam for business or tourism.
Unveiled last month by Vietnams
lawmaking National Assembly, the
new visas are expected to come into
force in late May or early June. U.S.
Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius
hailed the visa extension as the
latest in a series of developments
which will bring the U.S. and
Vietnam closer together.

Piu Piu
Located on the site formerly
occupied by Pacharan, Piu Piu
opened in the middle of April
sporting a concept designed for
grown-up kids.
Built over three storeys with a
different theme on each floor, the
themes include The Club, which is
decorated with inflatable swimming
rings and a banh mi stall functioning

as a DJ stand, The Craft which


serves craft beers made in Vietnam
and is home to other fun activities,
and The Smokey Jungle which
focuses on molecular cocktails.
The drink list offers the full
range of drinks including cocktails
(VND130,000 for a mojito), mocktails,
shots, spirits by the bottle, coffee
(VND40,000 for an espresso) and tea.
Piu Piu is at 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1,
HCMC

Relish & Sons in Thao Dien


Located near the corner of Xuan
Thuy and Thao Dien, Relish &
Sons new edition opened its doors
at the end of April.
Following the same theme as
the gourmet burger restaurants
downtown location, this new
set-up boasts a minimalist interior
with white brick walls, tongue-incheek wall paintings, and wooden
tables and chairs. Although the
menu offers other options such
as breakfast, sandwiches (starting
from VND135,000), and salads

(VND140,000 for a Caesar), the main focus is


on burgers including the classic (VND160,000)
and in-house creations such as the pho burger
(VND150,000).
The drinks menu mixes beer on tap
(VND65,000 for a Platinum) with milkshakes,
homemade sodas, coffee (VND70,000 for a latte)
and tea. There is also a liquor list including
cocktails (VND140,000 for a Bloody Mary),
mugtails, and shots.
Relish & Sons is at 105 107 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC
3

Lavastone BBQ &


Cocktail House

Opened in late 2015, Lavastone is a restaurant


where East meets West in terms of both the
interior and the cuisine.
You can either choose Western-style dcor with
barebrick walls on the first floor or the zen-like
atmosphere on the second floor with Japanese
tables and chairs, and dcor to match. Focusing on
Japanese specialties like wagyu beef (VND569,000
for a wagyu sirloin) and sashimi (VND479,000
for five people), the menu offers a wide range of
dishes, from grilled seafood (VND99,000 for grilled
oysters) and hot pots to fried rice and other side
dishes (VND149,000 for crispy fried soft shell crab)
There is also a bar counter at the back which serves
up anything from classic shots to creative cocktails,
perfect if youre in search of a drink to match your
mood.
Lavastone BBQ & Cocktail House is at 96B Nam
Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, HCMC. To see more, turn to our
article on page 180

MOVING?

Call Us

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 43

IN

Just
HCMC

Mekong Merchant opens up a wine cellar for both on and off-trade customers

Ever heard of the breakfast bento? Well, thanks to The Loops new breakfast option, you have now.

After a three-and-a-half year hiatus, the Arms Museum opens again in Vung Tau

1.

2.

3.

Mekong Merchant Wine Cellar


One of District 2s favourite eating
and drinking haunts, Mekong
Merchant, has decided to exercise its
penchant for good wine by opening
up an on-site wine cellar.
Boasting a selection of imported
wine from France, Australia, Chile,
Argentina, New Zealand, Spain, Italy
and USA, all sold at affordable prices,
customers can either buy a bottle or
six to take home, have the good stuff
delivered direct to the door. Even
better, at just VND50,000 corkage
you can buy a bottle and open it at
Mekong Merchant itself.
Starting at just VND225,000 for the
French Plaimont Colombelle and rising
to VND1,050,000 for the Henschke
shiraz grenache, a full range of nonpremium wines is stocked here. So best
pop in and check out whats on offer.
Mekong Merchant is at 23 Thao Dien,
Q2, HCMC

The Loops New Breakfast


Menu
Thanks to its excellent Hausbrandt
coffee and extensive, bagel-influenced
food menu, The Loop has always been
a popular breakfast spot. Now this
District 2 caf and eatery is upping the
ante with new additions to its menu.

44 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Serving up a range of organic bread


specialities (multigrain baguettes,
pumpkin seed baguettes and pretzels)
as well as the likes of the breakfast
burger (VND129,000) and the
breakfast burrito (VND109,000), on the
light and healthy side the joint now
serves up homemade granola, yoghurt
specialties, Swiss Bircher muesli
(VND129,000) and a fruity-nutty
breakfast couscous (VND129,000).
However, a highlight is the newly
introduced The Loop Breakfast Bento
box (VND199,000), which contains
breakfast specialities from around the
world including veggie sticks with
dips, eggs benedict, Turkish breakfast
soup, a roll with cream cheese and
jam, and tea, coffee or cacao.
The Loop is at 49 Thao Dien, Q2,
HCMC

Work Permit Health Checks at


Care 1
Family Medical Practice is now
providing work-permit health checks
at the Care 1 clinic, located in The
Manor in Ho Chi Minh City.
Required by the Ministry of Labor
before issuing work permits and
resident cards for all foreigners living
in Vietnam, the move follows recent
amendments to laws which had

previously limited such screenings to


state-owned hospitals.
Typically taking between 30 and
45 minutes a go, the check-ups are
priced at VND2,250,000 and are
available between 8am and 5pm
Monday to Friday, and 8am and 12
noon on Saturdays.
For more info, call (08) 3514 0757 or
click on vietnammedicalpractice.com

Arms Museum Reopens


A private antique weapons museum
owned by a British expat, Robert
Taylor, has reopened in Vung Tau at
a new location after being closed in
late 2012.
The Worldwide Arms Museum, the
first private museum in Ba Ria-Vung
Tau Province, boasts a collection
of more than 1,000 army costumes
and weapons from England, France,
Mongolia, Turkey, Vietnam and China,
and is essentially Robert Taylors
own private collection that he started
putting together when he was just 19.
Providing a much needed
alternative experience for anyone
visiting Vung Tau, on his death,
Taylor has bequeathed the contents of
museum to Vietnam.
The Arms Museum is located at 98
Tran Hung Dao, Vung Tau

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 45

ToDo

listHanoi
DJs, Ratatat,
comedy,
Ratatat,
the Hanoi
Vertical Run,
remarkable
women and,
erm, Ratatat.
This month
in the capital.
And dont
forget Ratatat

Uncon Sci and Datodeo

Two talented DJs from LA will


be rolling up for a night at ATK,
bringing their extraordinarily varied
vinyl sets of funk and soul.
For the last five years, Uncon Sci has
been travelling the world with a box of
45s and a beat machine. As comfortable
behind the turntables as he is in front
of a sampler, Sci delivers a very wide
range of styles that are all united under
a heavy psychedelic groove. As a
passionate performer who has cut his
teeth in the LA underground scene, Sci
has performed with the likes of J-Rocc,
Dorian Concept, Kode9, Keb Darge,
Dam-Funk, Cut Chemist and D-Styles
to name a few.
On his trip to Hanoi he will be
playing with fellow Los Angelesbased DJ, Datodeo a serious vinyl
collector with a massive arsenal
of diverse rare sounds from
Brazilian soul and funk oddities to
Afro, disco, house and techno.
CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De,
Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Entrance TBC

Maison de Tet Decors regular


Maison Market Day returns on the
second Sunday of the month, with a
varied showcase of artists and stalls.
Expect to find edgy designs,
handmade crafts, jewellery and
vintage garments as well as an
organic farmers market. Chat with
the artists directly, pick up some great
quality items and enjoy the local
community atmosphere. Coffee and a
healthy food menu are also on offer.
Maison de Tet Dcor is at Villa 156 Tu
Hoa, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Hanoi.
The market runs from 10am to 4pm

6. US comic Turner Sparks will be performing on May 19 at ATK

Into The Dark

5. The 2015 outing of the European Food Festival in Hanoi

Nguyen Van Anh

c
Shuyin Tang -

b
Victoria Kwakwa -

4. The Smiths is just one of the bands wholl have their music featured by Stratford Boys Club

Work from Vu Kim Thus show, Into the Darkw

3.a

Maison Market Day is back on May 8

2.

1
b

Market de Maison
Maison de Tet Dcor, Tay Ho
Sunday, May 8

1.

CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung


Friday, May 6

Manzi, Ba Dinh
May 8 to May 31
Hanoi based artist Vu Kim Thu will
be displaying her unique form of
miniature urban art this month. In
the artists words: My world is a
miniature world. When travelling, I
navigate a new city and its facilities
by synthesizing its repeated forms,
fragmentations, and architectural
spaces through memory and
observation. The layout of maps
generates structures and orientation
that I fill with linear details evoking
streets, population, traffic, and
architecture. I start with one small
detail creating marks that spread
outwards, elaborating a personal
visual map of urban space. Slowly,

46 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

2
I create a miniature city out of my
drawing, paper sculptures and light.
Entrance is free and Manzi Artspace
is at 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Remarkable Women at
Clickspace
Clickspace, Tay Ho
Tuesday, May 10
Co-working operator Clickspace
will host an evening of discussion
featuring four prominent women
who have met with particular
success in their chosen fields.
The panel will include Victoria
Kwakwa, World Bank East Asia &
Pacific vice president and Shuyin
Tang, an impact investor recently
voted as one of Australias 100
most influential women. Also on
the panel will be Nguyen Van
Anh, leader of CSAGA, an agency
advocating the rights of vulnerable
women and children in Vietnam.
Entry is by donation with all money
raised donated to CSAGA.
Clickspace is at 15, Lane 76, To Ngoc
Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The evening starts
at 7pm

Stratford Boys Club


CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung
Friday, May 13
Come to ATK if youre up for

something a little bit different,


something to invigorate you and
leave you refreshed and ready for
the weekend.
A night of tunes running the
gamut from indie, punk, post-punk
and ska to rock, disco, nu-disco and
indie electro, the music will come
from bands such as Joy Division,
Sonic Youth, Pavement, Animal
Collective, The Smiths, Depeche
Mode, Riot Grrl and a lot lot more.
CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai
Ba Trung, Hanoi. Entry is free of charge

The European Food Festival


National Library, Hoan Kiem
Saturday, May 14
Eurocham will host the 10th
European Food Festival which it says
will be bigger than ever before. It will
feature some of the best known hotels
and restaurants in Hanoi serving
their take on European cuisine,
creating a wealth of food through the
creations of their talented chefs.
Highlights include a cryogenic
food show for children, live music,
entertainment, a kids corner and
a lucky draw with prizes such as
flight tickets to Europe. Last year,
there were 1,300 participants and
20 food booths, and EuroCham
expects even more guests this year.
For more information, contact Linh

on (04) 3715 2228 or by email on linh@


eurochamvn.org. The festival will take
place at the National Library, 31 Trang
Thi, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi and will kick
off at 4pm

The Comedy of Turner Sparks


CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung
Thursday, May 19

International stand-up comedy is


back, and once again its at CAMA
ATK. This month the show will
be headlined by US comic, Turner
Sparks.
Based in Suzhou and Shanghai,
China, Turner started his comedy
career in 2009 by founding Mainland
Chinas first stand up comedy
group, Stand Up China. Currently
a regular performer at Shanghais
Kung Fu Komedy Club, Turner
has performed hundreds of shows
throughout China and Asia, most
recently being awarded Best of the
Fest at the 2014 Akumal Comedy
Festival in Mexico presented by
Stand Up Records
This will be Turners last tour of
Asia before returning to New York
to pursue his career in comedy.
CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai
Ba Trung, Hanoi. The show starts at 8pm.
Entrance TBC. For more information on
Turner Sparks, click on turnersparks.com

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wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 47

ToDo

listHanoi

Commonwealth Networking
Event

Press Club, Hoan Kiem


Friday, May 20
The British Business Group Vietnam
(BBGV) is arranging its first-ever
Commonwealth networking event in
Hanoi later this month. Attendees will
have the opportunity to connect with
more than 200 business professionals
from a cross-section of sectors and
from a number of different business
chambers and groups in Hanoi.
The price of a ticket to this event,
which will run from 6.30pm to
8.30pm, is VND200,000.
For more information, contact Ta Ha
Lan on 0936 067757 or by email on lan.
ta@bbgv.org. The Press Club is at 59a
Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Salom

5. The Hanoi Vertical Run returns to Vietnams tallest building on Jul. 9

4. Hong Kong ska band The Red Stripes are coming to Hanoi this month

The Opera Salom will be screened at Cinmathque on May 22

2.

3. Yes, theyre back! Ratatat are playing ATK on May 22. Not to be missed

The BBGVs Commonwealth Networking Event takes place on May 20

1.

Hanoi Cinmathque
Sunday, May 22
Cinmathque is continuing their
opera screenings this month with
Salom by Richard Strauss.
Based on the play of the same
name by Oscar Wilde, Salom is the
story of King Herod and the love
triangle created around the beautiful
princess Salom and the prophet
Jochanaan. The story ends with the
execution of Salom.
For more information, contact
Cinmathque directly on (04) 3936
2648. A limited number of tickets are also
available through the Opera Guild
send an email to info@hanoioperaguild.
com. The screening starts at 7pm and
Hanoi Cinmathque is at 22A Hai Ba
Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Ratatat
CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung
Sunday, May 22
World-class talent. Wildcat mayhem.

48 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

3
Dancefloor destructors. Ratatat is
back in Hanoi, their favourite place
to play in the world.
The New York City experimental
rock-meets-electronica duo
consisting of Mike Stroud on guitar,
melodica, synthesizers, percussion,
and producer Evan Mast on bass,
synthesizers and percussion, have
been to Vietnam many times before.
And theyre explosive.
If youve already snagged tickets
to the sold-out performances, expect
to have a massive night of live music.
Entrance is VND250,000 in advance
and tickets can be purchased from
CAMA ATK, 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba
Trung, Hanoi

The Red Stripes


CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung
Saturday, May 28
Hong Kongs finest mod and ska
band, The Red Stripes, have been on
a journey to bring the sounds of ska,
soul and mod to audiences across
Hong Kong and Asia. Along the
way they have gained a reputation
as high-energy performers with an
accomplished level of musicianship.
In the beginning, the goal was
simple, to bust out a little played
genre of music with a big live band
format to a new audience, and to
develop their own style and sound.

Now theyre getting big


Entrance is VND50,000 on the door.
CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba
Trung, Hanoi

The Hanoi Vertical Run


Landmark 72, My Dinh
Saturday, Jul. 9
Registration has opened for
Vietnams highest stair climbing
race, the Hanoi Vertical Run, and
organisers Sporting Republic expect
the event to sell out quickly.
Runners will embark upon the
ascent of Vietnams tallest building,
Landmark 72, facing the challenge
of climbing 350 metres, 72 floors
and 1,914 steps if they want to cross
the finish line and enjoy the view at
the top. Sporting Republic expects
to attract the full complement of
500 runners across the various
categories for the July 9 event.
The buzz around the race is being
felt within the sporting community,
says David Shin of Sporting Republic.
We are anticipating a sell-out and are
encouraging runners to sign up now
so they dont miss the chance to be a
part of the incredible celebration.
Online registrations have started
with a participation fee of between
US$20 and US$25 per person. For more
information please visit the event website:
sportingrepublic.com/hanoiverticalrun

Vietnam's favourite
Brazilian restaurant.

,
DISHES
W
E
N
H
N OW WIT D A NEW FEEL.
OK AN
O
L
W
NE

Au Lac Do Brazil I HCMC


238 Pasteur, Dist. 3
Tel: (08) 3820 7157 - Fax: (08) 3820 7682
pr@aulacdobrazil.com

Au Lac Do Brazil II Hanoi


6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Dist
Tel: (04) 3845 5224 - Fax: (04) 3747 4330
pr_hanoi@aulacdobrazil.com

Au Lac Do Brazil III Nha Trang


101 Trinh Phong Str, Tan Lap Ward
Tel: (058) 351 6661 - Hotline : 0916451669
pr_nhatrang@aulacdobrazil.com
wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 49

IN

Just
Hanoi

New resorts,
visa services,
arts cafes
and a Thai
restaurant.
All thats
new this
month in
Hanoi and
beyond

Tuk Thai is the latest Thai restaurant to hit Hanoi

The intiMate Initiative have started new sexual health education workshops at HRC

Bia Tay Ta has opened next to Hanoi Rock City

Linh and Ben have moved to Hang Buom

6.

7.

An artists impression of the newly opened restaurant in the Novotel Suites, Food Exchange

3.

5.

Bana Hills outside Danang now has itself a French village

2.

4.

Ngon Villa has just opened on Food Street, which means it will be open 24 hours

1.

Ngon Villa
Combining authentic Vietnamese
street food with the elegance of
a French villa is the aim of new
restaurant Ngon Villa.
The restaurant, which will be open
24 hours a day, can cater for up to
170 people and will offer a range of
traditional dishes, from Hanois own
pho cuon to the specialities of Central
Vietnam.
A barbeque station with a variety
of tempting dishes is also available.
Other visitors will be attracted by the
opening season promotions, which
include a free flow of beer from 6pm
to 7.30pm and 11.30pm to 12.30am.
The restaurant is the latest venture
of travel company Paradise Hotels
& Cruises.
Ngon Villa is at 10 Tong Duy Tan,
Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Mercure Bana Hills French


Village
AccorHotels has just opened a
luxury resort at an altitude of
1,480 metres above sea level,
set in the spectacular Bana Hills
above Danang. The hotels
architectural design is inspired
by the quintessential villages of
19th-century France, surrounded
by an entertainment hub, and a

50 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

boutique mall. The resort boasts 494


rooms and suites in six categories
Standard, Deluxe, Executive Suite,
Family Suite and Royal Suite.
There are seven F&B outlets and
a range of recreational activities,
including a fitness centre, a spa
offering pampering facial and massage
treatments, and an indoor pool.
To celebrate the opening, the
hotel is offering a special rate
starting at VND1,460,000++ (US$65)
per night with breakfast for two,
valid until May 31.
Mercure Bana Hills French Village
is located in An Son Hamlet, Hoa Ninh
Commune, Hoa Vang, Danang, 40km
from Danang Airport and train station.
For more information, please visit
accorhotels.com or call (0511) 379 9222

Food Exchange
The newly opened Novotel Suites
is offering a 30 percent discount off
buffet lunches at its restaurant, Food
Exchange, through to Jul. 31 as part
of its opening promotion.
The modern-looking buffet, with
its live cooking stations, prides itself
on its well-balanced dishes using
natural and fresh ingredients. Further
promotions include a complimentary
meal for children under six, and 50
percent off for children between the

ages of seven and 12.


Novotel Suites is at 5 Duy Tan, Cau
Giay, Hanoi. For more information click on
novotel.com/9813 or call (04) 3576 6666

Tuk Tuk Thai Cuisine


Theres a new Thai spot in town, and
its called Tuk Tuk. Tucked away just
off Hoan Kiem Lake on Hang Hanh,
the restaurant is currently working
out its kinks with a soft opening,
but the cozy, colourful space shows
major promise.
Owner Mon Ovath, former chef at
Madake and Ha Noi Panic, is cooking
up dinner classics like pad thai and
green curry for VND85,000, with
plans to open for breakfast and lunch.
Be on the look out for the grand
opening in the coming month.
Tuk Tuk Thai is at 46 Hang Hanh,
Hoan Kiem, and is currently open from
6pm to 11pm

Womens Health Workshops


The intiMate Initiative is continuing
their work to expand sexual health
education in Vietnam with biweekly
workshops at Hanoi Rock City.
Aiming to start conversations
about womens health issues like
fertility and HPV, as well as address
social stigmas around gender and

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4

6
sexuality, the small group
discussions are open to all, every
other Sunday at 7.30pm.
The group will also use these
workshops to train community
youth leaders to facilitate
conversations about sexual
health among their peers.
For more information, find The
intiMate Initiative on Facebook, or
go to theintimateinitiative.com

New Bia Hoi on To Ngoc


Van
Bia Tay Ta recently held its grand
opening on To Ngoc Van to a
packed house. Run by couple
Huong Vu Hai and Hien of
Quest Festival and Commune
Cafe, the space features specialty
Na Da beer and tasty Vietnamese
fare, from VND20,000 to
VND200,000 a dish.
Aiming to be a place where
Vietnamese and Westerners alike
can enjoy a wallet-friendly, quality
brew, Tay Ta will be open from
9am to midnight and features live
music every weekend, along with
the occasional Game of Thrones
watching party.
Bia Tay Ta is located at 33/52
To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, next door to
Hanoi Rock City

Linh & Ben


If youre wondering what
happened to Linh & Ben on Xuan
Dieu, well now you know its
moved to Hang Buom in the Old
Quarter.
Boasting a similar ambience
and dcor of its previous
incarnation bold colours, cosy,
and casual the new eatery
serves up traditional French
cuisine and is open from 9.30am
for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The menu includes crepes
made with a machine imported
from France (VND165,000 to
VND195,000 a go), salads,
starters and mains such as the
beef tartar (VND355,000), the
lamb shank (VND375,000) and
goose confit (VND325,000).
Linh & Ben is at 33 Hang Buom,
Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. They have a
daily happy hour from 6pm to 8pm
with 50 percent off beers and 25
percent off spirits, as well as a range
of other opening promotions

81 QT
A new art caf has opened
on Quan Thanh that not only
serves up Asian cuisine from its
standard menu, but also has a
separate conceptual menu where

customers pay for each dish


according to what they think its
actually worth.
However, setting themselves
up first and foremost as an art
caf, 81 QT welcomes all artists to
come to work, do performances
and run workshops. They are
also promising exhibitions,
stand-up comedy, live music and
charity art auctions. With coffee
and drinks costing between
VND20,000 and VND65,000,
check out this new venue to see
what theyre up to. By the sounds
of it, it could be quite a lot.
81 QT is at 81 Quan Thanh, Ba
Dinh, Hanoi

True Color Tours


Travel agent and visa queen
Ms. Lai has moved her office
and business to the West Lake
neighbourhood, to be closer from
her clientele. Or, as she puts it, For
the joy of her expat customers.
Considering that 80 percent
of her business comes from the
foreign residents of Hanoi, this
might not be such a bad move.
True Color Tours is now at
32 Tay Ho, Tay Ho or online at
truecolortours.com. You can contact
Ms. Lai on 0912 223966

Insider

The Organic Farm / Food Stories / Mau Colour/ The Latin Underground / Saigon Pool Tour / Mystery Diner Hanoi /
Bun Oc Co Hue / Mystery Diner HCMC / Know Your Com Tam / Club Med / Phu Yen / The Private Island / Notes From
Another City: Get Outta Town / Destination Zero / The Motorbike Diaries Part 14
Photo by Bao Zoan

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Insider

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The

Orga
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HAN
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Farm

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Julie Vola heads to Thanh Xuan Cooperative to get the beef or more aptly,
the fruit and veg on growing organic food in Hanoi

W
By European
standards, Vietnam
cannot produce
organic food. There
is too much pollution
in the soil, water and
air. Its more accurate
to use words like
safe and clean for
products produced
using minimal to no
chemicals at all

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ith the rise of headline news


in Vietnam about unsafe food
being found in markets and
shops, one could get worried.
In these times of uncertainty, many
people have begun to turn to organic
food in search of safe, quality products.
The demand for food safety in Vietnam is
huge, and the development of this market
is rapid.
Pham Thi Tuyet Mai, director of Naturally
Vietnam, a safe and organic shop on To Ngoc
Van says that we should actually not use
the term organic for any products made in
Vietnam, because by European standards,
Vietnam cannot produce organic food. There
is too much pollution in the soil, water and
air. Its more accurate to use words like safe
and clean food for products that have been
produced using minimal to no chemicals at
all.

The System of Guarantees


Hanoi is surrounded by farmland. Just
across the Red River, you can see wide fields
of rice and vegetable farms. I have always
been attracted to them, and always wanted
to photograph the landscape and the people
working it.
One of these farms is Thanh Xuan
cooperative, 6,200 square metres of safe,
clean produce, situated near Noi Bai Airport.
You can see and hear the airplanes landing

regularly, but it doesnt bother the farmers


anymore. Its just a normal part of their day
now.
In 2009, a group of families got together to
create an organic farm under the patronage
of the ADDA-VNF Organic Agriculture
Project. The group split in 2013, and six of its
families created Thanh Xuan Cooperative.
The ADDA-VNF Organic Agriculture
project developed a Participatory Guarantee
System (PGS) of organic standards
for Vietnam, accredited by IFOAM
(International Federation of Agriculture
Movements Organic Farming ifoam.org).
The PGS is a method of certification that
uses peer review to hold everyone in the
production chain accountable, and is applied
to all stages of the production process.
Naturally Vietnam sources all of its
vegetables from Thanh Xuan Cooperative.
However, even these cannot be labelled
100% organic according to European
standards, Mai tells me, but theyre as close
as it gets here. Naturally Vietnam has a
permanent dialogue open with the farmers
to help them maintain quality, hold their
procedures to the highest standards, and
work to keep the environment clean.

Clean and Safe


When I visited the farm, the cooperatives
leader, Dung, told me it took almost a year
to prepare the farm to produce clean, safe

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 57

vegetables. First, they had to clean the soil


of the chemical pollution left by previous
farming methods, and then prepare all the
bio-fertilizer and new seeds.
Respecting these high standards of
production makes the farm work much more
demanding and time consuming, as farmers
have to weed the vegetable plots by hand.
However, they are happier, and the income
they receive is higher and more consistent,
as their prices arent affected by fluctuations

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in the normal market. Dung has noticed a


big difference in her health since she stopped
using chemicals on her farm, and the
environment has also benefitted from it; the
air is fresher and free of chemical smells.
Dung was very concerned about
me taking photos at the farm, mainly
because she thought I would not like it.
Everyone who works on organic farms
or regularly buys organic knows that
these fruits and vegetables are not as big

or aesthetically-pleasing as non-organic
produce. The plants at the farm are also a bit
unattractive, because they cant use chemical
pesticide or fertilizer, so very hungry
caterpillars tend to eat holes in the leaves.
The Vietnamese are always surprised
by what I enjoy photographing. They did
not think I would be so happy on the farm
taking photos, and eating fresh cucumbers
and tomatoes right off the plant, but I had a
blast.

Dung has noticed a big difference in her health since she stopped using
chemicals on her farm, and the environment has also benefitted from it;
the air is fresher and free of chemical smells

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 59

Cover Story

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Food Stories

e often forget how much work goes into


the food that appears on our plate or the
drink that fills up our glass. Yet look at the
chain of people and events that brings this
all to us, and you realise the ubiquity and enormity of
todays food and beverage industry. Look even further
and you see the stories behind the food. Everyones got
an anecdote or a narrative.
This cover story is dedicated to these stories. From

making tofu through to the restaurateurs who have


pioneered an industry, to the inventor of pho cuon and
the noodle soup restaurant that became the headquarters
for an uprising. Every person weve spoken to has a tale
to tell. And each person has done or is doing something
unique.
If you get joy out of eating and drinking and wonder at
the passion, perspiration and dedication that makes it all
happen, then this ones for you.

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Pho The People


One pho restaurant in Saigon's District 3 has a story that goes way beyond the food.
Words by Sin Kavanagh. Photos by Rodney Hughes
wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 63

t's a particularly humid day when


I make the journey to Pho Binh
restaurant, and not an easy adventure
at that. Still nervous on my motorbike,
I struggle to navigate my way across rushhour traffic and one-way streets.
Just off of Hai Ba Trung in District 3, past
the pink church and down Ly Chinh Thang,
sits an unassuming shop selling Northern
style pho bac; one of the most common
Vietnamese dishes and a dietary staple up
and down the country.
Taking a seat on the wooden stools at
metal tables underneath the orange fans,
you wouldnt suspect that this pho restaurant
offers more than just a delicious bowl of
noodle soup.
My eyes wander to the framed photos
proudly displayed on the wall and the sign
in Vietnamese declaring the restaurant a
national heritage site. This isnt just any old
eatery, but a slice of history nestled in the
heart of Saigon. Pho Binh was the Viet Cong
headquarters from 1967 to 1968, the place
where the Northern commanders met and
planned the Tet Offensive of 1968.

Tucked Away Upstairs

After meeting the owner Ngo Van Lap, who


inherited Pho Binh from his father, we are
herded up a steep and steamy staircase and
into a spacious, tiled living room. Decorating
the walls are over 50 black-and-white
portraits of comrades and members of the
Viet Cong and Communist Party, Lap and
his father Ngo Van Toai included.
Within minutes of entering this treasure
trove of Vietnamese history, I find myself
coated in a thick layer of sweat and with
arms full of articles about Pho Binh over
the years and Laps family. Lap talks so
enthusiastically about the room that was
once a major political meeting place, that
I feel as though I understand every word,
even though I dont speak a word of
Vietnamese.
Walking the length of the room, Lap
explains in detail how the members of
the Viet Cong would secretly meet at the
restaurant, and after hours in the upstairs
room, strategize and plan their next moves
during a critical time of the American war.
His face, filled with youth for someone 60
years old, bears a proud smile as he talks
about his father the comrade, and his time in

Con Dao prison after being captured by the


Americans in 1968 after the Tet Offensive.

This is About Pho

The smell of frying beef fat fills the air in the


restaurant downstairs as we come to try the
pho that has survived wars. The gentleman
who prepares the soup gracefully lowers
the beef into the broth and is eager to show
us his veteran's card, before layering the
noodles, beef and broth into a bowl.
The secrets of the family recipe for the
broth are tightly guarded as they have
survived generations, relocations and life
in all its facets. Each ingredient represents
the generations of family as the recipe has
been passed down between family members,

Lap explains in
detail how the
members of the
Viet Cong would
secretly meet at
the restaurant,
and after hours in
the upstairs room,
strategize and
plan their next
moves during a
critical time of the
American war
from its Northern origins to its home in the
heart of Ho Chi Minh City. The northern (pho
bac) and southern (pho nam) styles evolved
separately as Vietnam was divided into
two from 1954, and the differences are still
evident today.
The distinctive characteristics of Northernstyle pho are the lack of sugar in the broth,
chopped beef instead of sliced beef, and
serving up the noodles without herbs and
bean sprouts. Today, when you order the pho

bo at Pho Binh, you will receive a generous


plate of mint, Thai basil, lemon, chillies and
sauce to appeal to southern Vietnamese
customers, but the family recipe remains
otherwise unchanged.

Hidden in Plain Sight

The location of Pho Binh is only 10 minutes


away from downtown Saigon. Lap proudly
describes the strategy of using the restaurant
as safely hiding in the most dangerous
spot, right next door to US offices and
having Southern Vietnamese generals
frequently visiting for lunch.
Laps father, Ngo Van Toai arrived in
Saigon in 1944, six years before his wife
and family followed him to the South. Toai,
a resistance member of the Viet Minh and
comrade in the Viet Cong, purchased the
house that would eventually become Pho
Binh in 1967 with financial help from the
Viet Cong.
Many Northern Vietnamese people moved
to the South during Operation Passage
to Freedom after the Geneva Accords of
1954. It was common to find Northerners
opening restaurants in the South before and
during the war, remarked Lap.
After Toai was captured and the
Americans raided Pho Binh in February
1968, the restaurant closed. But it reopened
in 1975 after the prisoners of war were
released, and the war had ended. Thus, the
Ngo family continues to serve up bowls of
history every day.

North Meets South in a


Ceramic Bowl

Pho is reminiscent of Vietnam in more


ways than one. From the separate styles of
Northern pho bac and Southern pho nam, to
the influences of French, Chinese and local
culinary styles, it is a dish that is uniquely
Vietnamese.
The name of this restaurant, Pho Binh or
Peace Soup, also hinges on that harmony
between north and south. When I ask Lap
if he has visited his home in the north, he
laughs as he responds: Saigon is my home,
it is where I was born.
Then he stops and reflects: But I grew
up with a different perspective, a Northern
perspective.
Pho Binh is located at 7 Ly Chinh Thang, Q3,
HCMC. It is open daily from 9am to 9pm

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 65

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The Tofu Widow


Vu Ha Kim Vy gets into conversation with Ly Thi Nhat to find out how tofu
has become a livelihood for her and her family. Photos by Bao Zoan

lthough Tan Phu Market was


renovated more than 10 years
ago, its traders prefer to set up on
its outskirts. Ly Thi Nhats stall,
nestled in one of the main surrounding
streets, is just big enough to have a front
table to display her products and a boilingoil pan for her daughter-in-law to fry cubed
tofu.
On the table lay several stacks of fried
and white tofu, a few tubes of silken tofu,
a dozen bags of soya milk and bean curd
sheets. Her tofu is the best in this market!
my mother says while waiting for her to
pack three bags of soya milk.
Nhat is a 55-year-old widow; her
husband died when she was 38, leaving

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seven children, a small house and a piece


of rice field in Can Tho to her. She gives a
distant look as she starts the story of her
life.

The only Source

I couldnt feed my children with a small


piece of paddy and my eldest child was
only 17 at that time, she says. Thanks to a
sum of money sent by her sister who was
living in the US and the proceeds from
selling everything she had in Can Tho, she
and her children moved to Saigon for a
better life.
I learnt how to make tofu through my
sister-in-law when my husband was still
alive, but I was never serious with it, she

continues. Yet since her husbands death


from a heart attack, tofu has become her
only source of income.
When she and the children arrived in
Saigon, she refined her tofu-making skills
through a recipe taught to her by her niece.
For nearly 17 years that recipe has been her
livelihood as shes watched her children
mature, get married and have their own
children.
Tofu making is a hard job. Its time
consuming and the recipe must be followed
to the letter. Tofu needs to be made at 1am
to be ready for the early market, which
usually starts at 5am. That is not counting
the 1st and 15th of the lunar month, the
days when there is a new moon and full

moon, a time when the consumption of


tofu rises significantly. On these days, Nhat
starts work at 9pm.
Thank God, my eldest son has been
helping me out a lot, she says. He and his
wife now take care of the cooking process. I
am in charge of selling the product.

Expansion

Nhat pauses for a while, recalling the time


when she carried her tray of tofu around
Tan Phu market. She had just moved to
Saigon.
People usually have their favourite
suppliers and they didnt know me, she
says. That was the reason why sales were
slow.

Refusing to accept defeat, she decided to


rent a small back-street spot that eventually
became her own. Aiming to have a frying
section on-site, she rented the spot next to
her location from a cousin. I also bought
that second spot two years ago, she says.
We use 80 kilograms of soybeans for
making tofu and other soya-related products
every day. That is already a lot of work for
the three of us. We just focus on family-sized
consumption, she replies when I asked her
about next step for the business.

The Recipe

The recipe, originally from Ha Nam Ninh


(now Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh), requires
more than three hours for the mixture of boiled

soya milk and an acidid liquid (normally


vinegar) to form white curds, which are
then moulded into rectangles. This process
produces less tofu and is time-consuming, but
doesnt require the addition of gypsum, which
some believe is a health hazard.
All the ingredients have to be bought,
cooked and consumed in one day, as this
process cannot make the tofu last long,
explains Doanh.
My mother and I dont want to expand into
a factory-sized business, he adds. When you
need a large of amount of tofu to be made in a
short time, you need to use gypsum, which is
cheaper than the way we are making tofu now.
Profits are higher, but to us morality is more
important.

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Al Frescos: An
Unlikely Success
Story
The first Western restaurant chain in Vietnam, this year the Al Frescos Group turns 20.
Emily Petsko speaks to the chains founder, Jacko, to hear their story

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 69

f you find yourself at the original Al


Frescos restaurant on Hanois Hai Ba
Trung, and you suddenly forget what
country youre in, dont panic. Thats
the intended effect.
The tables are dressed in white cloths, air
conditioners pump cold air into the room,
and Heinz ketchup and house-made hot
sauce are stationed where the pickled garlic
would normally be. A wide-screen television
suspended from the ceiling plays Al Frescos
advertisements on loop.
Is everything okay with your meal? my
waitress, Nhung, asks me several bites into
my chicken fajitas. The reason I know her
name is because she told me to call her if
needed, and just as a reminder, a nametag is
pinned to her shirt.
No em oi necessary.
While the dining experience is
quintessentially Western, Im surrounded
by Vietnamese customers young couples
sharing a bowl of pasta, middle-aged men
drinking beer, and office colleagues gabbing
more than eating.
It wasnt always this way. When it opened
20 years ago, the overwhelming majority
of customers were Western expats. Now,
about 70% of diners are Vietnamese, and
Al Frescos Group restaurants including
other chains like Jaspas and Pepperonis
number 52 in Vietnam.
The road to become the first Western
restaurant chain in Vietnam was a bumpy
one, pockmarked with many potholes along
the way. There were language barriers, a lack
of freezers (staff stored meat in their homes),
and even a failed poisoning attempt by a
disgruntled chicken supplier.
The odds were stacked, but then again,
so were the heaping plates of BBQ ribs that
kept customers coming back.

Down Under Roots

Craig Jacko Jackson, an Aussie with


an extensive background in hotel and
restaurant management, moved from Hong
Kong to Hanoi in 1996 to open Al Frescos.
He had known his business partner,
Wayne Parfit, since he was 10 years old, and
a Vietnamese woman they knew agreed to
serve as the legal restaurant owner.
As for why they chose to start a business

70 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

I had rat poison


put in chicken
breasts and I
had broken glass
put in things,
like crushed-up
glass put in food
items from the
market because
I stopped buying
from [one supplier]
and bought from
another one
instead
in Hanoi where anti-foreign sentiment
was still present two decades after the
American War had ended Jacko says it
was all about the connections.
We had a good Vietnamese partner, he
explains. Thats always the tricky thing in
Asia because the laws were that foreigners
couldnt own businesses, so we needed to
have a very trustworthy and honourable
person, which is not that easy to find. So
wherever you find that person, thats where
you should probably set up.
The idea was to create a Western comfort
food restaurant with Australian hospitality
and a menu boasting pizza, pasta, tacos,
steaks and ribs.
That was very popular when we first
opened because everyone was sick of rice
and noodles, says Jacko.
At the time, only two restaurants in Hanoi
served Western cuisine, and both were
focused on top-end clientele. Jacko, however,

had other ideas. He wanted to make Al


Frescos more affordable. Yet getting things
going wasnt easy.
Without adequate storage space, staff had
to store imported steaks and salmon fillets
in their own freezers, and bicycles were the
only mode of transport. Poor English among
waiting staff was another issue, especially as
Jackos policy was to slash the tabs of entire
parties if just one order was wrong.
As it turns out, spaghetti vongole sounds
a lot like spaghetti bolognese.
Thered be three or four meals and one
would be a mistake, he recalls. Id free the
whole table because that was the standard
that I was aspiring to.
Business picked up steadily, but he didnt
take a salary for the first year of operations.
Yet more troubling were the attacks.
Everyone was struggling to get by in those
days, and competition was fierce.
I had rat poison put in chicken breasts,
says Jacko, and I had broken glass put in
things, like crushed-up glass put in food
items from the market because I stopped
buying from [one supplier] and bought from
another one instead.
Another supplier tipped him off about the
poison, and other locals he had befriended
offered their help along the way.
If I didnt have Vietnamese protecting
me, I wouldnt have been able to stay open.
The only way was to have local help.

Pizza Revolution

At some point along the way, Al Frescos


gained local trust and won over Vietnamese
taste buds in a big way.
Pepperonis restaurant, which opened in
Hanoi in 1997, started offering an all-youcan-eat buffet for only VND20,000. It was the
first buffet in Hanoi outside of the five-star
hotels, and locals had eyes bigger than their
stomachs.
Theyd bring in plastic bags and start
sweeping the food off the buffet into the
bags to take home, says Jacko. It was a
very tough learning experience.
Yet, for most Hanoians, pizza wasnt love
at first bite. In Vietnamese it was called a
cake and people would say: You only
need one slice and youre full. Cheese
turned out to be an acquired taste.

But after serving up tasty pizzas with


ample toppings for several years, locals
started to change their minds. The group ran
a survey before opening the first Al Frescos
restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City in 2003 and
asked Vietnamese to rate how much they
liked pizza. In Hanoi, pizza polled between
8 and 10, with 10 being the highest.
In Saigon, the highest rating was 4, and
most Vietnamese ranked it a 2 or 3. Jacko
attributed this to the fact that Vietnamese in
Saigon had only eaten crazy bad pizzas
with knock-off ingredients like Happy Cow
cheese.
We came to Saigon thinking that we were
gonna kill it because everyones going to be
so Western-oriented, he says. But actually,
Saigon was a whole new experience because

[people] had been served quite sub-standard


food here for a long time.
By that time, Al Frescos Group was
already operating a handful of successful
restaurants in Hanoi, and they wanted to
try their luck down south. It paid off. They
continued to win over both expats and
local customers, and the number of pizza
lovers seemed to grow by the day. They later
opened more restaurants in Saigon and one
in Danang.

Two Decades Later

For their 20th anniversary this autumn,


Al Frescos will host special promotions
and giveaways. They plan to display their
original menu to prove how little their prices
have fluctuated over the years. Some prices

have even come down. A large pepperoni


pizza that originally cost US$10.50
(VND236,000) is now priced at just under
US$10.
Despite facing heavy competition from
other Western restaurants, Jacko says Al
Frescos hasnt taken much of a hit. In fact, it
seems just as popular as ever.
Vietnamese cant believe that a foreigner
has survived in Vietnam, he explains. Any
Vietnamese will just say Theres no way that
a foreigner can do this, but we have.
He adds: Weve been lucky. Weve had
a good Vietnamese partner and my staff
swung over to help me and support me
while they were getting a lot of pressure to
not help the foreigner. I was very lucky that
my staff stood by me.

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Confessions of a
Wine Supplier
Ever wondered what it's like supplying wine in Vietnam? Billy Gray catches up with Jeremie
Courivault, one of the best known faces in the local wine industry. Photos by Julie Vola

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eremie Courivault of The


Warehouse in Hanoi is among the
growing list of wine suppliers in
Vietnam. Working in the industry
for well over a decade he has a good idea
about what its like supplying wine in a
country thats still developing a palate for
the good stuff.
Moving to Vietnam when he was just 20,
the goal was to set up a restaurant with a
friend from back in France.
He was doing seasonal work, recalls
Jeremie. So I left three months earlier than
him and waited for him to finish the season
and come out to join me. Its been almost 20
years and Im still waiting for that season to
finish.

Sowing the Seeds

Once settled, he didnt waste time getting


involved with the local service industry,
working in restaurants and bars and
learning English and Vietnamese as he went
along. Jeremie soon began supplying wine,
but back in the early 2000s, as he says: All
you could get was fake 1997 Bordeaux, but
thats changed were fortunate in Vietnam
that the market is now very legitimate.
Still, the wine industry in Vietnam is
certainly in its development stages, and
often customers want the biggest, boldest
and most expensive bottle available just to
make a statement. This is something that
Jeremie is determined to change.
Theres so much out there, he says. I
do try to suggest other wines, but theres a
fine line. I want to advise my clients, but at
the same time, if they like a heavy red every
time, then thats what they like.
Since 2000, Warehouse has expanded
across Vietnam and beyond, with bases in
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang and
a strong presence in Cambodia, Laos and
Myanmar. They have regular wine tastings
in their shops and hold wine dinners in some
of the most exclusive venues in Vietnam.
Pairing the right wine with different
cuisine is one of the fundamentals of the
industry, and something that Jeremie has
been practising for years, and with some
quite exotic dishes think rat, turtle,
scorpions and larvae.
Some of the food matching Ive done has
been crazy, he says. Once I was eating at
a restaurant and they brought out a hotpot
and there was this rattling sound going
on you assume that the hotpot is already
boiling so I opened the lid to see what was
inside. No! the staff were yelling, but it was

In this business the customer is always


right, so I just sat back and smiled
too late, the lid was open and these prawns
were leaping out for their lives all over the
table.

No Sour Grapes

Jeremies clientele has grown over the years


to include a diverse bunch from some of
the best hotels and restaurants in town, to
ambassadors, businessmen, the occasional
Vietnamese pop star and just about any wine
lover in Vietnam who knows how to read a
map.
In the wine industry, Jeremie points out,
you have to know more than just a lot about
wine, you need to know your customers
and their tastes. Jeremie has built personal
relationships with his over the years,
sharing his passion and his knowledge for
everyones favourite grape juice.
He cites an incident with some highprofile dignitaries.
A friend of mine was hosting a dinner for
some very important guests and of course
she wanted everything to be of the highest
standard. Shed prepared a nine-course meal
and called me asking for some of my best
wines; everything was set to perfection.
The guests arrived, already drunk, and
wanted all the food served in three courses.
When the wine was offered they passed it
up and got their driver to go and pick up
two bottles of whisky instead. She was on
the phone crying afterwards. But the lesson
is that you have to know your customer, and
what they want.

bought a very nice, and very expensive


bottle of red wine from me, he laughs.
They poured a glass each and then cracked
an egg, separated the white from the yoke
and mixed it into the wine.
He adds: In this business the customer is
always right, so I just sat back and smiled.
A little taken aback by this innovation I
ask him, have you tried it yourself?
God no I love wine too much!
For more info on The Warehouse, click on
warehouse-asia.com

Ripening

Its clear that Jeremie has learnt a lot over the


years from being not just a survivor of, but
also a pioneer of Vietnams wine supplying
industry. We want people to learn about
wine, we want people to explore whats out
there.
In the business of supplying wine, you
meet all kinds of characters. Some are more
memorable than others, some make more of
a mess, and some push the boundaries just
when you thought youd seen it all.
Ill never forget, these two guys once

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A Day in the Life


of a Five-Star Chef
No, were not talking about a Michelin-five-star chef. No such thing. This kitchen fiend is
Raphael Szurek, grand fromage at Hanois JW Marriott. Words and photos by Julie Vola

riginally from Paris, 31-year-old


Raphael Szurek began his career
in the 3-Michelin-star restaurant,
Le Grand Vefour, under the
tutelage of Chef Guy Martin. In 2006,
Raphael moved to Guangzhou, China
for a six months internship at the newly
opened Novotel and from there he had the
opportunity to work at The Ritz Carlton
when it was opening.
When it was time for him to move on,
Raphael contacted the JW Marriott and was
offered work on the opening of The French
Grill. He recently received the Rising Star
Culinary Excellence Award for Asia-Pacific
from the JW Marriott. Stylistically, Raphael
creates a modern French cuisine and
enjoys combining Vietnamese, Korean and
Japanese elements.
The process of creating a new dish can
vary from 10 minutes to three weeks, Chef

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Raphael says. Sometimes, he says, you have


a stroke of genius, and come up with a dish
that works right away, but usually from the
first idea to the final dish, trial and error
have evolved the finished product beyond
recognition.
Creating a dish is an intellectual
process, he says. I am not reinventing
cuisine, but you can take from other
peoples techniques and put your own twist
on it, and thats whats nice. Dishes evolve
over time, but people come to eat a chefs
full cuisine, not just one dish in particular.

Groundwork

First things first; deliveries. Ingredients


usually come in a refrigerated truck. If not,
the temperature of the product is tested,
and if it reads over a certain temperature,
its rejected. Deliveries are massive, but
trickle in slowly throughout the morning.

The hotel juggles 70 different suppliers for


their restaurants, and it can be hard to keep
ingredients consistent, as some suppliers
buy per container.
The French Grill spends VND20 million
to VND30 million per day in food orders.
The most expensive item is the Japanese
Wagyu beef, at VND16 million for four
kilograms. After the meat is prepared in
the kitchen, it is preserved using oil, which
avoids damage from freezing, and the grey
colour that results if it is vacuum-sealed
and deprived of oxygen.
I like to look for new products, says
Raphael. Sometimes I go to the market
with the product purchaser to find
interesting seasonal ingredients.
One of the most unique ingredients on
his list is bottarga a salted, cured fish roe
from Italy. The chef also tries to order local
whenever possible; his mozzarella and

burrata comes from Pizza 4Ps, who make


their own cheeses in Dalat.
When the deliveries stop coming,
Raphael heads to his office that he
shares with the other chefs to do his
more mundane, yet necessary, tasks;
paperwork. Luckily, Raphaels culinary
school in Lyon was focused more on food
than administration, but a year of F&B
management training prepared him to deal
with this side of the business, too.
The JW Marriott culinary team consists
of 140 chefs and 29 stewards. There was
a learning curve for Raphaels team,
but after two and a half years together,
theyve become a well-oiled machine, and
Raphael a happy chef. He describes it as
a team sport, with each person having an
important role.

Roo n Shiraz

After his paperwork, Chef Raphael heads


to the kitchen. Today, he is sharing one of
his new dishes with us: Kanga Banga, a

kangaroo, shiraz and rosemary sausage,


served with beetroot and goat cheese.
Last year, some of the chefs Australian
patrons asked if the French Grill could do
something for Australia Day, and whats
more Aussie than kangaroo? With his affinity
for sausage-making, he decided to challenge
himself to create a sausage with kangaroo
meat.
The recipe consists of kangaroo meat,
lamb fat, Australian shiraz, rosemary, salt
and the kitchens own mix of white, black,
pink and green pepper, roasted in-house.
The chef uses a hand grinder to mix the
meat, since the electric grinder is not big
enough.
This process takes him a good 20 to
30 minutes for 3kg of meat, and a lot of
elbow grease. He then stuffs this mixture
into washed and salted pork entrails. The
sausage is cooked for around 10 minutes.
Chef Raphael plates freely, no specific
design in mind, just following the
compositional rule of odds, and adding

garnish intuitively; a piece of beetroot here, a


bit of green and radish there. He adds a few
drops of beetroot coulis, and then finally, the
goat cheese is delicately crumbled on top.
The result is a verdant plate of green and
red, with touches of white. Australian cuisine
is relaxed, says Raphael, and its a bit like a
deconstructed Australian BBQ with salad.
At 1.30pm, the chefs team arrives, and
Raphael holds a quick meeting to brief them
on the day ahead. Then the whole team
heads to the kitchen to begin their prep
work.
Later that afternoon, Chef Raphaels family
comes by to surprise him. Clement, Raphaels
one-year-old son, is at home in his dads
restaurant: today Chef Raphael has some time
to spend with his son, and show him the ropes
of his job. Raphael is also a talented musician
and will often let loose his hidden talent,
busting out a few melodies on the piano.
At 6pm, service starts. The kitchen opens
and the show begins. I let myself out discreetly,
so the chefs can do what they do best.

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The Invention
of Pho Cuon
When a particular type of spring roll exploded on the Hanoi streetfood scene,
many people claimed or were claimed to be its inventor. Billy Gray goes in
search of the source of pho cuon. Photos by Trung Del
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ander amongst the narrow


streets of Ngu Xa Village
and you'll soon discover the
warm smell of sizzling beef
being wrapped into bite-size rolls with
vegetables, accompanied bya notoriously
tasty dip made of fish sauce, garlic, chilli
and herbs a dish synonymous to the
area surrounding Truc Bach Lake; pho cuon.
According to urban legend, the springroll like pho cuon was invented one summer
night 10 years ago, in a pho restaurant in
Ngu Xa village. Around a table littered
with empty beer bottles, some customers
were drinking late into the night watching a
football match on TV and asked the owner
for some food. When the owner realised
shed run out of broth, she decided to
see what she could put together with the
remaining ingredients and using uncut
pho noodles as rice paper, just like that that,
pho cuon was born.
We spent the afternoon in Ngu Xa village
talking to some restaurant owners, and
chowing down on the tasty pho rolls.

Wrapping up the Myths

We began our search at Chinh Thang


Restaurant, home of 61-year-old Vu Thi
Chinh. Mrs Chinh is widely considered to be
the inventor of pho cuon and we were eager
to hear her side of the story.
I had a lot of regular customers who
would complain that it was too hot for a
steaming bowl of noodle soup. I would try
this recipe or that, get some feedback and
eventually people turned all the way to pho
cuon that was in 2000.
We ask her about late night revellers and
running out of broth. She smiles: That story
is not true. Maybe some restaurants when
they ran out of broth tried to copy pho cuon.
As we set off to leave, Mrs Chinh motions

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to a picture hanging from the wall in her store


front. Its of her holding an award in front of
her shop. She proudly explains that shes been
on national television three times to talk about
pho cuon: The people in other cities heard
about it back then and they were interested.
What is pho cuon? they would ask?
Since then she has built a loyal following
around the world. Mrs Chinh lights up
as she recalls: I have customers from
Australia, Japan, Thailand, and they come
by whenever they visit Hanoi one of them
drew me this picture, she says, revealing a
sketch of her cooking the meal in the back of
her restaurant. He was from the US.

Not So Special After All

Hearing the supposed inventors humble


side of the story, we then set further into our
investigation and spoke with some of the
other restaurant owners in the area.
Hung Ben, whose restaurant is around
the corner from Chinh Thang explains that:
Before, there was a lady in this area who
showed me the same thing. Hung goes on
to explain the very same version of the pho
cuon yarn that wed heard about before. It
seems that this dish was around in one form
or another before its incarnation on the TV
screen.
However long pho cuon has been around,
it appears we will never really know for
sure. It could be said that a dish as simple as
this one must have been made in some form
or another for many years as Mrs Chinh
decided back in 2000, its just not logical to
be eating a steaming bowl of noodles in the
height of summer.
How many times have you put something
together with those obscure leftover
ingredients and later discovered theres a
name for it? Pho cuon is just another logical
step in the evolution of Vietnamese cuisine.

his is the second time Ive been to


Banh Mi Bay, in Londons Holborn
area. And its the second time
Ive sat in this contemporary yet
traditional banh mi caf with a glass of caf
sua da in hand. Its not Vietnam. But swap
out the environment and the location,
and the senses on the palate are identical.
From 15 years ago when something that
roughly equated to Vietnamese fare
was cooked up by Chinese immigrants
from Saigons Cho Lon, to today, where
the taste is authentic, Vietnamese cuisine
in London has come on leaps and
gastronomic bounds.
Sat opposite me is Tra Vinh-born Phan Thi
Anh Loan. Besides being the woman behind
Banh Mi Bay, she also holds another accolade
Loan was responsible for bringing the
Vietnamese baguette to the UK.
Arriving in England as a refugee when
she was just a few months old, the business
studies graduate and former business
analyst was brought up in Camberwell in
south London. But yearning to leave the
world of corporate business, 10 years ago
she set up her first caf in Camberwell.
I just wanted a change of lifestyle,
recalls Loan. I was looking for different
things to do. But the main reason was
because during that time there wasnt
anywhere you could go and buy a banh mi.
You had to make it at home. It takes hours to
cook and marinate the meats, and prep all of
your vegetables, and it just seemed a lot of
effort for a few banh mi.
What finally convinced her were trips to
Paris, where there were a few Vietnamese
shops selling really good baguettes. So,
setting up in South London, and baking the
banh mi in house as well as making xa xiu
(barbecued pork), pate and do chua (pickled
vegetables) on site, Loan was the first person
to bring banh mi to the UK.
The resulting baguette is twice the size of
its Vietnamese namesake, but beyond that,
says Loan, the only difference is that we use
organic flour and a western flour improver
rather than a Vietnamese one, just so it meets
the standards here.

Banh Mi for the People

With any new business there is an


unforeseen set of challenges. Yet for Loan,
selling the concept of banh mi to the British
market was the easy part.
There are a lot of international people
living in the UK and people are openminded, she explains. Theres also a lot of
international travel and Vietnam is a really
popular destination. So, people knew about
banh mi already. Its just they werent able to
enjoy it because it wasnt there in London.
Rather, it was managing staff, health
and safety and just things that I hadnt
experienced before that she found tough.
In addition, customers from all over London
began frequenting the caf, imploring her to
set up in town or in other parts of the city
despite its proximity to Brixton, Camberwell
is not a location accessible to most people in
London.

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Banh Mi Bay
Slammed at lunchtime and busy at night, Phan Thi Anh Loans caf, Banh Mi Bay,
is the best known banh mi outlet in London. It also brought the Vietnamese
baguette to the UK. Words by Nick Ross

So after three years she sold the business and opened up in Holborn,
a short walk from the British Museum. Since then shes started a second
caf in St. Pauls, right in town, as well as a take-out banh mi joint in
Fitzrovia near Oxford Street.
Yet its not just banh mi that Loan is selling, but a selection of nice,
easy, typical Vietnamese dishes such as spring rolls, banh canh, pho,
bun thit nuong and chicken curry. For the UK, prices are reasonable,
too. Selling at 6 (VND185,000) a go for the banh mi if you eat in-house
(takeaway is cheaper), the other Vietnamese fare weighs in at around
the 7.50 (VND230,000) mark. Add to this a range of weekly specials,
where customers can try dishes from different regions of Vietnam,
this is tasty, home-style Vietnamese fare served up in a casual yet
contemporary setting.
Yet, as Vietnamese cuisine has become more popular and been inducted
into the mainstream, a new factor has entered the market; competition.
Because were so successful, it attracts other competitors, says
Loan. So, we have new entrants in the market and we have to compete
with them as well.

The key, she explains, is to introduce new products Loan does this
twice a year and to concentrate on quality. She adds: In London, the
service has to be good as well.

Obsessed with Coffee

My coffee is finished and Im hankering for another glass, but Ive


already gone through two caf sua da. My heads starting to spin. As we
chat, Loan mentions that what Ive just drunk is their own, branded
coffee.
We actually own the Saigon Coffee Company, and we supply this to
other restaurants as well.
She adds: Its not a major business for us, but its something that we
have a real passion for. Its very typical of Vietnamese culture and its
just ingrained in how we were raised as well. When we were kids my
mum used to make us iced coffee.
Despite having grown up in the UK, when it comes to her roots, there
are some things that Loan just cant get out of her blood. One of them is
banh mi, and the other, naturally, is coffee.

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A Day in the Life


of a Street Vendor
Carrying two baskets over her shoulder, Van is a mobile street vendor. Vu Ha Kim Vy and
Bao Zoan spend a day with this purveyor of banh trang tron

an makes her living off the street,


struggling to put food on the table
in the name of her family. Doing
so means selling a range of snacks
from the recesses of her basket, but her key
dish is banh trang tron, cut up rice paper
mixed with mango, dried beef, quail eggs,

11am.
Van leaves home to start her
normal working day

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dried shrimp, dried squid and chilli.


To make ends meet means carrying 40kg
baskets from 11am to 11pm around the streets
of downtown Saigon. These baskets have
been her only source of income for more than
20 years for her four children and a husband
back home in Binh Dinh. It's tough, its

tiring, but it works. Her oldest child is now


a second-year student taking Environmental
Studies at university in Quy Nhon.
Vans only wish is that she will be able to
carry these baskets to feed her children until
her youngest child, who is now in Grade 7,
gets to college.

11.18am.
She gets the first customer. The young
lady orders one bag of banh trang tron
with lots of chilli

11.23am.
Making the dish takes time five minutes.
Van ties the handles of the banh trang tron
bag together and hands it to the customer

11.45am.
Another order. Van prepares
to cut up the rice paper

11.46am.
She adds kumquat juice...

11.47am.
and two quail eggs to the mixture

12.12am.
Van stays a bit longer at her first spot to
wait for her next client. Her baskets
are still laden with snacks

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1pm.
Time to move on. Van heads to
Nguyen Thai Hoc in District 1 in
search of more customers

1.18pm.
Van settles in a new spot. She has a lot of
regulars who know where shell be set up
at any given time of the day

8.48pm.
Its now evening and after a day on the
streets in a dozen different places,
Van reaches Co Giang. Shes made
a fair amount of sales and her
baskets are less heavy

9.38pm.
Van sells another portion of banh trang tron.
The young customer wants to have more
dried squid and less mango

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10.22pm.
Its getting late. Van moves to her final pitch
hoping for a few last minute sales

11.02pm.
Will a few more clients will show up?
Van waits. Ten more minutes

10.45pm.
Van waits for more clients. Her baskets
are much lighter now as she has sold
quite a lot banh trang tron as well
as a range of other snacks

11.12pm.
Shes had enough. Its been another long day
and she throws in the towel. Van starts heading
home. The consolation of spending 12 hours on the
streets is that her baskets are now much lighter
than when she started out

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Insider

Graffiti and street art have become a


commercial phenomenon. Its now socially
and commercially accepted. Back in London,
its still very gangsterish

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INSIDER

HANOI

A street artist crew is decorating the streets of Hanoi, to good effect.


Words by Jesse Meadows. Photos by Julie Vola

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1. Mate Two 2. Alfie 3. Mudrock 4. Phed

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ack home, youre expected


to paint certain things.
Here, theres not a mature
movement. Ive found
the freedom to paint what I want, says
Matthew phed James, a 44-year-old street
artist from London. He came to Hanoi
on a whim with an English-teaching
girlfriend, and stayed because hed found
a place that wanted to pay him for his art,
and a team of artists to make it with.
That crew is Mau Colour, made up of
29-year-old Sam (aka Mudrok) and 25-yearold Mate Two of England, and 25-yearold Alfie (aka ETZA) from Edinburgh. In
Hanois small-yet-burgeoning scene of street
artists, it didnt take long for the guys to
team up, combining their painting, graphic
design and illustration skills to tackle both
personal and commercial projects together.
Theres so much work. It just seems to
keep coming, says Sam.
Graffiti and street art have become a
commercial phenomenon. Its now socially
and commercially accepted. Back in London,
its still very gangsterish, Matthew says.
Yeah, youre painting, and someone will
pull up in a car and jump out, adds Sam.

Intriguing
This territorial aggression doesnt yet exist
in Hanoi, where the concept of street art
is still relatively new, and the spray can is

more closely associated with motorbike


paint jobs than graffiti on a wall. When the
team goes out to paint, they often attract an
older crowd with not much to do but sit and
watch for hours.
Theyre literally watching you really
close up. Theyve never seen a spray can
used artistically, so theyre intrigued, says
Matthew.
Sometimes, when the police are called, the
residents of a neighbourhood will vote, by
a show of hands, on whether or not a piece
can stay.
Here, it hasnt started as a plague with
evil connotations like in Europe and America,
where originally, it was sort of criminal.
They dont quite get it, the residents and the
police, and I dont think theyve actually got
a charge [for it], he says.
My friend who lives in Danang has a
Vietnamese wife, and shes saved a message
in his phone in Vietnamese that says, Can
I paint on your house? Well do it for free,
and people say Yeah, go for it, Alfie says.

This territorial
aggression
doesnt yet exist
in Hanoi, where
the concept of
street art is still
relatively new,
and the spray can
is more closely
associated with
motorbike paint
jobs than graffiti
on a wall

Loaded
Of course, the crew must be culturally
sensitive. No painting on government
buildings or pagodas, and definitely no
loaded imagery, like political figures or naked
women. Even the image of an eye can be
taboo the group has a mural on Dang Thai
Mai where locals repeatedly paint over the

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eyes of their characters out of superstition.


The public may just be pleasantly amused
by Mau Colours work, but businesses
are seeing the value in it. The groups
first big commission was the interior of
new megaclub 1900 on Ta Hien in the Old
Quarter, and they recently finished the
longest mural in Vietnam on the temporary
wall around a new international retail
development in Yen So Park.
We broke it down into 70-metre sections,
so theres Japanese, Vietnamese, American,
Korean. It was all relating to the culture and
nationality of the businesses there, says
Sam. In total, the mural covers 400 metres.
With art going out and money coming in,
the group sees another kind of opportunity
for their work. Id like to have an area
where we can do [regular] workshops with
kids. You can actually teach quite a lot of life
skills through art, says Matthew.
The mother of one of his students recently
pulled him aside. She said, That workshop
made such a difference. My son now looks at
the world in a different way. Thats the sort
of lightbulb moment that I love.
For more info, click on maucolour.wordpress.
com or email mau.colour@gmail.com

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Insider

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INSIDER

NATIONAL

The Latin Underground


Salsa is not new to Vietnam its been here for almost a decade. But now
this much-loved dance form is huge. Words by Emily Petsko and Sin
Kavanagh. Photos by Julie Vola and Rodney Hughes

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allroom dancing has traditionally


been the most popular form of
recreational dance in Vietnam, but
salsa is shimmying its way into
parks, bars and studios in this countrys
biggest cities.
Now, if you look in the right places in
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, you can find
crowded rooms with couples spinning
and swaying in tandem, their movements
radiating heat and passion for a dance
transported from far-away continents.

Saigon
There is a social salsa evening every day in
Saigon, with some venues offering a crash
course in the basic steps, so you can fake
it until you make it. The salsa community
is organised by a host of people connected
to the five various salsa studios, and social
coordinators through the online presence
via the Facebook Salsa Saigon group.
Will Knight, who organises Salsateka
UK with his partner Marta Bartosz, says:
In Vietnam there is a strong culture of
family importance that translates to the salsa
community and people really respect that.
Theres friendly competition between us, but
ultimately were a family and its all about
supporting each other.
On Mondays and Thursdays there are
salsa and bachata nights at Cuba La Casa
Del Mojito (91 Pasteur, Q1), on Tuesdays
salsa is at The ZFloor (2 Ho Xuan Huong,
Q3), Wednesday salsa is hosted by La
Fenetre Soleil (44 Ly Tu Truong, Q1),
Thursday night at Hard Rock Cafe (39
Le Duan, Q1), Saturday is hosted by La
Salsa, the oldest salsa club in HCMC, at
their studio (212-214 Nguyen Dinh Chieu,
Q3), and Sunday rounds off the week with
Mexican vibes at Khoi Thom (29 Ngo Thoi
Nhiem, Q3).
Salsa dancing shares similarities
with driving in Saigon; both demand a
synchronized chaos from everyone involved,
a long-lasting adrenaline rush, and youll
probably end the night sweatier than you
ever imagined possible.
Saigon-style salsa is still in its early stages
comparative to other communities across
the globe but it is certainly distinctive. As
so many different styles are taught such
as Cuban, LA, West Coast and New York,
the Saigon scene has a healthy mix of
combinations and crossovers. The dancers
in the room may seem intimidating at
first but the community is brimming with
passion and enthusiastic to embrace newcomers with open arms both literally
and figuratively.
Many dancers have faced negativity from
their friends and family after they have
started dancing on the salsa scene. Owner
of XSalsa and DJ, Luong Thien Chuong,
says: At first my parents didnt support
me, because I quit my job to start XSalsa
back in 2006, but when they see I have full
classes theyre impressed, and Ive met a lot
of good people.
Some of this negativity surrounds the

94 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

fact that many social nights are hosted in


bars and clubs where non-dancers normally
go to drink, but that is not quite the case
within the salsa dancing scene.
Most people salsa dancing dont
drink alcohol not what people
assume, remarks Will Knight. Theres
an assumption that to dance with the
passion we have there must be substances
involved, but serious salseros only drink
water. The bars dont make much money
from us at all.
Friends and family of the dancers have
changed their minds after seeing their
dancers in action. Nguyen Trong Khoi of
M.A.N. Mambo remembers when he first
started dancing.

I introduced many friends to the salsa


scene, at first they didnt understand it
and had negative opinions about dancing,
but now some of them have even become
regulars, he says.
Many voices within the social
salsa dancing scene have expressed
disappointment at the new restrictions on
Nguyen Hue pedestrian street in District
1 that will directly impact the community.
One dancer commented: [Nguyen Hue]
offered great exposure from the salsa
community to people who normally would
never see that style of dance before, and it
gave us a free place to dance.
The restrictions come as a response to
activity on Nguyen Hue which has become

a frequent spot for people to gather, play


music, eat food, dance, skate and socialise
without the drinking pressures of being at a
bar or pub, or pressure to pay for food in a
restaurant.
It is a shame that the salseros are losing a
free, public venue to showcase their talents,
but that wont stop them from getting
together for hours a week to develop their
art form.
The salsa community here reflects what
this city has to offer; friendship, liberty, fun
and warmth, says Nicole Nguyen, a salsera
from Hanoi who has been dancing for three
years. What sets Saigon style apart is the
freedom and passion [from] the people and
the vibe in here.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 95

Hanoi
Hanoi may not be as hot as Saigon, but
you wouldnt know the difference on the
dance floor. A different salsa party rages
every night in the capital; Tuesdays at S-Fire
Studio (19 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan),
Thursdays at Spring Salsa (22 Ho Giam,
Dong Da), Saturdays at The Artists (20 Hang
Tre, Hoan Kiem), and La Bomba Bar for
every other day of the week (46 Ngo Huyen,
Hoan Kiem). Many salsa devotees know and
follow the schedule dutifully.
But the most popular and packed salsa
nights are held every Friday evening at Beso
Latino, located in the same building as The
Artists.
Marika Vilisaar, who goes to salsa parties
up to five days per week, is a regular there.
Its like Alice in Wonderland, she says
of the atmosphere at Beso Latino. You go
to the elevator and then the elevator door
opens and a totally different world opens
up. It has a really beautiful vibe, people
are dancing amazingly. They just enjoy the
moment and thats what I love about it.
Encouraged by the large turnout, the
studio opened a second salsa party on
Saturday afternoons.
Do Sao Mai, the spunky, short-haired
owner of Beso Latino, remembers the
date well; Sep. 4, 2004. It was perhaps the
first time Hanoi held a social salsa event,
organised by the vice-ambassador of the
Swiss embassy. Sao Mai had never seen

96 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

anything like it and was mesmerised.


Despite describing herself as
uncoordinated, she decided to enter a
salsa competition that was being held the
following year. She and her partner learnt
the moves through YouTube. It was rote
memorisation rather than learning the
leading and following intricacies of salsa,
but it was enough. They won.
After taking professional lessons and
earning their stripes, they began giving
lessons for VND5,000 per person just
enough to pay the rent, Sao Mai says. They
aimed to popularise salsa, even if it meant
working for next to nothing.
It wasnt until many years later that she
decided to make it a full-time career. Despite
facing pressure from her parents, who used
to think dancing was a waste of time, and
from her then-husband, who persuaded her
to stop dancing for two years, she quit her
high-up position in a Vietnamese company
and founded Beso Latino in 2014. She works
alongside her original dance partner and
also her new husband, whom she met,
naturally, through salsa dancing.
They hold classes every day, and teach
about 400 students in the Los Angeles
style, which is most popular in Hanoi.
Now, many Vietnamese are switching from
ballroom dancing to salsa because its a more
flexible dance that doesnt require strict
memorisation of the moves. Its also more
exciting as a social activity.

If you dance with the same person over


and over again, you get bored, she says.
But if you dance with a new guy and
you follow him, its a different chemistry
between different people. Thats why salsa is
so addictive because its a different reaction
every dance. No dance is the same.
This cant-get-enough attitude has
enabled other establishments to attract
customers by hosting salsa events. The
Artists Jazz Corner is the only place in the
city that serves up live Latin music and a
dance floor for salsa parties, which have
been held regularly for the past two months.
For our salsa party last week, some
friends who are Cuban professional
dancers who were in Vietnam for the
Latin Professional Dancing Festival came
by our pub, says owner Tran Khue Anh.
When the music started, it blew their
minds. They were surprised that Vietnam
has a professional Latin band played by
Vietnamese.
However, The Artists is the exception
rather than the rule. Sao Mai says
Vietnamese tend to prefer dancing in a
comfortable atmosphere like a studio, and
few bars are willing to host salsa nights
because they dont profit much from serious
dancers who only drink water.
Apart from the sensuality and glamour,
the endorphin rush is what keeps salsa
dancers chasing the next dance floor, next
partner and the next beat.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 97

Insider
INSIDER

HCMC

Saigon Pool Tour


During a hot month, Jon Aspin set himself a challenge; visit as many hotel pools as he
could in one day. It wasnt easy, but somebody had to do it. Photos by Rodney Hughes
Sofitel Saigon Plaza
19th Floor, 17 Le Duan, Q1
6.47am

Youve got to get out of bed early if


you want to achieve greatness

eemingly perched on top of this city,


the Sofitel rooftop pool delivers a view
of District 1 that is the envy of others.
The elliptical shape of the 15m shallow
pool is itself relaxing, and is surrounded
on all sides by loungers that despite the
early hour of our visit, were being used
by guests. Chilled tunes add to the breezy
vibe, transporting you quickly to a place
where all things seem possible, and where
your life is going well.
I got my first few laps of the day in, and
thought about what the poor people were
doing down below. Actually, thats not true,
but it is something my dad used to say when
confronted with such sublime conditions,
and it seems appropriately inappropriate
here. One down, six to go. Kudos on the
bar, the outdoor table settings and the type
of all-day service youd expect from a place
like this.
Swimmability: 4 stars
Ambience & View: 4.5 stars
Amenities: 3.5 stars
Access: Book a room or join the gym, otherwise
in house guests only 6am to 10pm

98 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

ith no rules other than to


experience as many hotel pools
as I could in one day, I managed
to swim in seven of them. Thats
a lot. Only one was strictly for in-house
guests, and another requires a membership,
but that doesnt mean they arent worth
writing about. The rest are available at a price
to anyone, so I offer you this incomplete

guide to some of the best pools in Saigon. Ive


tried to be fair in my appraisal of each, and
given them a star rating across categories Ive
invented called swimmability, ambience
and view, amenities and access.
There are many more pools of course, and
a few of them are listed at the end of this
piece, so Id also recommend trying them.
Feel free to let us know what you think.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 99

Social Club Hotel des Arts


76-78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1
8.22am

Very hashtag-able

n the softer morning light of Saigon,


the infinity pool on the top floor of the
boutique Hotel des Arts is Instagram
gold. It offers the most expansive view of
the city of all the pools I visited, and the
edge of the world effect is impressive.
On a clear day like we had, I doubt theres
a better place to see how far the urban
sprawl of Saigon really goes.
At about 12m long, its only just big
enough if youre keen to get some laps
in, but if youre not Michael Phelps, for
breast-stroking away last nights excesses,
or simply cooling off, this pool is close to
perfect.
The swim-up bar adds potential, and
would be a nice feature if you were looking
to make a day of it. Unfortunately its only
open at night, and the pool is for in-house
guests only, so youll have to book a room to
make that happen.
In terms of other amenities, space is at
a premium. This means sun-loungers are
limited and there are no actual changing
rooms, but again, if youve done the right
thing and booked a stay, you neednt have to
worry about this.
Swimmability: 4 stars
Ambience & View: 5 stars
Amenities: 3 stars
Access: Book a room! Open only for guests 6am
to 10pm

100 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Caravelle Saigon
7th Floor, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1
10.37am

And oft thine did go to Caravelle, my lord

his is a well-known daytime retreat for


expats and locals alike. Nicely secluded
amongst a well-established roof garden,
the large free-form pool is available to
anyone prepared to front the VND500,000
ticket. This will get you all-day access to
the gym, pool and first-class changing
facilities, which include a spa, sauna and
steam room.
At a healthy 20m in length, its more than
enough to get your swim on, and while its
a long way from rush hour on Vo Thi Sau,
many of the regulars do, so dont expect to
be alone. The pool includes a shallow zone
where families hang out, and a bubble-bath
alcove to float around in.
The always-staffed cabana bar is open
until 9pm, and there are plenty of shaded
loungers at both ends of the deck to chill out
on. The prices here reflect the hotels fivestar rating, but for this type of luxury in the
city, the extra spend is well worth it.
Swimmability: 4.5 stars
View & Ambience: 4 stars
Amenities: 5 stars
Access: Open to the public 6am to 10pm
(VND500,000 day rate)

Park Hyatt
3rd Floor, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1
12.48pm

When in Rome

ooking like something Caesar himself


would have been proud to take a bath
in, this large, square pool is very VIP.
Set in an opulent garden, complete with
intimate table settings, its no surprise that
this is the most expensive of the pools we
visited; VND1.2million for half-day access
means walk-ins are kept to a minimum.
However, the amenities at your disposal are
definitely what you pay for.
Bar service and food are easily at hand,
too, so if you can afford it, and are looking to
impress your best friend, this could well be
the private getaway for you just dont try
climbing the cascading water feature, it does
tend to make the staff nervous.
Swimmability: 3.5 stars
View & Ambience: 4 stars
Amenities: 5 stars
Access: Open to the public (VND1.2 million) for
a half day, 6am to 8pm

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 101

Pullman Hotel
6th Floor, 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1
2.43pm

Other peoples leisure is my pleasure

ith the afternoon heat in full force,


this was possibly the best pool we
went to for anyone who just wants to get
their head down and swim. At a good
20m long, and about two-and-a-half
Olympic lanes wide, this pool is great for
those combining their stay in town with a
regular fitness routine.
Having said that, its not a bad spot to
relax either, and makes the best use of the
available space. With enough loungers to
keep guests and visitors happy, you do

get that rooftop feel, even though youre


only six floors up. Open to the public for
VND360,000, that also includes a handy
indoor juice bar, gym and gender separate
spa and sauna, with a standard of changing
facilities youd expect from a chain like
Pullman.
The mixed international crowd also
seemed ready to mingle, so youd be hard
pressed to find better value from our list.
Just remember to bring a good pair of flipflops or sandals those tiles around the
pool can get hot.
Swimmability: 3.5 stars
View & Ambience: 3.5 stars
Amenities: 3.5 stars
Access: Open to the public for VND360,000,
6am to 10pm

Renaissance Riverside Hotel


22nd Floor, 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1
4.24pm

We like to party

his pool is strictly for the paddlers


among us, though that wont stop
the odd noob from donning the cap and
goggles. Truly a rooftop pool, and now a
centrepiece of the hotels Liquid Sky Bar,
its the location we went to that seemed
most willing to get the party started. With
a bar barely five feet away from its edge,
its not uncommon for revelers to end
up in the water on a big night out at this
venue. Ive seen it happen myself.

102 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The recliners were busy with a full


complement of sun worshippers when we
were there, and the riverside view you get
is unique. The mix of hotel guests can also
make for some interesting viewing, as was
the case on our visit, when we bore witness
to some pretty interesting variations on what
constitutes a modest swimming outfit. Its
open to the public at VND300,000, but youre
more likely to come here on a night out, so
if you do, my advice is to dive in and enjoy.
The drinks are some of the best in town, too.
Swimmability: 3 stars
View & Ambience: 4 stars
Amenities: 4 stars
Access: Open to the public for VND300,000,
6am to late

The Rex Hotel


Top Floor, 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1
5.42pm

Get in.

s the light faded around us, this was as


good a place as any to finish the tour.
This five-star hotels rooftop pool is iconic,
worthy of your attention and something
that will no doubt continue to stand the
test of time.
There are in fact two pools at the Rex, the
lower deck tear drop is an often lively family
fun area close to the bar and gym, and the
second tier is a more sedate lapper, that
has you eyeball to eyeball with the Bitexco
Tower.
For VND200,000 the Rex is a great place
to wind up your weekend, and while the
amenities arent new, they are more than
getting the job done at this famous suntrap. Loungers are in plentiful supply but
with service and a drinks list like this, its
no surprise that it remains popular even
with long-term expats keen to soak up the
afternoon rays.
Swimmability: 3.5 stars
View & Ambience: 4 stars
Amenities: 3.5 stars
Access: Open to the public for about
VND160,000 (US$7), 6am to 10pm

Dont Forget
The swimming pools not mentioned in this
article but certainly worth consideration
include the N EW W ORLD H OTEL ,
Q1 , T HE E QUATORIAL , Q5 and T HE
I NTERCONTINENTAL A SIANA , Q1 . Wed
like to thank all of the participating venues
for their kind hospitality and gracious
acceptance of our request to shoot their
pools.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 103

Food and Drink


MYSTERY DINER

HANOI

Gastro:
Food and Beer Pub
Theres a restaurant and pub in town serving, yes, you guessed it,
cuisine from the UK. Naturally our mystery diner had to check it
out. Heres the verdict. Photos by Trung Del

hen turning onto Hang Non,


Gastro Food and Beer is the
place to go for British cuisine
that you wont find anywhere
else in Hanoi. A small door takes you
into a dark and somewhat dingy-looking
corridor that leads to a metal staircase
the kind youd expect to find on a
container ship. My friend hobbles up the
stairs, determined to work off her recent
motorbike accident.
Once inside were greeted by smiling
staff and a neat looking room with nostalgic
British-style dcor postcard-like murals
of the classic double-decker bus and Big
Ben are painted on the walls overlooking
wooden tables decorated with flowers and
little ornaments. At the back of the room
is an open doorway to the bar, and stools
looking out to the busy streets of the Old
Quarter.
My friend and I decide to sit out the back,
near the bar and overlooking the bustling
streets outside. We take up two chairs

104 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

barstools with heavy cast iron frames


and ordered some locally brewed light ales
served in proper curved pint glasses. The
food menu is easy to read, arranged into clear
categories, each with half a dozen options;
starters and pub grub, proper mains, veggie
and salads, proper sandwiches and so on. I
can imagine the British Embassy was over the
moon when they heard about it.

Battered
Feeling a little sentimental since leaving the
UK six months ago, I settle on a plate full
of fond memories; battered fish and chips,
with mushy peas and tartar sauce, for a
reasonable VND175,000. My friend orders
the roasted beetroot salad, and crab spring
rolls to share.
The crab spring rolls arrive first. At
VND95,000 its a decent-sized portion with
noodles and salad on the side accompanied
by a flavoursome soy sauce-based dip.
Next out is the beetroot salad (VND85,000),
another generous portion, of fresh beetroot,

croutons, salad and dressing. The salad


is well presented and hits the spot for
vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Saving the best to last, out comes the
fish and chips. Served on a wooden slab,
the freshwater fish is a local selection
cod being far too expensive to import into
Vietnam. The fish is meaty, full of flavour
and battered in a way that would make any
English seafront restaurant a little jealous.
The chips are fat and crispy and the mushy
peas are thick, with a creamy texture.
A waitress was there on cue to check if
we needed anything and we left with the
clear impression that the whole staff of the
restaurant are genuinely passionate about
the service that they provide.
As a Brit with a palate for all things
battered and gravy, Im glad that theres
somewhere in Hanoi that cooks up British
cuisine to a high standard and at reasonable
prices.
Gastro: Food and Beer Pub is located at 20
Hang Non, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

THE VERDICT

13
FOOD

14

SERVICE

12
DCOR

Food, Decor and


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

Food and Drink

106 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

STREET SNACKER

HANOI

Bun Oc Co Hue

Vietnam has an obsession with eating snails. And one dish that
leaves a long, glistening trail is snails with rice noodle soup.
Words by Huyen Tran. Photos by Julie Vola

hile local people deem snails


to be as much of a staple as
chicken, beef or fish, for many
non-Gallic expats, the reaction
is simply Eww!
Some common reasons are because
of its texture or food poisoning risks.
Admittedly, Vietnamese people do not treat
snails with the care the French do, yet they
love eating them. I once remember someone
writing, All street foods are chancy in terms
of food poisoning. So if you can overcome
any negative feelings you may have about
snails, you wont be disappointed.
Vietnamese snails come from both
saltwater and freshwater sources. Most
of the snails people sell around Hanoi are
freshwater, culled from paddy fields or
ponds in villages in the north.
Hanois signature recipes with these kind
of snails are boiled snails or oc luoc and snail
noodle soup or bun oc. While eating oc luoc
is one of Hanois most popular culinary
pastimes, bun oc is one of the citys staples,
much like bun ca or bun rieu.

Seasonal Medley
Bun oc Hanoi is a medley of snails and
noodles, served in a tangy and slightly
spicy soup, with a mix of local fresh herbs.
Lighter, and just as good as bun rieu, bun oc
in Hanoi is ubiquitous. While people eat bun

oc in winter or autumn to warm up the body,


it works equally well for springtime or a
summer lunch treat thanks to its lightness.
Of all the small streetside bun oc eateries,
Bun Oc Co Hue is the one not to be missed.
Originally the creation of a bun oc peddler
working an alley on Nha Chung after
two decades in its original location the stall
recently relocated to a small space on Dang
Dung in an area surrounded by second-hand
phone shops.
Instead of offering bun oc paired with any
type of meat or deep-fried tofu like some other
stalls, the eatery sticks to basic bun oc, literally
snails with noodles and a snail-based broth.
Bun Oc Co Hue is particularly well known
for its delightful and gently spicy broth.
The broth here has a moderate sourness, a
piquant yet pleasant taste, and added to this
already complex flavour is their excellent
homemade dried chilli for diners who love
the spice.

Mint Condition
Like many other traditional bun oc eateries,
Bun Oc Co Hue serves the dish in two styles;
bun oc nong or snail noodles in hot broth
and bun oc nguoi, in cool broth. While the
first version can burn the tongue, the cool
serving, which is eaten by dipping small
noodle pieces into the cool broth, is Hanois
favourite dish during the summer, thanks to

its lightness and pleasant taste.


The snail flesh itself is another plus as the
cooks here carefully select the fat, mediumsized and yellow-shelled snails. It is these
chewy snails that make local people love
the dish.
We bring the fresh snails from paddy
fields in Hai Duong to the city every day,
the owners daughter says. The snails are
carefully soaked in water derived from rice
washing for one to two days to make them
clean enough to eat.
Snails are always accompanied by fresh
tomato, cut into pieces and put on top of
the big heating broth pan. Other important
ingredients in bun oc are a variety of fresh
vegetables and herbs; lettuce, coriander,
cockscomb mint, perilla mint, knotweed
and basil.
A social dish, the casual way of eating
bun oc on the street seems to contribute
to its flavour and uniqueness. This may
also explain why the snails, a countryside
ingredient, come all the way from rural
waterways to another type of thoroughfare,
the street. With the right ingredients added
they become a key component of one of the
best loved dishes in Hanoi.
Bun Oc Co Hue is located at 16 Dang
Dung, Ba Dinh. A bowl of bun oc ranges from
VND25,000 to VND35,000. The eatery is closed
on the 1st and 15th of every lunar month

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 107

Food and Drink


MYSTERY DINER

HCMC

Sushi Hokkaido Sachi


Mixing Western cuisine with Japanese, our mystery diner heads to Dong Du for a date
with Sushi Hokkaido Sachi and their outstanding foie gras. Photos by Bao Zoan

ne of the more amazing traits


of modern Japanese cuisine is
how they have adopted fusion,
adapting from and to nearly
every culture they encounter. From wagyu
beef tataki rolls to sashimi to grilled beef
with leeks to udon Bolognaise, sushi style
in particular has enfolded the prestige
cuisines of Europe. Even wilder fusion
places exist, daring explorers of the
globes ingredients and flavours.
Sushi Hokkaido Sachi toes these lines; a
semi-traditional sushi place in Ho Chi Minh
City with a restrained but excellent selection
of Western foodstuffs in full Japanese dress.
Neither modern nor traditional, they display
flashes of brilliance atop a foundation of
fresh ingredients, creative presentation and
strong service.
That said, the difference between
their winning dishes and their role
foods was striking. My date and I order
sushi conservatively: salmon and tuna;
occasionally oysters, octopus or yellowtail;
occasionally Western-derived dishes.

108 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Conservative Orders from a


Moderate Menu
Our order at Sushi Hokkaido Sachi
followed this pattern green tea
(VND15,000) and misoshiru soup for two
(VND15,000 each.) My girlfriend stayed
true to her chawanmushi (VND35,000) from
which I always steal a bite or three. The
soup tasted fine, a touch salty, but the
chawanmushi was a dream of cloud-soft
eggs and delicate sea flavours braced by
powdered red pepper.
The next courses arrived in a rush
maguro sashimi (VND109,000), a terrifically
low price for the quality of the local fish
and toro salmon sashimi (VND129,000),
another great bargain; a dish of salmon
belly surrounded by blossoms and a
massive sea-shell. None of the fish blew
out our taste buds, but all of it arrived
well-cut and well-presented, fresh and
delicate.

A Momentary Perfection
With the fish came the second of the four

standouts, our wagyu yukke (VND209,000)


essentially beef tartare renamed in
Japanese. The delicate, creamy flavours
bloomed together into an amazing swirl
of egg and beef softer and richer than the
quail egg yolk, laced with satiny fat.
So good it was that we immediately
ordered its nearly identical twin on the
menu, the third standout of the night,
the wagyu nigiri (VND189,000.) Oh, and
another maguro sashimi just for laughs.

The Michelin Moment


Then came the Michelin moment; the
foie gras aburi nigiri (VND149,000 for two
pieces) which was so absurdly good we
ordered and reordered. This was perhaps
the best foie gras Id ever eaten, atop a
bullet of sushi rice and tied with a string
of seaweed. The flavours joined amazingly
well, but the simply seared lobe of duck
liver caressed my mouth with butter and
beef-marrow flavours, a flash of sweetness
almost like balsamic vinegar minus any
acidic bite, a gentle wave that lingered

THE VERDICT

13.5
FOOD

12.5
SERVICE

on the palate with an unbelievably long


finish, delicate, buttery, almost nutty.
By far the best dish of the night, it stood
out so much against the miso soup, the
salmon, the perfect chawanmushi, even the
many courses of wagyu beef.

11

DCOR

Room for One or Two More


Still able to fit food in our bellies, we
selected one last dish: tokachi gyu sumiyaki
(VND195,000), artistically arranged cubes
of beef that we grilled ourselves. Being
carnivores, we opted for a quick sear on
the outside and blood inside, totalling
three courses of raw beef for the night, a
personal record.
Finally, dessert; shiratama zenzai
(VND59,000) or red-bean dumpling sweet
soup, for the lady. For me, ice-cream
parfait (VND89,000) which was good
enough that I briefly considered ordering
another, as wed done so many times.

Crowded but Serviceable


The place was packed we waited 45
minutes for two bar seats. Service was
serviceable. Although in fairness they were
very busy.
Sushi Hokkaido Sachi has the glassfronted fish bar, wooden-slate construction
and shoeless short-legged tables many
quasi-traditional sushi restaurants opt
for. And overall the place really is pretty
good and deserving of the large number
of clientele. But as for their amazing foie
gras Now that was in a different league.
Sushi Hokkaido Sachi is at 40-42 Dong Du,
Q1, HCMC

Food, Decor and


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

Food and Drink

STREET SNACKER

HCMC

Know Your Com Tam


If there is any dish that is a Saigon icon, its com tam. But whats the
background behind this local favourite cooked up with steamed broken rice?
Words by Vi Pham

f there is any Vietnamese dish that


makes southern Vietnam, especially
Saigon, different from other parts of the
country, it must be com tam, also known
as broken rice. Even though in Saigon,
com tam is eaten as much as pho, not many
people, including Vietnamese, are aware
of the background of the dish. And as a
person whos grown up eating com tam
almost every day, I feel the urge to dig
deeper into the narrative behind this recipe.
As I discovered, a plate of com tam contains
more historic and cultural stories than I had
thought possible.

The Not-So-Broken Rice


A typical plate of com tam consists of tam
(the rice), suon nuong (grilled pork ribs),
cha (Vietnamese pork pie), do chua (pickled
veggies) and nuoc mam (sweet fish sauce).
Tam is the essential part of the dish and
also the reason for the name since other
ingredients can be up to the diner. Despite
the popular belief that tam are broken and
valueless pieces of the rice seed, it is not true.
In contrast, tam originally implied the most
valuable part of the seed.
In the past, after harvesting, farmers would
collect and separate the straw and the good
seeds, filtering the bad ones and the eatable
grains. Freshly harvested seeds had to be
brayed by hand to remove the husk. During
this braying process, most of the seed would
stay in its original shape. But the tip of the
seed, which is the most nutritious and can
potentially grow into another rice crop, would
occasionally fall out. That was the real and
original tam when it was cooked it always

tasted better. In the past, only the wealthy


could afford to eat tam with their meal.
Fast forward a century and tam is no
longer such a luxury. Harvested rice crops
go straight into the mill and farmers leave
all the work to the machines. Though this
quickens the process, there is no longer a
demand for quality tam and instead the seed
tips get mixed with above broken bits of the
grain. All these factors lower the price but
also diminish the real taste of tam grains.

A Plate of History and Culture


Despite the change in quality, com tam still
plays a major part in the history and culture
of Saigon. A plate of com tam contains many
stories.
In the past, when the price of tam became
more affordable, com tam was sold on the
street for breakfast and lunch. Most customers
were workers who could not make it home
to eat with their family. Eventually, the dish
became so ubiquitous and popular, that
Saigonese started eating com tam for dinner.
After pho, com tam is the peoples choice
for price and availability, and over time,
vendors have moved from mobile stands to
settled restaurants. Over the past decade,
com tam brands have sprung up Thuan
Kieu is perhaps the most famous and
have begun differentiating themselves with
many twists in the way the recipe is served.
Com tam also reflects the changes in
society and the impact of Western culture in
Vietnam. Instead of the traditional meal in
which all dishes are laid out and shared by a
group of diners, com tam is more individual
with all ingredients prepared for one person

on a single plate. And being on a plate, diners


dont use the more traditional bowls and
chopsticks to eat their rice, reverting instead
to spoons and forks. To me, this is a symbol
of the country changing from a collectivist
society to a more individualistic one.
As com tam is so popular, you can find it
almost everywhere in Saigon. However, I
recommend street restaurants where you can
watch the sizzling pork chops being grilled
on burning charcoal, creating an aroma that
can trigger all your taste buds; prices vary
from VND20,000 to VND40,000 a plate.
Not too greasy, fattening or sweet, com tam
is an excellent choice at any time of day.
Thanks to Dr. Han Nguyen Nguyen Nha for
providing valuable materials to help write this
piece

Where to Get Good


Com Tam
C OM T AM 40A

40A Quoc Huong, Q2, HCMC

C OM T AM 114

114 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, HCMC

B A G HIEN

84 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan, HCMC

C OM T AM T HUAN K IEU

26 Ton That Tung, Q1, HCMC; 138


Nguyen Thien Thuat, Q3, HCMC; 46 Dinh
Tien Hoang, Q1, HCMC; 114 Yersin, Q1,
HCMC

Travel

TRAVEL

INTERNATIONAL

Club Med
112 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The granddaddy of exotic


vacation resorts is
spreading across Asia.
Jesse Meadows flew into
Singapore to make the
quick hop across the
Singapore Strait to Bintan
in Indonesia.

irst things first, Im not the allinclusive type. Im more of the


same-shirt-for-a-week, $3-dormbed kind of traveller. So when I
found out I was going to the Club Med on
Indonesias Bintan Island, I borrowed a
pair of flowing pants and a carry-on with
wheels and set off to try and fit in.
Club Med is the original all-inclusive.
In 1950, Belgian water polo player Gerard
Blitz founded the first club on the island
of Majorca. It was just a handful of young
travellers in beach huts then. In 1961, Baron
Edmond de Rothschild had a lovely stay at a
Club Med and decided to buy the company.
Funded by the Rothschild familys
wealth (the largest private fortune in the
19th century), the company expanded,
opening ski resorts in Switzerland and beach
destinations in the Caribbean. Today, Club
Med has 71 villages all over the world, and
even a cruise ship.
In the early 2000s, the company adapted
to market changes, shifting their focus to
the upscale market and family-oriented
holidays. After a two-year bidding war, Club

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 113

Med was bought out by Chinese company


Fosun International in 2015 for a cool $1.07
billion, and are now looking to tap into
Asias growing tourism market.

The Art of Happiness


The concept here is simply; happiness. And
its hard not to be happy when everyone
around you is smiling. This is the strategy
at Club Med, where you cant walk a metre
without encountering sparkling eyes and a
full spread of shiny white teeth.
Its downright infectious, from the
moment you exit the giant Club Med coach
bus (to the tune of Pharrells song, Happy,
of course), the resorts Gentils Organisateurs
(GOs) greet you with smiles, wine glasses
and lavender-scented towels.
Check into your room, relax. Have some
lunch! they said, so I made my way to the
first of many buffets. At Club Med, theres
one around every corner. An open-air
beachside buffet, a barbecue in the sand
buffet, a massive food hall dinner buffet
all fully-stocked with international fare, from
tikka masala to beef wellington.
I guess all that food is necessary energy
for the long list of activities available. Our

itinerary for the next day read; sailing, aqua


fitness, archery and yoga, in that order.
Unfortunately I only made it to the fifth
activity, which was cocktails.
What makes the Club Med experience
unique are the GOs. Theyre essentially
summer camp counsellors, and their job is to
mingle with guests, entertain the kids, and
create a fun ambience. If you sit down to eat
alone here, it will only be a minute before a
smiling GO approaches, asking if they can
join you for lunch.
At our first dinner, we were joined by
Pym, a 31-year-old from Thailand who has
worked in Club Med resorts for eight years,
and Maho, from Japan, who was a guest
in many of the clubs resorts before finally
getting a job at reception.
How do you not get fat here? I asked
Pym incredulously, bewildered by all the
choices at the enormous dinner buffet. She
laughs.
We dance! Dancing is part of the life.

Dance For Life


After dinner, I found out what she meant.
Every night at the bar, the GOs lead guests
through a series of group line dances,

all with easy-to-follow moves and very


high energy. Its sort of like your cousins
wedding reception, except much more
organised.
This is all aimed at the kids, of course.
Keep the kids happy, and the parents
can relax. GOs often form long-term
relationships with their return guests; Pym
told me that one family in particular has
been coming back for so long, shes watched
their kids grow from toddlers into teenagers.
After everyone is thoroughly warmed up,
this family-friendly dance party ultimately
segues down the hall into their theatre,
where the GOs put on a choreographed
dance show every night. Every GO has three
to four shows in their repertoire, and they
rotate throughout the week, so guests always
have fresh entertainment.
Everyone participates in the shows, even
the Chef de Village (Club Med-speak for
resort manager), Jessie. At 33 years old, she
is one of the only female chefs in the entire
company. When I asked her why shes
worked with Club Med for almost a decade,
she replied simply: I love people!
And of course, the opportunity to travel
cant hurt, either. Pym has now worked at

How do you not get fat here? I asked Pym incredulously, bewildered
by all the choices at the enormous dinner buffet. She laughs. We dance!
Dancing is part of the life

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wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 115

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The concept here is simply; happiness. And its hard not


to be happy when everyone around you is smiling
Club Meds in Malaysia, China, Japan, the
Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia. Its not
a bad business plan, really move your
employees around every six months so they
can tell guests first-hand about the unique
features that other locations offer.

Golf, Circus and Missiles


In Bintan, a huge draw is the Best Golf
Course in Asia, Ria Bintan, 27 holes with
ocean views, just a short drive outside
Club Med. The resort has its own in-house
golf shop, and can arrange trips for guests.
Im not much of a golf enthusiast, but I
did get to drive the golf cart, and it was a
lovely jaunt through serene forests and lush
greenery.

This Club Med also features a trapeze and


a trained circus team. Every day they teach
kids and adults alike how to swing through
the air and bounce down onto the net below.
And once a week, the team puts on a special
circus show, featuring aerial silks and
juggling tricks. Theres also the Mini Club,
where GOs entertain the kids with activities
like tie-dye workshops and soccer games,
while mom and dad lounge by the pool.
In truth, I didnt do very well blending in.
I should have probably brought a couple of
kids. But I did find friends in the staff, who
were more than happy to have a drink with
me whenever I asked. On my last night at
Club Med, I sat by the pool with Jasper, the
Clubs assistant restaurant manager. After

several tours in Iraq with the US Army, he


was led to reassess his career.
I asked, what am I doing with my life?
Am I making people happy? he said. He
may only get one day off a week, and he
may work early mornings and late nights,
but now, instead of firing missiles, hes in
the business of making people smile.
For more info on Club Med, contact Exo
Travel, 41 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC, Tel: (08)
3519 4111 or email saigonagency@exotravel.
com. Alternatively, contact Exo Travel in Hanoi
on (04) 3828 2150 or hanoiagency@exotravel.
com. In Asia, Club Med have holiday villages
in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia,
Maldives and Mauritius. Check them out online
at clubmed.com

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 117

Travel

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TRAVEL

NATIONAL

Phu Yen
Even though Vietnam has a coastline literally thousands of kilometres long,
finding unspoilt beaches is increasingly becoming a challenge.
Vu Ha Kim Vy goes in search

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 119

ver since Vung Tau, Phan Thiet


and even Nha Trang became full of
tourists and concreted over, trying
to find an unspoilt beach has been
increasingly hard. Theres just too much
money to be made from this countrys
coastline. But thanks to photos of Phu Yen
Province taken by my brother on a trip
one week earlier, and to Vietjet Air for
offering cheap flights, I headed straight up
to this forgotten area of Vietnam just north
of Nha Trang.
Tuy Hoa Airport was originally a US-built
military air base which was abandoned for
over two decades in 1975. In 1996, it greeted
its first domestic flight from Ho Chi Minh
City, operated by Vietnam Airlines. Now
its used for both military and domestic
purposes. I landed in Tuy Hoa around 9am
and quickly got on the bike that had been
delivered to the airport. As the airport
is situated to the south of Tuy Hoa, the
provinces main city, I headed south on the
first day.

The Southern Coast


Heading south there are few tourist
attractions the only standouts are Mui
Dien and Vung Ro Bay. Mui Dien is around
24km away from Tuy Hoa and 5km north of
Vung Ro Bay. It was an easy ride, as the road
is in good condition and the signposting is
clear.
To reach Mui Dien, I passed through
Ngang Pass with mountains on one side
and the ocean on the other. Enchanted by its
beauty, I pulled my bike over several times
to take photos. My watch showed just after
11am as I bought a VND10,000 ticket to get
inside Mui Dien.
You can leave your backpack here and
you should take a bottle of water while
climbing up to the lighthouse, advised the
woman in the ticket booth.
The lighthouse was built in 1890 by the
French. Coloured grey, its 26.5m high and its

120 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

operation was started and stopped several


times before officially returning to daily use
in 1997. It is also the most easterly point in
mainland Vietnam and the first part of the
country to catch the light of sunrise.
I walked around the lighthouse feasting
my eyes on the views the white sand
dunes of Bai Mon in the distance, the rocky
mountains, patches of jungle, palm trees, the
turquoise sea and the occasional silver-white
waves. It was stunning.
Leaving Mui Dien I headed south to Vung
Ro Bay. As I turned a corner, once again
my jaw dropped as the landscape unfolded
in front of me. Mountain after mountain
embraced the sea and boats ran back and
forth from the shore carrying tourists to fish
farms floating on the sparkling water. There
was something picture postcard about this
place, and for a moment, a fleeting moment,
I thought I should pack up everything, leave
the big city and settle in this untouched,
secluded enclave of Vietnam.

The City
Tuy Hoa is a small city, the same size as
one district of Ho Chi Minh City. The land
on which it was built was formed from silt
flowing downstream on the Da Rang River.
According to Vy, my university classmate
from Tuy Hoa, the best way to enjoy the city
is through its food, although she also asked
on Facebook if Id checked out the Cham
Tower on Nhan Mountain.
It took only 10 minutes to get to Nhan
Mountain. As bikes are allowed to drive
through, I didnt need to work up a sweat
reaching the top. The Cham Tower was
built in the late 11th century and is said to
be the result of a competition between a
Cham general and a Vietnamese military
commander. At the top, the whole city lays
itself out before your eyes, with an endless
skyline and miniature houses and streets.
Vy also gave me a list of must-eat dishes
in Tuy Hoa including one-day dried beef,
steamed mackerel, oyster porridge and

Mang Lang Church


Lying 3km from the highway and 35km
north of Tuy Hoa, this gothic church was
built in 1892 by French missionary Father
Joseph Lacassagne the area was the
native parish of Blessed Andrew of Phu
Yen, beheaded in 1644. Since the day
that Blessed Andrew was beatified by
Pope John Paul II in 2000, the church has
held his feast day and become a place of
pilgrimage every Jul. 26, the anniversary
of his death.
The church is also home Alexander de
Rhodes Cathechismus in Octo dies (The
Catechism explained in Eight Days) in
Latin and Vietnamese (quoc ngu). Printed
in 1651, de Rhodes was a missionary
who learnt Vietnamese in six months and
was the creator of the Roman script that
is used today. The book is stored in an
underground vault in a hill next to the
church.

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chicken rice. Although the hotel manager


had told me that most of the chicken rice
places only opened during the day, I went
out to try my luck at around 7pm. Tuy Hoa
is cold at night, and my long-sleeved t-shirt
didnt help me much for the 2km drive
from my hotel to the centre. The manager
was right, nowhere was open. I ended
up resorting to a plate of chicken rice for
VND20,000 at a street food stall.

Forgotten Beaches
There are two ways to go north to Xuan
Dai Bay, you can either follow National
Highway 1A or the beachfront road. As
I wanted to see Bai Xep, Ganh Yen, Bai
Phu Thuong, Bai Tram and Ganh Da Dia
(meaning Stone Plate Bay), I chose the latter.
The beachfront road is largely untouched,
taking you through Vietnam as it would
have looked 50 or even 100 years ago.
Mountains, lakes and rice fields were on
one side giving a fresh and cool feeling
while the ocean breeze blew across from the
other. In parts isolated and silent, you could
hear the ocean waves crashing against the
shore.
Bai Xep, where the movie Hoa Vang Tren
Co Xanh (Yellow Flowers On Green Grass)
was filmed, has become a phenomenon
after last years release. There was even a
signboard mentioning the movie placed
on the road leading to the beach. Like
other beaches in the area, Bai Xep is worth
visiting for its crystal-clear water, pristine
white sand and sense of solitude.
Since Ganh Da Dia is the main topic of
conversation every time someone mentions
Phu Yen, I wanted to check if it really was
what people had been saying. To me it

looked like both a giant beehive and a pile


of stone plates surrounded by cacti. It was
also full of tourists. Knowing that I couldnt
take any better photos than my colleagues
and given that it took nearly 10 minutes for
me to get a shot of the place without any
tourists wandering into my viewfinder,
I quickly gave up. Yet as I was leaving I
noticed a lighthouse standing on the beach
opposite. I like lighthouses.
It doesnt have a name, people here just
call it Bai Da (Stone Beach), said a street
vendor while handing me a ca phe sua da. If I
gave Ganh Da Dia two stars for its beauty, I
would give five stars to this nameless beach,
mainly because of its absence of tourists.
You should go to Xuan Dai Bay through
Cau Go (Wooden Bridge) as its quicker
and the views are stunning, continued the
vendor. Cau Go is handmade from small
wooden planks and only about 1.5 metres
wide, crossing the Phu Ngan River. Driving
across it is scary.
Xuan Dai Bay is a 13,000-hectare piece of
coastline stretching from Tuy An District
to Song Cau town, and is formed by the
15km-long Co Ngua Mountain Range which
runs into the sea and creates a peninsular.
Listed as a National Relic in 2011, despite
its rise to natural beauty prominence, the
place remains raw. Mountains shoot into
the sky, palm trees and rocks embrace each
other, and an archway forms over a strip of
white sand.
Surrounded by beach after empty
white-sand beach, this undiscovered patch
of central Vietnam is so enticing that as I
headed to the airport for my flight back to
Saigon, I knew that the last place I wanted
to go was home.

Information
H OW

TO

G ET T HERE

Vietnam Airlines and other airlines


including Vietjet Air and Jetstar have
flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi
to Tuy Hoa every day. Buses and trains
offer another option for those who have
more time. Visit vietnam-railway.com for
trains and vexere.com for buses.

W HERE

TO

S TAY

Tuy Hoa has a wide range of hotels and


guesthouses that are mainly located on
Hung Vuong Boulevard. You could either
stay at the five-star CenDeluxe Hotel (2
Hai Duong), the four-star Kaya Hotel
(238 Hung Vuong) or get more basic at
Khanh Hoa Hotel (625 Hung Vuong) for
VND150,000 per night.

W HAT

TO

E AT

Com ga (chicken rice): Thien Huong


(211 Le Thanh Ton) or Tuyet Nhung (189
Le Thanh Ton)
Banh canh he (noodle soup with chives
and fish cake): 32A (32A Le Trung Kien)
or street vendor at corner between Le Loi
and Phan Dinh Phung.
Banh xeo (crispy pancake): Banh Xeo
Le Thanh Ton (20 Le Thanh Ton)
Nem nuong (grilled pork meatballs):
Nem Nuong Cha Dong (92 Nguyen
Cong Tru)
Seafood: The seafood area is along
Bach Dang

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 123

Travel

TRAVEL

NATIONAL

The Private Island


Somewhere off Phu Quoc is a privately owned island that, if youre lucky
enough, might just be open for a visit. Jesse Meadows discovered that despite
the growing debris in the surrounding seas, here the water remains crystal clear.
Photos by Trung Del

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wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 125

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on Gam Ghi is an island south of


Phu Quoc, surrounded by coral
and majestic rock formations. It
was bought by the owners of La
Veranda resort years ago, and is inhabited
by one Vietnamese family that has lived
there for generations. The father took a
wife from another island, and they now
have two sons, who help them preside
over the land and act as security for the
resorts special private tours.
And these tours are extra special.
Exclusive is probably a better word. The
resort charters one large fishing boat for a
couple or a family, and ferries them about a
45-minute ride south of Phu Quoc to Gam
Ghi. On this trip, our photographer Trung
and I were accompanied by Annia, who
works in guest relations (and gets to take
epic private island trips as part of her day

job). The three of us sat on the top deck of


a boat that could have easily fit 50 people,
taking in the serene blue waters around us,
making small talk about what colour we
would paint a boat if we had our own.

Crystal Clear
On the way out of the port, the captain
pulled up to a large floating raft and
bought a bucket of live sea urchins for us,
their pointy spikes wiggling slowly like
something from another planet. Twenty
minutes later we were scooping their salty
insides out on the boat deck my first taste
of the sea porcupine, as Trung called it.
When we pulled up to the island, my sole
thought was snorkeling. The water is so
clear that you can see straight to the bottom,
and large dark masses dot the sand all
around. I knew there were whole ecosystems

down there, and I needed to discover them.


So I put on my goggles and what I thought
was enough sunscreen and splashed into the
water.
Unfortunately, all the corals close to the
shore are bleaching, whether it be from the
abnormally warm waters of El Nino, or the
hands and feet of local fisherman who were
stepping all over them in search of shellfish.
There wasnt as much trash as Id expected,
thankfully, but I did find a backpack in the
sand that had been reclaimed by algae and
resourceful fish, and a few beer cans.
Annia tells me that much of the trash
comes from strong tides in the Gulf of
Thailand. For some reason, she says,
hundreds of flip-flops tend to wash up
from nearby Cambodia. To counteract
this, La Veranda, along with many other
local businesses, are now actively taking

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 127

part in the Keep Phu Quoc Green and


Clean programme, supporting community
initiatives to clean up their beaches and
natural landscapes.

Under the Sea


The good stuff is out there, Annia told me,
motioning far out past the rocks. So I swam
until the brown reef turned colourful, and
the formations got massive.
I felt like a mermaid, just barely skimming
over the top of the tallest masses, then
diving into canyons between huge yellow,
purple and blue corals on either side. Crabs
scattered under rocks at the sight of my
shadow and bright parrotfish stared up at me
curiously. I knew my pale skin was burning
in the sun but the water was so cool and the
sights were so interesting that I didnt care.
Finally I reached open blue water and
reluctantly decided to turn back. The current
was strong out there, and I had to bust out
all the tricks I learnt on my childhood swim
team to fight it, like swimming parallel to
shore across the current, instead of against
it. It took twice as long to swim back in as it
had to swim out, and Id been in the water so
long that the day had begun to wind down.
After a beer, we packed up and trekked
through the woods to another beach, where
the coral was less thick and the boat could
pick us up. The lone house on Gam Ghi was
there on the sand, and its family sat around
with tea, watching the sun sink.
A beautiful old woman sat in shallow
water with her fishing traps, flashing the
brightest smile at me as I boarded the boat. I
wondered what it would be like to live their
simple, secluded life, waking up everyday
on their own private island.
We waved goodbye, and the boat lulled
me to sleep. When I woke up in the port,
Id missed the sunset. But its okay, because
Gam Ghis underwater magic was worth all
my energy.
To get to Hon Gam Ghi, email contact@
laverandaresorts.com or call MGallery by Sofitel,
La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc on for info (077) 398
2988. Trips include a seafood BBQ on the beach. To
see a video on the island, do a search on YouTube

128 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The water is so clear that you


can see straight to the bottom,
and big dark masses dot the sand
all around. I knew there were
whole ecosystems down there, and
I needed to discover them

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 129

Travel

DALAT
ANA MANDARA VILLAS
$$$$
Le Lai, Dalat, Tel: (063)
3555888

anamandara-resort.com

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

dalatpalace.vn

This enormous structure


offers the most modern of
amenities, and with four
restaurants and two bars,
the events staff is well
equipped to handle any occasion. Close to the National
Convention Center, and a favourite of the business traveller, Daewoo even boasts
an outdoor driving range.
Shortly to become a Marriot
property.
FORTUNA HOTEL HANOI
6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3831 3333

fortuna.vn
DALAT GREEN CITY HOTEL
172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 382 7999

dalatgreencityhotel.com

Located in central Dalat,


this is the perfect place for
budget travellers. Quiet,
newly refurbished with
beautiful mountain and city
views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and
snack bar in all rooms with
a downstairs coffee shop
and computers in the lobby
for guest use.

This 350-room four-star set


up in the heart of Hanois financial district has a variety
of rooms on offer, a capital
lounge and three restaurants that serve Japanese,
Chinese and international
cuisine. And like youd expect, theres a fitness centre, night club and swimming
pool, too, and even a separate spa and treatment facility for men and women. Set
to the west of town, Fortuna
often offers business deals
on rooms and spaces to hold
meetings, presentations and
celebrations.
HOTEL DE LOPERA
29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:
(04) 6282 5555

contact@hoteldelopera.com

DALAT TRAIN VILLA


Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 381 6365

dalattrainvilla.com

Located near the Dalat Train


Station, the Dalat Train Villa
is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa.
In its grounds is a 1910
train carriage which has
been renovated into a bar
and cafe. Located within 10
minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.

TRUNG CANG HOTEL


$
22 Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 382 2663

M M M
HANOI
INTERNATIONAL
CROWNE PLAZA WEST
INTERNATIONAL
$$$
36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel:
(04) 6270 6688
crowneplazawesthanoi.com
This premier five-star property lies beside the My
Dinh National Stadium and
Convention Centre. Boasts
two swimming pools, a spa,
and a fitness centre in its 24
stories.
DAEWOO HOTEL
360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3831 5555

hanoi-daewoohotel.com

130 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

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.
HILTON GARDEN INN
HANOI
20 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan
Kiem, Hanoi, Tel (04) 3944
9396

hanoi.hgi.com

With 86 fully-equipped
guestrooms and suites, this
is the first Hilton Garden Inn
property in Southeast Asia.
Centrally located and a short
stroll from the historic Old
Quarter, the hotel offers a full
service restaurant, a stylish
bar, along with complimentary business and fitness
centres making it perfect for
the international business or
leisure traveller.
HILTON HANOI OPERA
1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 0500

hanoi.hilton.com

Situated next to the iconic


Hanoi Opera House and a
short stroll from the Old
Quarter, this five-star hotel is
a Hanoi landmark. With 269
fully-equipped rooms and
suites, theres plenty for the
discerning business and leisure traveller to choose from.

INTERCONTINENTAL
HANOI WESTLAKE
1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
6270 8888

hanoi.intercontinental.com

This stunning property built


over West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort.
Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable, topend accommodation and all
the mod-cons make up the
mix here together with the
resorts three in-house restaurants and the Sunset Bar,
a watering hole located on a
thoroughfare over the lake.
Great gym and health club.
JW MARRIOTT HANOI
8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu
Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3833
5588

jwmarriotthanoi.com

From the expressive architecture outside to the authentic


signature JW Marriott services inside, this Marriott hotel
in Hanoi is the new definition
of contemporary luxury. Lies
next door to the National
Convention Centre.
MAY DE VILLE OLD
QUARTER
43/45/47 Gia Ngu, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 5688

maydeville.com

The largest four-star hotel


in Hanois Old Quarter, 110
rooms, a swimming pool, a
top floor terrace bar and a
location just a stones throw
from Hoan Kiem Lake make
this a great choice for anyone wanting a bit of luxury in
the heart of the action.
MELIA HANOI
44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 3343

meliahanoi.com

Excellently located in central


Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws
plenty of business travellers
and is also a popular venue
for conferences and wedding
receptions. State-of-the-art
rooms, elegant restaurants,
stylish bars, fully equipped
fitness centre with sophisticated service always make
in-house guests satisfied.
MVENPICK HOTEL HANOI
83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3822 2800

moevenpick-hanoi.com

With its distinctive French


architecture and top end
service, Mvenpick Hotel
Hanoi is aimed squarely at
corporate travellers. An allday 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 wellappointed rooms and suites,
93 are non-smoking.
NOVOTEL SUITES
5 Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: (04)
3576 6666

novotel.com/9813

Suites and apartments with


all the mod cons and attrac-

tive dcor youd expect of an


Accor property. Located close
to My Dinh and 20 minutes
from downtown Hanoi, this
new property with an inhouse restaurant and bar is
perfect for business professionals or travellers looking
to mix a stay in Hanoi with
the feeling of being located
in a place you can call home.
PULLMAN HANOI HOTEL
$$$$
40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3733 0688

pullman-hanoi.com

With deluxe rooms and


suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a
la carte restaurant, this Accor
group property is prestigious
and close to the Old Quarter.
SHERATON
K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu,
Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9000

sheraton.com/hanoi

Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and


tranquil courtyards, this
peaceful property features
picturesque views of West
Lake and is less than 10
minutes from downtown.
In addition to the luxurious
rooms, the hotel offers an
outdoor swimming pool and
great relaxation and fitness
facilities, including a tennis
court and spa. There are well
equipped conference rooms
and a newly refurbished Executive Club Lounge.
SOFITEL LEGEND
METROPOLE HANOI
15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3826 6919

sofitel.com

The finest hotel of the French


colonial period is probably
still the finest in todays 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.
SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3823 8888
Boasting Hanois best views
of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake
and the Red River, Sofitel
Plaza Hanoi soars 20 storeys
above the city skyline. The
5-star hotel features 317
luxurious, comfortable guestrooms with spectacular lake
view or river view ranking in
7 types from Classic Room to
Imperial Suite.

HANOI MID-RANGE
6 ON SIXTEEN
16 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem

sixonsixteen.com

Another boutique hotel to


grace Hanois 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.
GOLDEN SILK BOUTIQUE
HOTEL
$$$
109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan
Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3928
6969

goldensilkhotel.com

Located in the centre of the


Old Quarter, this little slice of
heaven offers complimentary
sundries and a replenishable
minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese
cuisine.
JOSEPHS HOTEL
$$
5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi,
Tel: (04) 3938 1048

josephshotel.com

Located next to the cathedral, this popular wellappointed, airy and spacious boutique hotel mixes
comfort with a nice ambience and great Western or
Vietnamese breakfasts. All
the modern amenities at
reasonable prices.
MAISON DHANOI HANOVA
HOTEL
$$$
35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 0999

hanovahotel.com

A minute from Hoan Kiem


Lake, this glowing pearl in
the heart of Hanoi provides
tranquility with an art gallery
and piano bar.
MAY DE VILLE
24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung,
Tel: (04) 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.

HANOI BUDGET
HANOI BACKBACKERS
HOSTEL
48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3828 5372

hanoibackpackershostel.com

Probably the cheapest, European-style hostel in town,


with bunk-style beds mixed
or single-sex dorms starting
at VND150,000, plus a couple of double suites from
VND250,000. A place to meet
like-minded fold in the Old
Quarter.

HCMC
INTERNATIONAL
CARAVELLE HOTEL
$$$$
19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 4999

caravellehotel.com

Winner of Robb Reports 2006

list of the worlds top 100


luxury hotels, the Caravelle
houses the popular rooftop
Saigon Saigon bar, and the
restaurants Nineteen and
Reflections.
EQUATORIAL
$$$
242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel:
(08) 3839 7777

equatorial.com/hcm

This massive property boasts


seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business
centre, meeting rooms and
a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial
also has an on-site casino.
HOTEL NIKKO SAIGON
$$$$$
235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3925 7777

hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn

The five-star hotel and serviced apartment complex


offers: 14 instant offices,
seven meeting rooms, a
600-capacity ballroom, spa,
outdoor swimming pool, a
gym, 24-hour fine dining,
24-hours room service, and
limousine services.
INTERCONTINENTAL
ASIANA SAIGON
$$$$$
Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999

intercontinental.com/saigon

In the heart of Ho Chi Minh


City, resides the Asiana with
signature dining options,
an innovative cocktail bar,
exclusive spa and health
club, together with luxury
boutique arcade.

LE MRIDIEN SAIGON
$$$$
3C Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC
Tel: (08) 6263 6688

lemeridien.com/saigon

Marking the brands debut


in Vietnam, Le Mridien Saigon is the gathering place for
curious and creative-minded
travellers. Located in the
heart of Ho Chi Minh City
next to the Saigon River, the
property is close to the metropolis's entertainment and
commercial areas, making it
an ideal base for exploring
the local culture and community. Experience this cosmopolitan city in stimulating
surroundings.

LOTTE LEGEND HOTEL


SAIGON
$$$$
2A4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 3333

legendsaigon.com

Immaculate architecture,
spacious rooms, and a fine
selection of fine dining, with
buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.

NEW WORLD HOTEL


$$$$
76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
8888

SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA


$$$$
17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08)
3824 1555

Former guests include U.S.


presidents two Bushes,
Clinton and K-Pop sensation Bi Rain. An ongoing
event as well as a hotel,
New World is one of the best
luxury stops in town.

This 20story building in


downtown Saigon, caters to
upscale business and leisure
travelers seeking a classic yet
contemporary stay in Saigon.

saigon.newworldhotels.com

PARK HYATT
$$$$$
2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3824 1234

saigon.park.hyatt.com

Fabulous in style, prime in


location, everything one
would expect from the Hyatt.
The Square One and Italianthemed Opera restaurants
have garnered an excellent
reputation, as has the landscaped pool.
PULLMAN SAIGON
CENTRE
$$$$$
148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3838 8686

pullmanhotels.com

Recently completed on the


site of the old Metropole, this
upscale, contemporary property boasts 306 signature
rooms combining design,
comfort and connectivity.
Innovative cuisine, a great
downtown location and hightech meeting venues able to
host up to 600 guests make
up the mix.
RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS
53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3744 4111

riverside-apartments.com

Situated on the banks of the


Saigon River, a 15-minute
scenic boat ride or 20-minute bus ride from town,
Riversides complementary
shuttle services take you
right in the city centre. With
152 fully equipped serviced
apartments, the property
offers special packages for
short-term stay starting at
VND2.1 million per apartment per night for a onebedroom facility.
RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE
HOTEL SAIGON
$$$$
8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3823 1117

renaissance-saigon.com

This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup
or drop off, a first-floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River
Restaurant.
SHERATON
$$$$$
88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)
3827 2828

sheraton.com/saigon

Sheraton boasts one of


the best locations in town,
with firstclass facilities, an
openair restaurant 23 floors
above the city and a live music venue on the same floor.

sofitel.com

WINDSOR PLAZA
$$$
18 An Duong Vuong, Q5, Tel:
(08) 3833 6688

windsorplazahotel.com

The full ensemble with its


own shopping hub (including a bank), fine dining,
a sauna, health club, and
superb panoramic views of
the cityscape. Also hosts
the largest Oktoberfest in
the region.

M M M
HCMC DELUXE
CONTINENTAL
$$$
132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3829 9201

continentalhotel.com.vn

Tan Son Nhat International


Airport. With spectacular
city views and a comfortablydesigned outdoor swimming
pool, there is little reason not
to choose this shining star.

M M M
HCMC - MID-RANGE
ROYAL HOTEL SAIGON
$$
133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 5914

kimdohotel.com

LAN LAN HOTEL 1 AND 2


$$$
46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7926

lanlanhotel.com.vn

THE ALCOVE LIBRARY


HOTEL
$$$
133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh,
Phu Nhuan, Tel: 08 6256 9966

alcovehotel.com.vn

M M M
HCMC BUDGET

This charming old hotel has


been fted in literature and
in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to
highlight Vietnamese culture.

DUC VUONG HOTEL


$
195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)
3920 6992

NORFOLK HOTEL
$$$
117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3829 5368

Free WiFi offered in every


room. Low prices, friendly
staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few steps

norfolkhotel.com.vn

Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique


business hotel is located
minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and
is renowned for its fabulous
steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.
NOVOTEL SAIGON CENTRE
$$$
167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08)
3822 4866

ducvuonghotel.com

from the backpackers area.


DUNA HOTEL
$
167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1, Tel:
(08) 3837 3699

dunahotel.com

FURAMA RESORT AND


SPA
$$$$
Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My,
Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel:
(0511) 384 7888

furamavietnam.com

HONG HOA HOTEL


$
185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3836 1915

honghoavn.com

SINH HUONG HOTEL


$
157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: (08)
3827 4648

sinhhuonghotel.com.vn

M M M
HOI AN & DANANG
AN BANG BEACH RETREAT
An Bang Beach, Hoi An

anbangbeachretreat.com

CUA DAI
$
544, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel:
(0510) 386 2231

hotelcuadai-hoian.com/

DANANG BEACH RESORT


$$$
Truong Sa, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh
Son, Danang, Tel: (0511) 396
1800

danangbeachresort.com.vn

PULLMAN DANANG BEACH


RESORT
$$$$
Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu
Hanh Son, Danang
Tel: (0511) 395 8888

pullman-danang.com

Located on the stunning


white sands of Bac My An
Beach, the stylish Pullman
Danang Beach Resort is
an oasis of activities and
facilities for the modern
traveller. With an idyllic setting, this luxury property is
perfect for a family holiday
or romantic beach getaway.
And with extensive function
facilities, Pullman Danang
also provides the a great location for your next incentive
getaway or event.

HYATT REGENCY DANANG


RESORT AND SPA
$$$$
Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da
Nang, Tel: (0511) 398 1234

danang.regency.hyatt.com

The Hyatt Regency Danang


Resort and Spa is beachfront

Josephs Hotel
Foreign-run,boutique hotel
Next to the cathedral

novotel-saigon-centre.com

Novotel Saigon Centre has


a contemporary feel, an
international buffet The
Square a rooftop bar, and
a wellness centre including a
swimming pool, gym, sauna
and spa.
VILLA SONG SAIGON
$$$
197/2 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3744 6090

villasong.com

Deliberately located away


from the city centre in Thao
Dien, this riverside boutique
villa-style hotel is a sanctuary of peace and calm a
rarity in Ho Chi Minh City.
Beautiful, Indochine-influenced design, a great setting and good drinking and
dining options make this a
great, non-city centre choice.
STAR CITY SAIGON HOTEL
$$$
144 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu
Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3999 8888

starcitysaigon.vn

Free wi-fi, international breakfast,


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

The newly-built hotel is near

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 131

NOTES FROM ANOTHER CITY

Wanna get out of Vung Tau? Up on Big


mountain (Nui Lon) is a French-built
fort overlooking the sea

Seafood comes in all forms in the area around


Vung Tau. Some of it is fresh, and some of it is
well, erm, fermented

find theres plenty to keep a person


occupied in Vung Tau, but then not
every expat would agree with me. I
mean its all subjective, innit? One
mans Shangri-La is another mans
Dullsville. Heres a little parable that
illustrates this point.
Now, every parable has its obligatory wise
old man hanging around the edge of town,
waiting to dispense sage advice to passers-by,
so when a traveller approaches Vung Tau on
foot, he spies the old man.
Say, Wise Old Man, how is this town Im
about to enter?
Well, says the WOM, rather pleased hes
been asked for his sage advice on what has
hitherto been a quiet day. How did you find
the last town you passed through?
Oh, just great! Nice town, friendly
people!
Well, I think youll find this town exactly
the same.
The WOM then sits back on his heels
to await the next inevitable traveller. Sure
enough, another guy turns up 10 minutes later.
Say, Wise Old Man, how is this town Im
about to enter?

132 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

How did you find the last town you


passed through?
Oh, absolutely awful. The armpit of the
world. Boring people.
I think youll find this town exactly the
same.

Attitude Adjustment

By Don Wills

And that, Dear Reader, teaches us one thing.


Which is um I dont know really. An
attitude to travel? Or perhaps it teaches us
that wherever you go, there you are.
And so back to Vung Taus attractions, or
the lack of them, depending on your point of
view.
Like I say, this city has plenty to hold my
interest most weeks of the year, but what of
the other weeks when I feel the need to get
out of town for a change of scenery? There
are a number of places Ive found to escape to
that arent all that far from here.
Take Long Hai, for example. Half an hour
away from Vung Tau by motorbike, Long
Hai is an idyllic, sleepy beach resort. The
broad sweep of its bay is mostly devoid
of life except for a few fishermen fiddling
around with their nets, and a slow-moving

ENTRY 4:

Get Outta Town

Nha Lon on Long Son Island is the home


of a religious sect founded by the mystical
Ong Tran

beachcomber or two.
The seafood cafes lining the beachfront
are mostly without customers, the roads
without traffic. A pleasant torpor envelops
the township. Once youve visited the quaint
pagoda nearby, theres not much else to do,
apart from sit yourself down at a caf by the
beach, listen to the lap of the wavelets, and
gaze out at the endless horizon.
Oh, and gorge yourself on delectable
seafood, of course. In Long Hai they do
a scrumptious dish of small fried squid
stuffed with chopped veggies that Ive not
come across elsewhere, and their prawns are
whoppers.
A little further up the coast from Long
Hai before you get to Loc An, theres a
long, pristine stretch of beach thats even
more deserted. There are no fishermen,
no swimmers, no beachcombers, no sand
to speak of; nothing but half a mile of
small, crunchy seashells underfoot, and a
thousand miles of sky overhead. For someone
determined to get away from it all, this is
the place to be. Cross your fingers that the
developers dont get their hands on it.

Spring Into Action


Heres another getaway within easy reach
of Vung Tau; Binh Chau Hot Springs. While
the springs are never going to attract hordes
of visitors, they are a pleasant enough place
to devote an hour or so to, especially if you
like to wallow in a mud bath. Its also an
ideal spot for a picnic.
And another place of interest just 30
minutes from Vung Tau is Long Son Island.
Dont be misled by the word island; its
accessible by road. It boasts an ancient
wooden temple Nha Lon Long Son a
couple of floating villages, and four floating
restaurants. However, the main attraction
is oysters oysters the size of saucers,

The area to the north and west of Vung Tau


is a mixture of mangrove, beach, desert
and mountain

oysters that literally melt in the mouth,


oysters to die for. This is oyster-breeding
country. A continuous line of trucks await
to haul the mouth-watering molluscs away
to Ho Chi Minh City, but there are enough
of them left behind to stuff yourself to your
hearts content, and take a bagful home
with you.
Now all of the places Ive mentioned
have one thing in common. Peace and
serenity. For me thats a definite plus, but
its not everyones cup of tea. If its fun and
excitement you crave, go to Ho Chi Minh City.
Born in New Zealand, Don Wills lives in
Vung Tau. Hes been writing his way round the
region for decades

"In Long Hai they do a scrumptious dish of


small fried squid stuffed with chopped veggies
that Ive not come across elsewhere, and their
prawns are whoppers."

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 133

with a stunning view of the


Marble Mountains. There
are 182 luxurious residences
and 27 private ocean villas,
each with a private pool.

Travel

MERCURE DANANG
$$$
Lot A1 Zone Green Island,
Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau,
Danang, Tel: (0511) 379 7777

mercure-danang.com

Set on the Han River, this


well-appointed, Accormanaged property is one of
the nicest hotels in Central
Danang. Kitsch but contemporary design and some
phenomenal views over
the city make up the mix.
THE NAM HAI
$$$$
Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam, Tel: (0510)
394 0000

ghmhotels.com

Includes three massive


swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant
spa on a lotus pond. Each
massive room has its own
espresso machine, preprogrammed iPod and both
indoor and outdoor showers.

M M M
HUE & LANG CO
ANGSANA LANG CO
$$$$
Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien
Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5800

angsana.com/en/lang_co

Located on Vietnams South


Central Coast, Angsana Lang
Co commands an unrivalled
beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional
Vietnamese design encompasses the resorts contemporary buildings and chic
interiors.
BANYAN TREE LANG CO
$$$$
Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien,
Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5888

banyantree.com/en/lang_co

PHOTO BY TRUNG DEL

Built on a crescent bay, The


Banyan Tree offers privacy
and unparalleled exclusivity

134 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

with all-pool villas reflecting


the cultural and historical
legacy of past Vietnamese
dynastic periods.
LA RESIDENCE
$$$$
5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 383
7475

laresidencehue.com

PHUONG HOANG HOTEL


$
66 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 382
6736

hoangphuonghotel.com

M M M
NHA TRANG
EVASON ANA MANDARA
AND SIX SENSES SPA
$$$$
Beachside Tran Phu, Nha
Trang, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058)
352 2222

sixsenses.com/evason-resorts/ana-mandara/destination

2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villastyle


accommodation furnished
in traditional native woods,
this resort offers verandah
dining, a pool bar and the
signature Six Senses Spa.
JUNGLE BEACH RESORT
$
Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh
Hoa, Tel: (058) 362 2384

junglebeachvietnam.com

On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this


budget place is all about
hammocks, the sea, the
jungle and nature.
MIA RESORT NHA TRANG
$$$$
Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong,
Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel:
(058) 398 9666

mianhatrang.com

NOVOTEL NHA TRANG


$$$
50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel:
(058) 625 6900

novotel-nhatrang.com

This four-star hotel with 154


guestrooms, all with a terrace and sea view. Complete
with a pool, spa, restaurant,

bar and meeting room that


caters for up to 200 delegates.
SIX SENSES HIDEAWAY
NINH VAN BAY
$$$$
Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa,
Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 372
8222

sixsenses.com/resorts/ninhvan-bay/destination
The upmarket Tatler magazine voted top hotel of 2006.
The location is stunning, on a
bay accessible only by boat.

SHERATON NHA TRANG


HOTEL AND SPA
$$$$
26 28 Tran Phu, Tel: (058)
388 0000

sheraton.com/nhatrang

M M M
PHAN THIET & MUI NE
NINH CHU BAY BEACH
CLUB & BAR
Hwy 702, Ninh Hai, Phan
Rang, Ninh Thuan, Tel: (068)
627 2727

ninhchubay.com

Enjoy the private beach with


excellent facilities and have a
massage. Evenings are sublime at this beach club, soon
to become a fully fledged
resort. Grilled seafood, European sausages, sangria,
draught beer, and specialityinfused vodka all make this
one of a kind destination.
BLUE OCEAN RESORT
$$$$
54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui
Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062)
384 7322

blueoceanresort.com.vn
life-resorts.com

COCO BEACH
$$$$
58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui
Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062)
384 7111

cocobeach.net

With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a


swimming pool (both with
attached bars) and a French
restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those

who opened it in 1995.


JOES GARDEN RESORT
$$
86 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham
Tien, Mui Ne, Tel: (062) 384
7177

joescafemuine.com

A leafy, seafront bungalow


resort and caf with nightly
live music all in one. Reminiscent of the type of places
youd find on the Thai islands, an international and
Asian food menu together
with a cheap happy hour
on beer make up the relaxing mix.
MIA RESORT MUI NE
$$$$
24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui
Ne, Tel: (062) 384 7440

miamuine.com

VICTORIA PHAN THIET RESORT AND SPA


$$$$
Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet,
Tel: (062) 381 3000

victoriahotels.asia

Another beachfront Victoria


chain, the thatchedroof
bungalows and family villas
are set in exotic gardens with
an infinity swimming pool,
a seafood restaurant, spa,
beauty salon and jacuzzi.

M M M
PHONG NHA
EASY TIGER AND JUNGLE
BAR
$
Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang
Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7844

easytigerphongnha@gmail.
com

A hostel and street-front bar


all in one. Has a pleasant,
airy atmosphere in the bar
and restaurant area while
the 52 dorm beds four
beds to a room go for US$8
(VND168,000) each a night.
HO KHANH'S HOMESTAY
$$
Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang
Binh, Tel: 01299 597182

phong-nha-homestay.com

PHONG NHA FARMSTAY


$$
Hoa Son, Cu Nam, Bo Trach,
Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367
5135

phong-nha-cave.com

The first western-run farmstay in Phong Nha, this wellappointed travellers joint
has a great bar and restaurant area, a swimming pool
out back and views overlooking paddy fields and
mountains. Rooms start at
VND600,000 for a twin or
double, with a family room
for five costing VND1.4 million a night.

M M M
PHU QUOC
BEACH CLUB RESORT
$$
Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To,
Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island,
Tel: (077) 398 0998

beachclubvietnam.com

A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a


beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike
rental, boat trips and tours
are easily arranged. Discount
rates during rainy season.
MANGO BAY
$$
Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc,
Tel: 0903 382207

mangobayphuquoc.com

An ecofriendly approach
with a gorgeous beachside
location, the bungalows are
made of rammed earth, no
TVs or telephones (although
Wi-Fi is available). Excellent
sunsets from the beach bar.
SALINDA RESORT PHU
QUOC ISLAND
$$$$
Cua Lap Hamlet, Duong To
Commune, Phu Quoc, Kien
Giang
Tel: (08) 3929 3097
Hotline 0907 99 55 02

salindaresort.com

Set on the sea and only 4km


away from Phu Quoc International Airport, Salinda is
inspired by an interplay of
rustic local heritage with
contemporary design. The

property has 121 rooms and


villas with private balconies,
and provides a luxury experience that embodies the
understated beauty and enchanting spirit of the pearl
of Asia.

M M M
SAPA
CAT CAT VIEW HOTEL
$$
Cat Cat Road, Tel: 0203
871946

catcathotel.com

The best view in town from


its bar restaurant, the Cat
Cat Guesthouse is paradise
at very reasonable rates. The
rooms have big windows,
balconies, and log fireplaces.
TOPAS ECOLODGE
$$$
Thanh Kim, Sapa, Lao Cai
Tel: (04) 3715 1005 (Sales)

topasecolodge.com

With its panoramic views of


the surrounding mountains
and valley, Topas Ecolodge
is the perfect place to experience the remoteness and
quiet of the Northern Vietnamese mountains the
landscape, the fresh air and
the ethnic peoples. Guests
stay in private bungalows
with dinner served in a local
stilt house restaurant.

M M M
VUNG TAU & HO TRAM
BINH AN VILLAGE
$$$$
1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau, Tel:
(064) 335 1553

binhanvillage.com

CON DAO RESORT


$$
Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao,
Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 383 0939

condaoresort.vn

HO TRAM BEACH RESORT


AND SPA
$$$$
Tel: (064) 378 1525

hotramresort.com

This attractive property is the


ideal getaway from Ho Chi
Minh City. 63 uniquely bun-

galows and villas promise a


local experience complete
with an excellent spa and
two swimming pools.
HO TRAM SANCTUARY
$$$$
Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau,
Tel: (064) 378 1631

sanctuary.com.vn

The spacious villas come


with their own pool and have
direct access to the beach.
Extras include tennis courts,
a mini supermarket, and
cycling and motorbike tours.
REX HOTEL
$$
1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau, Tel:
(064) 385 2135

rexhotelvungtau.com

SIX SENSES CON DAO


$$$$
Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung
Tau, Tel: (064) 383 1222

sixsenses.com/sixsensescondao
THE GRAND-HO TRAM
STRIP
Phuoc Thuan Commune,
Xuyen Moc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau,
Tel: (064) 378 8888

thegrandhotramstrip.com

The Grand-Ho Tram Strip is


Vietnams first large scale
integrated resort and includes a 541-room five-star
hotel, a world-class casino,
restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP
area, as well as a variety of
beach-front recreation activities. Is located next to the
Greg Norman-designed golf
course, The Bluffs, one of the
best golf courses in Vietnam.

M M M
TRAVEL
SERVICES HANOI
BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY
(BTA)
94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist.,
Ha Noi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702

buffalotours.com.vn

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.
BTA customizes leisure and

corporate travel plans while


offering a selected range of
small group tours.
EXO TRAVEL
66A Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi,
Tel: (04) 3828 2150

exotravel.com

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.
HANDSPAN TRAVEL
78 Ma May, Hanoi, Tel: (04)
3926 2828

handspan.com

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: (04) 3944 8844

hgtravel.com

Travel company specialising


in small-group tours around
Vietnam and further afield in
Indochina. Is also the sole
representative agent for
Kenya Airways (for 40 cities
in Africa kenya-airways.
com), American Airlines (aa.
com) and Turkish Airlines
(thy.com).
INTREPID TRAVEL VIETNAM
57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba
Dinh, Tel: 0904 193308

intrepidtravel.com/vietnamsales

Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an


international travel company
operating in Vietnam since
1992, offering innovative day
tours, short breaks and small
group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed
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 Vietnams people, cuisine,
history and culture.
TRAVEL SENSE ASIA
Suite 8, 2nd Floor, 103 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Tel: (04) 3715 3977

kien@travelsense.asia

A homegrown travel agency providing small group


journeys and tailor-made
holidays to Vietnam, Laos,
Cambodia, Myanmar and
Thailand. Voted in Trip Advisors Top 10 of best tours in
Hanoi since 2010.

TRAVEL
SERVICES HCMC
BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY
70-72 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702;
157 Pasteur, Q3, Ho Chi Minh
City, Tel: (08) 3827 9170

buffalotours.com

This premium travel agency


helps travellers select their
destinations and organise
their trips. From corporate
travel to small group tours,
explore the world or Vietnam.
EXO TRAVEL
41, Thao Dien, Q2. Tel (08)
3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19

exotravel.com

A reliable and experienced


travel company operating
through Southeast Asia,
Exotissimo brings you personalized tours across the
region, many including insights into culinary customs,
handicrafts and humanitarian initiatives.
FLIGHT TRAVEL COMPANY
121 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)
3824 7744

flightravelco.com

Flight travel services, including global travel management,


domestic and international air
booking and travel insurance,
to corporate companies, family and individual travelers.
GRASSHOPPER
ADVENTURES
Tel: 0946 704095

grasshopperadventures.com

Escape the bustle with

Southeast Asias top rated


bike tour company. Run guided day tours to the Mekong
Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels.
Also organize longer, two
to 14-day tours throughout
Vietnam.
TERRAVERDE
12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Ward
4, Tan Binh District, Tel: (08)
3984 4754

terraverdetravel.com

If you like cycling through


the Mekong Delta, trekking
in the highlands, or lazing in
a junk on Ha Long Bay all
while making a difference in
peoples lives then this
company will suit you well.
VIETNAM VESPA
ADVENTURE
169A De Tham, Q1, Tel: 01222
993585

vietnamvespaadventure.
com

Vespa Adventure offers


multiday tours of southern
and coastal Vietnam on the
back of a luxury motorbike
powered by clean, renewable
biodiesel. English-speaking
tour guides lead the way.

TRAVEL SERVICES
ELSEWHERE
BACK OF THE BIKE TOURS
Tel: (08) 6298 5659

backofthebiketours.com

Offer motorbike tours combined with the finest street


food to give customers a
truly immersive Vietnamese
experience.
BEENINASIA.COM

beeninasia.com
info@beeninasia.com

Online travel in Southeast


Asia. Offers you selection
of best hotels and great
tours. Create your own trip
or we can tailor make your
itinerary.
TU TRAVEL
60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City,
Tel: 0713 752436

tutrangtravel-mekongfeeling.vn

Want to set up non-standard


tours in the Mekong with
local guides whove got extensive local knowledge? This
might be the place to contact.

May 3rd - Oct 31st

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 135

DESTINATION ZERO
LA VERANDA

a Veranda smells like lemongrass.


It feels like the home of French
aristocrats in 19th-century Vietnam.
Fitting, as this Accor-managed, fourstar resort on a private strip of Phu Quocs
Duong Dung Beach was built 12 years ago
by a French-Indochine family with four
generations of history in Southeast Asia.
The resorts 70 rooms face west onto the
Gulf of Thailand, which translates into
idyllic tropical sunsets.
You will instantly understand what it
feels like to be a person that uses words
like veranda, enjoys freshly baked
croissants at the breakfast buffet, and sips

136 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

handcrafted cocktails in the sea breeze at


night. And though its easy for these kinds
of treatments to feel too lofty, La Veranda
manages to keep a foot on the ground.
Its the little things that make this place
cozy. Like the kind face that delivers
homemade cookies to your door at 7pm, just
to say goodnight. You can take a lavender
bath in your clawfoot tub, then have a drink
in your own personal backyard, enclosed by
greenery and bright birds of paradise. Even
the landscaping here is intimate. All the
walkways are nestled between tall stalks and
bushes, so your walks across the grounds are
secluded and peaceful.

Once you find your way through the


maze of natural hallways, youll encounter
a saltwater pool rippling in the multicoloured blues of its beautifully-tiled
bottom, just a hop and a skip from the
ocean. A sprawling manor next door houses
the bar and the Pepper Tree, La Verandas
in-house gourmet dining restaurant,
where you can lounge on a wide terrace in
candelight, listening to a Filipino band play
against the backdrop of waves crashing on
the beach. Its lavish, in an elegant way.

Intimacy
Hidden about the grounds are quiet spaces

PHOTOS BY TRUNG DEL

where couples can romance. The staff are


happy to set up intimate dinners or private
celebrations. One man even secretly packed
his wifes wedding dress and surprised
her with a renewal of their vows on one of
these secluded lawns. The resort houses a
functional secret garden too, where they
grow organic vegetables that guests can
pick for their cooking classes, cocktails and
salads.
Focused on creating memorable
moments, La Veranda has tailored plans
for family time in the summer season. Their
Very Important Kids (VIK) programme
aims to make 12-and-under guests feel

special, with kid-friendly welcome drinks,


mother-daughter manicures, miniaturesized resort robes, and even a teddy bear
turn-down service. Games of giant checkers
on the lawn and a Junior Executive Suite
equipped with toys and game consoles will
keep the VIKs entertained, so parents can
hit the spa or the sand.
A great place if youre in need of a
recharge, this summer will also see
a specialised programme focused on
wellness and relaxation. Every day at 8am,
you can wake up with seaside yoga, then
relax with a neuromuscular spa treatment,
and learn to connect with couples touch

therapy workshops. For dinner, the


resort puts on a rotation of themes, like
churrasco night, or a Vietnamese street
food buffet.
The best thing about La Veranda, though,
is its atmosphere. Its all carefully curated to
give you the sort of memories that feel like
a bygone era, and look like movie stills in
your mind. Jesse Meadows
For more info on MGallery by Sofitel,
La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc, go to
laverandaresorts.com. To find out about their
Inspired Summer packages, click on the special
offers button on the top left-hand corner of the
homepage

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 137

THE MOTORBIKE DIARIES


PART 14: SCIENCE FICTION LANDS OF INDIA

Matt and Nemo pass


through some of the
highest mountain passes in
the world, in North-West
Indias Jammu & Kashmir
region
DAY 247
Manali to Manali
Its a bit chilly, but what an awesome drive.
Such blue sky, snowy peaks ahead and
driving through those pine tree forests, in
morning light, incredible. And its only been
25km when I run into a check-post. And the
army guys wont let me through.
A drive back to town; a day wasted on
busy bureaucratic trivialities. And I did
get the permit in the end, but Im just so
bummed. Second go is never as exciting as
the first time. And I really was in my zone.

DAY 248
Onwards
I have to pass the check-post before 6am,
another dumb rule. And seven layers of warm
clothing on my back but Im freezing. Would
be useful to have a winter jacket, but I parted
with mine months ago in Lao to lighten my
load... Come on sun, warm things up.
Such landscapes. Humbling. Unreal.

138 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

And it changes behind every mountain.


First those pine trees. Then the valley. Then,
archetypal Himalayas. Soon enough, a vast,
rocky, high-altitude desert. Some stretches
its Middle Earth, some stretches its Dune.
And the road is already closed for the
season. No petrol for another 350km, no
people aside from an occasional army
tent and a few trucks every now and then
passing by. Im stopping every 10km to hug
my engine for warmth, crying in pain as my
frozen fingers thaw again.
By evening, I may as well have gone a few
million years back in time. My mind plays
images of epic dinosaur battles in the canyon
below my cliff-edge camping spot, a fruitless
if subconscious attempt to distract myself
from the uncontrollable cold shivers.

DAY 249
and Onwards
I have never been this cold in my entire life.
Stopped by an army check-post. Hand too

frozen to hold a pen. The guy has to fill out


whatever paper he needs for me.
And I cross this 5,500m high mountain
pass, cold and sick from altitude, my body
convulsing, my vision triple and blurry and
the sun hiding behind the clouds.
And I want to tell the world: Hey, Im
still here. Im small and vulnerable. In
this vast, magical and mighty place, where
its only Him and me, He seems to have
forgotten...

DAY 250
Leh
A 500m walk to the mysterious, ancient
Palace. And I take an hour, stopping every
few steps like an old man, out of breath. This
altitude is killing me.
Afternoon. I find a little, peaceful donkey
sanctuary on the outskirts of town. Ah,
such friendly, pleasant beings they are. This
connection with animals, it always draws
out a profound reaction in me. Im not good

with humans. I prefer the company of less


violent and opinionated creatures.

DAY 253
Scam-Fam
After the mystical lands of Ladakh, my
expectations for Kashmir are pretty high.
Not that its not impressive, but Kashmir
is more populated and the landscapes
of Ladakh were simply more ah those
landscapes of Ladakh were unreal.
The summer capital of Srinagar. Im
greeted with posters of Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad and anti-American banners
quoting Ayatollah Khamenei. The town
and architecture here seems more like
what I imagine Pakistan, Afghanistan
or the other Stans may look like. Pretty
awesome, though the day and night Islamic
lamentations and dark-clothed processions
in the streets are a bit of a drag.
And I want to like it. But I get stuck in an
awkward arrangement, invited over by a

seemingly friendly family who, its become


pretty clear, run a scam business preying on
unknowing foreigners. I see through it but
now am getting shunned and cant wait till
the morning to leave.

DAY 256
Jammu
Theres an elephant outside my window.
And I spend a good 15 minutes chatting with
and trying to comfort him. Warts on his feet
and the rough rope around his back grinding
into his skin. Not that he seems mistreated,
apparently cared for by a local temple, but
I feel such pain for those majestic creatures
being used for Mans selfish purposes.
Theres an old Royal Palace in town,
overgrown and in disrepair. And I get such
a rush visiting these places. Old, luxurious,
colonial 1800s architecture. Faded, peeling
paint; part-collapsed, now-moss-covered
staircases. Kids play cricket outside and
somewhere I see a photograph of a royal

ceremony taking place in this very ballroom


long ago, now merely a distant memory of
times long gone.
To end the day, a Hindu festival. Three
tall paper effigies rise high above a huge
crowd in a city square. Firecrackers go off,
fireworks shoot out and one by one, the
effigies of the Hindu demons are engulfed
in flames, marking the victory of good over
evil. Almost like Burning Man, but without
the hipsters.

DAY 262
Goodbye India.
And Ive completed the loop. And Ive
covered so much distance. And I dont know
when it passed. A days visit to Amritsar and
its Golden Temple and with three days left
on the visa, passing through Dharamsala, a
hello to the Dalai Lama, Im off to Nepal.
For more on Matts films and travels, check
out the Etherium Sky production blog at www.
EtheriumSky.com/ProdBlog

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 139

Hanoi

Day Tripper: Hanoi / The Alchemist / The Therapist / Student Eye / Bar Stool / Top Eats / Medical Buff
Photo by Trung Del

140 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Hanoi
Essentials

ALTERNATIVE HEALTH
A-ROAMING
BODYWORKER

gkaren@a-roamingbodyworker.com
a-roamingbodyworker.com

Provides various holistic


healing modalities. Services
include craniosacral therapy,
deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, healing stones
massage, as well as energy
healing including Reiki and
Jin Shin Jyutsu. Workshops
are also available.
HANOI HOLISTIC
HEALTH GUIDE

issuu.com/hanoiholistichealth

A guide to various holistic


health practitioners in Hanoi.
Only available online, but a
great information source.

M M M
BOOKSHOPS
BOOKWORM
BOOK SHOP

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3715 3711; 1/28 Nghi
Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04)
3829 2322
Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanois 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. Has a second shop in Tay Ho

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP


VIETNAM (BBGV)
193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung
Tel: (04) 6674 0945

HANOI OIS

THINGS OF SUBSTANCE

NETBALL CLUB

AUSTRALIAN-STYLE UNISEX

The chamber of commerce


for all things relating to the
UK and British-born expats
living in the capital. Puts on
monthly networking events,
gala dinners, fundraising
events and much more.

FRENCH CULTURAL CENTRE

bbgv.org

CCIFV
Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh
Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715
2229

ccifv.org

EUROCHAM
G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1
Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel:
(04) 3715 2228

eurochamvn.org

ICHAM
Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1
Thanh nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3715 2229

icham.org

SINGAPORE BUSINESS
ASSOCIATION VIETNAM
Business Center Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh

sbav-hanoi.org

M M M
CINEMAS
CINEMATHEQUE
ARTS CINEMA

23/67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3726 4896

22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3936 2648
Not a movie theatre 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 and opera
from all over the world. Call
to arrange membership.

TRANG TIEN BOOKSTORE

M M M

LIBRAIRIE FRANAISE
DE HANOI
FRENCH BOOKSHOP

VIETNAMESE & ENGLISH BOOKS

44 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3936 2151

CLUBS & SOCIETIES

XUNHASABA

AMERICAN CLUB

ENGLISH LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE

EVENT SPACE

32 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3825 4068

M M M
BUSINESS GROUPS
AMCHAM
4th Floor, InterContinental
Hanoi,
1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
3934 2790

amchamhanoi.com

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

auschamvn.org

21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3824 1850
GOETHE INSTITUT
GERMAN CULTURAL CENTRE

58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh


Tel: (04) 3734 2251

goethe.de/hanoi

HANOI INTERNATIONAL
THEATRE SOCIETY (HITS)
THEATRE GROUP

hitshanoi.com
HANOI CLUB
COUNTRY CLUB

76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3823 8115

thehanoiclub.com

hanoinetball@gmail.com
LESPACE
24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:
(04) 3936 2164

vphanoi-lespace.com

M M M
CLOTHING
BOO SKATESHOP

5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3828 6965
This shops motto Western
sizes, Vietnamese prices,
says it all. While mostly retailing womens 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
mens shirts.

SKATESHOP

THREE TREES

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3923 1147

JEWELLERY

booskateshop.com

CHULA
43 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho; 24 Ly
Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem
Tel: 0904 258960

chulafashion.com

The work of Spanish couple


Laura and Diego, this homegrown Hanoi brand describes
themselves as creating wearable art. Designing pieces
that are trendy, elegant,
Western and yet distinctly
Asian, their shop and arts
space focuses on lifestyle,
with regular events and
more.
CONTRABAND

GEORGES FASHION BOUTIQUE

AIR ASIA
airasia.com

15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3928 8725

M M M

AIR FRANCE
airfrance.com.vn

COOKING CLASSES
HANOI COOKING CENTRE
COOKING CENTRE

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3715 0088

hanoicookingcentre.com

Hanoi Cooking Centre is a


school, retail outlet and caf,
where you can find classes
on not just Vietnamese
cooking, but international
cuisine, held in a beautiful
setting. They also offer culinary tours.

CONTEMPORARY WESTERN-STYLE

23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3928 9891
Launched in Hanoi in 2007,
Contraband targets young
hip working women. Garments are made from versatile fabrics that are comfortable to wear and easy to look
after making them ideal for
work and travel. New styles
are introduced each month
with limited production runs,
offering a sense of exclusivity.

AIRLINES

HIDDEN HANOI
COOKING CENTRE

147 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel:


0912 254045

hiddenhanoi.com.vn

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.

M M M
CRAFTS & FURNITURE

CATHAY PACIFIC
cathaypacific.com/vn
CHINA AIRLINES
china-airlines.com
JAPAN AIRLINES
vn.jal.com
JETSTAR PACIFIC
jetstar.com/vn/en
KOREAN AIR
koreanair.com
LAO AIRLINES
laoairlines.com
MALAYSIA
AIRLINES
malaysiaairlines.com

CONTEMPORARY WESTERN-STYLE

36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 6233
With new styles arriving in
store every second day, this
shop offers a huge range of
dresses, shirts, pants, skirts
and accessories in local and
imported fabrics. Clothes fit
all sizes, from petite to average to the generous figure.
Alterations and a made-tomeasure service are available at no extra cost.

BETTERWORLD
GLOBAL HANDICRAFTS

8 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho


Fair trade or bought directly
from the artisans who made
them, Betterworld stocks
unusual handicrafts from
around the world as well as
second-hand books, DVDs
and more.
MEKONG QUILTS
HANDMADE / CHARITABLE QUILTS

LATELIER
WOMENS WEAR & ACCESSORIES

33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 6758

ateliervietnam.com

Stocks womens wear, leather bags, shoes and handicrafts. This chic boutique offers both ready-to-wear and
made-to-fit clothing.

9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3926 4831; 58 Hang
Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04)
3824 4607; 13 Hang Bac, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 4831

Mekong-quilts.org

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

SINGAPORE
AIRLINES
singaporeair.com
THAI AIRWAYS
thaiairways.com.vn
TIGER AIRWAYS
tigerair.com
VIETJETAIR
vietjetair.com
VIETNAM
AIRLINES
vietnamairlines.com

Hanoi
Essentials

several locations around


the region, the shop employs women in rural areas,
enabling them to make an
income and care for their
families.

Tel: (04) 3928 5190

artvietnamgallery.com

Duan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04)


3941 2789

Established in 2002, this


American-run gallery has
championed Vietnamese
contemporary art for more
than two decades. Holds
regular exhibitions and artist talks.

Daloc.vn

DONS TAY HO

MANZI

BICYCLE RENTALS

GALLERY & BAR / CAFE

16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3719 3719

14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3716 3397

Stocks organic vegetables


from Sapa, Soc Son and Dalat; seafood from Hai Phong
and Quang Ninh; Norwegian
salmon and highlands pork
and beef. Also offers foreign
spices and convenience
store products from Japan
and Thailand. Free delivery
for any purchase above
VND400,000.

CYCLING

Dons-bistro.com

facebook.com/manzihanoi

LINHMART
116, D4 Dormitory, Giang Vo,
Ba Dinh (near Ha Noi Hotel)
Tel: 0936 491136 or 0916
504548

linhmart.com

BICYCLE / MOTORBIKE RENTALS

Founded in 2012, this independent contemporary art


centre holds regular exhibitions, workshops and a wide
range of art events. Manzi
promotes emerging artists
while presenting established artists from Vietnam.
The space also sells works
by leading contemporary
Vietnamese artists at affordable prices.

70 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


0904 244941

NHA SAN COLLECTIVE

KITCHEN ART

GALLERY & ARTS PROJECTS

KITCHENWARE

24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: 0985 870316

38 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


6680 2770

GREEN BIKE
CANNONDALE & JETT STOCKIST

15 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh


IBIKE
SALES

34 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho; 53 Ly


Nam De, Hoan Kiem
QUANS RENTALS

THBC (THE HANOI BICYCLE


COLLECTIVE)
RENTALS & SALES

29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 3156

thbc.vn

DENTAL CARE
AUSTRALIAN
DENTAL CLINIC

nhasanstudio.org

The first experimental art


space in Hanoi, the non-profit, artist-led space has given
contemporary Vietnamese
artists the chance to nurture
their talent and experiment.
Holds regular exhibitions and
artist residences.

DENTAL CLINIC

VIETNAM ARTS MUSEUM

3 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: 0906 200434

NATIONAL ARTS MUSEUM

australiandentalclinic.com
PEACE DENTAL CLINIC
DENTAL CLINIC

2nd floor, 51A Nguyen Khac


Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715
2286

peacedentalclinic.wordpress.
com

Packexim Building Tower 1,


23rd Floor, No. 49 Lane 15, An
Duong Vuong, Tay Ho

serenitydentalclinic.com

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC


DENTAL CLINIC

2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51


Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
3710 0555

westcoastinternational.com

The Westcoast International


Dental Clinic is composed
of dental professionals who
deliver modern, high-level
dental services throughout
Vietnam. The clinic provides
the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service
care to patients.

GALLERIES
ART VIETNAM GALLERY
GALLERY & EXHIBITION SPACE

24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,

142 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Hanoigourmet.com

kitchenart.vn
L'S PLACE

A place to work. A space to


create. Somewhere to see
something new. Work Room
Four is pulling together the
threads of creative endeavours across Hanoi. A collective that promotes collaboration and new ideas,
exhibitions, workshops, artist studios, courses, contacts
and events.

GROCERIES & LIQUOR

GROCERIES / DELI

First Floor, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay


Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 4487

LAN SALON
Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien,
Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3266 8190

HOSPITALS
& MEDICAL CLINICS
AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC
CLINIC (ACC)

acc.vn/en

ACC provides effective chiropractic, physiotherapy


and foot care treatments
through the use of cutting
edge technology for back,
neck and knee pain, sports
injuries as well as all types of
foot related problems.
BUMRUNGRAD
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

NATURALLY VIETNAM

HANOI OFFICE OF BANGKOK


HOSPITAL

ORGANIC / NATURAL PRODUCTS

4 Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc


Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6674
4130

THE OASIS
ITALIAN DELI

24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3719 1196
WESTERN CANNED FOODS
GROCERY STORE

17 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3934 3854
VEGGIES
GROCERIES, FRUIT & VEG

99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3719 4630
THE WAREHOUSE
WINE RETAILER

59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3928 7666; 27 Xuan
Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718
3701

warehouse-asia.com

HAIRDRESSERS
& SALONS

DA LOC

DINH HAIR SALON

WINE RETAILER

HAIR SALON

96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 2076; 65 Le

2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0987


718899

GARDEN
SHOPPING
CENTER

The Manor,
Me Tri Street,
My Dinh, Tu Liem
Tel: (04) 3787 5500

INDOCHINA
PLAZA

241 Xuan Thuy,


Cau Giay, Hanoi,
Tel: 1900 555596

LOTTE CENTER

54 Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3333 6016

lottecenter.com.vn
PARKSON

bumrungrad.vn

Viet Tower Plaza,


198 Tay Son, Dong Da
Tel: (04) 3537 8666

JAPAN INTERNATIONAL
EYE HOSPITAL (JIEH)

229 Tay Son, Dong Da,


Tel: (04) 6682 0400

136G Tran Vu, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3715 3717

RED APRON
10 Da Tuong, Hanoi Tel: (04)
3943 7226; 28 Xuan Dieu, Tay
Ho. Tel: (04) 3719 8337

SHOPPING
MALLS

TOP-END SALON

3 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3719 9911

M M M
ANNAM GOURMET

48A Ly Thuong Kiet , Hoan


Kiem, Tel: 04 3939 3907

GROCERY SHOP

ARTS STUDIO & GALLERY

workroomfour.com

WOMENS HAIRDRESSER

44 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (4) 3265 6888

WINE RETAILER

DENTAL CLINIC

JUST.IN.M

6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3943 1009

Maintains and promotes


the treasures of Vietnamese
cultural and artistic heritage, allowing visitors to appreciate and understand the
entire history of Vietnamese
fine arts.
WORK ROOM FOUR

162A Hoang Hoa Tham, Tay


Ho, Tel: (04) 3847 3366

CHIROPRACTORS & PHYSIOTHERAPISTS

naturallyvietnam.com

vnfam.vn

UNISEX HAIR & NAIL SALON

DELI / WINE SHOP

66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3733 2131

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

HANOI GOURMET

HAIR STREAM

parkson.com.vn
PICO MALL

INTERNATIONAL EYE HOSPITAL


32 Pho Duc Chinh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi,
Tel: (04) 3715 3666

jieh.vn

JIEH is a 100% Japaneseinvested eye hospital. Using


the latest technology and
built according to Japanese
standards, the facility is the
first in Vietnam to use Mel
90 (Carl Zeiss - Germany),
and is one of first three eye
hospitals in the country
using Visumax (Carl Zeiss
- Germany) for refractive
surgery. Top-end customer
service and a friendly, contemporary environment add
to the mix.

FAMILY MEDICAL
PRACTICE
MEDICAL

298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3843 0748

vietnammedicalpractice.com
On the little street directly
below Kim Ma, with all sorts
of specialists including OB/
GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A
Medium-sized practice with
both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are

SYRENA
SHOPPING
CENTER

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3719 7214

TRANG TIEN
PLAZA

cnr. Hang Bai and


Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi

trangtienplaza.vn
VINCOM
CITY TOWERS

191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba


Trung, Tel: (04) 3974
9999

VINCOM
ROYAL CITY

72A Nguyen Trai,


Thanh Xuan, Tel: (04)
3974 3550

used to treating expats. Also


a 24-hour emergency service.
FRENCH HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Tel:


(04) 3577 1100

hfh.com.vn

HONG NGOC HOSPITAL


PRIVATE GENERAL HOSPITAL

55 Yen Ninh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)


3927 5568; Keangnam Office
Tower, Khu B1 Pham Hung,
Cau Giay, Tel: (04) 7305 8880

hongngochospital.vn

INTERNATIONAL SOS
24-HOUR CLINIC
MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3934 0666

Internationalsos.com

Well-known medical clinic


also known for its quality
emergency services. Doctors
and consultants also provide
a range of services from
standard GP-style check-ups
through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.
VIETNAM-KOREA FRIENDSHIP CLINIC
KOREAN CLINIC & HOSPITAL

12 Chu Van An, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3843 7231
VINMEC INTERNATIONAL
HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

458 Minh Khai, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3974 3556

vinmec.com

M M M
INSURANCE
IF CONSULTING
CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3936 5370

insuranceinasia.com

LIBERTY INSURANCE
16th Floor, Hoa Binh International Towers, 106 Hoang
Quoc Viet, Cau Giay
Tel: (04) 3755 7111

libertyinsurance.com.vn

REGENCY INTERNATIONAL
INSURANCE
5th Floor, Press Club, 59A Ly
Thai To, Hoan Kiem
Tel: 0966 857 488

M M M
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOLS
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL, HANOI
Hoa Lan Road, Vinhomes
Riverside, Long Bien, Tel: (04)
3946 0435

bishanoi.com

A selective, independent,
co-educational day school.
Provides a British-style
education following the

National Curriculum for England, with students taking


IGCSE and A Level. Pending
authorization, will offer the
IB programme from 2016
onwards.
CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI
CMC Building, Duy Tan, Cau
Giay, Tel: (04) 3795 8878

concordiahanoi.org

A non-profit entity, Concordia has highly performing


schools in both Hong Kong
and Shanghai at the top tier
of the educational system.
All instructors and teachers
are native English speakers
and admission applications
are accepted throughout
the year.
HANOI INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL
48 Lieu Giai , Ba Dinh, Tel:
(04) 3832 8140

hisvietnam.com

With schooling available


for students studying at
elementary through to secondary levels of education,
HIS is one of the few private,
international education options in the capital. Offers
Cambridge IGCSE and IB
Diploma for students at the
secondary level.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
OF VIETNAM
6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai
Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong,
Hoang Mai, Tel: 3540 9183

QSI International School of


Hanoi is next in a long line
of quality schools established by the Quality Schools
International. The institution
specialises in instructing preschool and lower elementary
age students.

for its students to emerge as


responsible stewards of our
global society and natural
environment.

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL


2D Van Phuc Diplomatic
Compound, 46 Van Bao, Ba
Dinh, Tel (04) 3726 1601;
Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho,
Tel (04) 3758 2664; Road 2,
Gamuda Gardens, Km 4.4
Phap Van, Hoang Mai, Tel
(04) 6666 1818

ANH DUNG

HANOI RENTING

MOTORBIKE RENTALS

RENTALS

37 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


0915 066096

No. 809, Ct13b building, Lac


Long Quan, Tay Ho
Tel: (04) 6294 4828

Provides an international
education for students from
primary up to university level. A strong curriculum provides core subjects from the
Singaporean and Vietnamese
curricula, as well as specialist programmes from Britain, America and Canada, all
taught by qualified teachers.

PHUNG MOTORBIKE

kinderworld.net/sis

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS)


G9 Ciputra, Lac Long Quan,
Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551

unishanoi.org

Established in 1988, 1,050


students from 60 nationalities follow the IB
programme from aged 3
through to aged 18. A notfor-profit entity, UNIS aims

MOTORBIKE RENTAL
& REPAIRS

MR CAO
MOTORBIKE RENTAL
MOTORBIKE RENTALS

106 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: 0912 094464
MOTORBIKE RENTALS

13 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3938 1105
VIP BIKES SOCIAL
ENTERPRISE
RENTALS & REPAIRS

17 Ve Ho, Xuan La, Tay Ho,


Tel: 0914 931390
Trains disadvantaged youth
to be fully qualified, Australian-certified motorbike
mechanics. Does sales, restoration, repairs and rentals.

PROPERTY RENTALS
FAIR REAL ESTATE
RENTALS

6 Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)

3718 6332

fair-realestate.com
GIA LONG HOUSING
RENTALS

R714, Blg CT13B Ciputra, Tay


Ho, Tel: (04) 3743 0589

gialonghousing.com

hanoirenting.com

LANLINH PROPERTY
RENTALS

38 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: Tel: 0933 534999

houseinhanoi.com

VIETLONG HOUSING
RENTALS

21 Alley 1/22 Au Co, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3718 5203

vietlonghousing.com

M M M
RELOCATION AGENTS
ALLIED PICKFORDS
Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan
Huong, Tel: (04) 3943 1511

vn.alliedpickfords.com

The largest home moving


company in the world, Allied
Pickfords moves over 1,000
families in over 175 countries
every day. Has a full range of
services domestic moves,

isvietnam.org

A not-for-profit, pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 school


serving the international
and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of
any nationality aged 3 and
up. Highly qualified and
experienced international
educators are supported by
a 21st-century campus with
the latest in educational
technology plus excellent
resources for learning. Class
sizes are small.
KINDERWORLD INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN
Unit 9 10, Shophouse CT17,
Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel (04) 3743
0306; 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba
Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel (04)
3934 7243; C5 C11, 1st floor,
The Manor Building, My Dinh,
Tu Liem, Tel (04) 3764 0209

kinderworld.net

Classes are kept small with


a foreign teacher leading the
class with the assistance of a
Vietnamese teacher according to the 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: (04) 3718 6418

hanoi.qsi.org

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 143

DAY TRIPPER: HANOI


THE BUDDHIST MOUNTAIN RETREAT

Billy Gray strikes east


out of Hanoi to Yen Tu, a
Buddhist complex on the
road to Halong

hen I decided to escape


Hanoi for some clean air, a
friend of mine suggested Yen
Tu Mountain home to a
Buddhist meditation retreat hidden in the
mountains about 120 kilometres east of
Hanoi.
Waking up at 5.30am, myself and our
photographer, Trung, set off at the crack
of dawn for a three-hour drive to Nui Yen
Tu, equipped with a camera, a bottle of
water, a notepad and half a dozen Kinh
Do chocolate banh mi. Our drive took us

144 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

along Highway 18 towards Halong City,


a mix and match of busy towns, dusty
tarmac and the occasional curious buffalo
on the side of the road. About halfway
there we encountered a grandiose victory
monument and stopped to take some
photos and a well-needed break from
driving.
By the time we finally reached the
mountains, Trung had sped ahead and in
trying to catch up with him on the winding
roads meandering into the hills I was for
a moment oblivious to the astonishing

scenery unfolding around us.


Littered all around are small trails
leading from the road to ornate bridges
and then into little temples covered by the
uninterrupted canopy; and not another
person in sight. We reached the base of the
mountain path, parked our bikes and set
out on foot to the first leg of the ascent.

A Feast For Road-Sore Eyes


The mountain is home to a number of
impressive temples, in fact, there is
so much there that its impractical to

PHOTOS BY TRUNG DEL

think you could see it all in one visit. A


sprawling complex of pagodas, waterfalls
and untouched forest are connected by
a stone staircase that meanders up the
mountain like an artery.
At the peak of the kilometre-high
mountain is Dong Pagoda. Built in 2006,
the structure is made entirely from bronze
and weighs 70 tons. The craftsmanship
is truly something to behold, especially
when trying to imagine how the
materials to build it were carried there.
The atmosphere around the pagoda is

one of calm and reflection; traditional


music plays gently in the background
while Buddhist pilgrims pray and
make offerings. A heavy mist wraps
itself around the rocks surrounding the
bronze masterpiece and faint smoke from
burning incense lingers among solemn
faces.
Yen Tu Mountain is definitely worth
a day trip. If the thought of hiking up a
mountain intimidates you then fear not,
theres a cable car that takes you directly to
the top for VND120,000. I just wish wed

known that before we climbed halfway up


under the midday sun.

Getting There
From Hanoi head north towards Noi Bai
Airport on AH14. Turn right onto QL18 and
follow the road for 90km until you reach
Duc Chinh. At Duc Chinh turn left onto
TL326 and follow for 30km before turning
left onto Yen Tu. The journey takes around
three hours. Buses are also available.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 145

THE ALCHEMIST
BODY INTELLIGENCE

se your head, weve been


urged when dealing with
analytical problem solving,
but as humans we tend to
over-use our heads. Our lives contain
more than mental equations. We are also
emotional beings, and emotions are felt
in the body.
Recognizing that our intelligence is not
only coming from the brain in our head and
that we have multiple sources of wisdom
allows us to better understand how we are
wired.

Put Your Heart Into It


Recent studies show that the heart is more
than a mere pump and has a major role
in forming our human consciousness.
Researchers have been exploring the role the
heart plays in creating emotional experience
and accessing intuition. It has been
discovered that the heart sends significantly
more signals to the brain than the brain
sends to the heart, and that our emotions are
reflected in the hearts rhythmic patterns.
The nervous system within the heart
enables it to learn, remember, and make

146 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

functional decisions independent of the


brains cerebral cortex. Furthermore,
research has demonstrated that the signals
the heart continuously sends to the brain
influence the function of higher brain
centres involved in perception, cognition
and emotional processing.
To illustrate the hearts far-reaching
power, researchers theorize that the hearts
autonomic functioning and intelligence is
the explanation for memory and personality
transfer in heart-transplant recipients.

That Gut Feeling


The enteric nervous system, (ENS),
embedded in the wall of the gut, works
independently and in conjunction with
the brain. The ENS controls digestion and
plays an important role in our physical
and mental wellbeing.
Like the heart, the information flow
between the gut and the brain is mostly
one-way, from the gut to the brain.
Scientific evidence suggests that the
chemicals and nerves in the gut likely
influence our emotions. For example,
95 percent of the bodys serotonin, a

BY KAREN GAY

neurotransmitter contributing towards


feelings of wellbeing, is found in the gut.
The chemicals and nerves in the gut
partly determine our mental wellbeing.
Needless to say, our diet directly affects our
mental and emotional state.

The Trinity
Recent scientific studies are now
providing evidence to suggest that human
consciousness emerges from the brain and
the body acting together, thus pointing to a
holistic model of body intelligence.
The direct links between the brain, the
heart and the gut indicate an intricate
whole-body phenomenon long known to
metaphysical and natural healers.
This brings to light an expanded and
deepened awareness of our consciousness;
of the bodys internal physiological,
emotional and mental processes; and
allows for a greater sense of self-awareness
and understanding.
Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is
a holistic health practitioner practicing in
Hanoi. For information on the types of services
provided, visit a-roamingbodyworker.com

Hanoi

office moves and storage


both inside and outside of
Vietnam.
JVK INDOCHINA MOVERS
6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel:
(04)3826 0334

jvkasia.com

Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods,


JVK is currently a leader in
the field. Has offices in both
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Essentials

AGS FOUR WINDS


41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel:
(04) 3938 8762

agsfourwinds.com

A worldwide leader in international removals and relocations, with 130 offices


globally. Have the capacity to
move property to and from
any location.

MMM
SPORTS, FITNESS
& YOGA
ELITE FITNESS
TOP-END HEALTH CENTRE

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 6281

elitefitness.com.vn

The luxury gym features


top-of-the-line fitness
equipment, separate cardio
and spinning areas and an
indoor swimming pool with
a retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural
light make it a welcoming
place to squeeze in a work
out, but be prepared to pay.
This place is top of the range.
N SHAPE FITNESS
MID-RANGE FITNESS CENTRE

5th Floor, 71 Nguyen Chi


Thanh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
6266 0495

nshapefitness.vn
SANTA FE
RELOCATION SERVICES
Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805

STUDIO FIVE

With over 150 offices around


the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving,
pet transportation, relocation
services including home
search, orientation, cultural
training, immigration services and records management.

VIETCLIMB

santaferelo.com

YOGA & WELLNESS

5th Fl, 135 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai


Ba Trung. Tel: (04) 6263.1515

studio5.vn

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 childrens
events. Membership and
group rates are available,
but be sure to check out the
three-month pass.

vietclimb.vn

Although a little hard to find,


VietClimb is a French-owned,
200-meter climbing gym

SKATING EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3923 1147

bosua.vn

HANOI SPORTS SHOP


146, Mai Dich, Cau Giay, Tel:
(04) 2218 5757

hanoisport.vn

ZENITH YOGA & CAF


YOGA & NUTRITION

247 Au Co, Tay Ho; 62 Ly


Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem; Tel:
0904 356 561

zenithyogavietnam.com

The oldest and most professional Yoga Studio in


Hanoi, Zenith offers a vast
variety of classes and levels
in Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa,
Ashtanga and Pilates while
also offering Restorative,
Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga,
Meditation sessions, and
Kundalini classes. Also have
a yogic shop offering incense,
clothes and yoga props, as
well as a caf serving up the
homemade vegetarian meals,
cakes and coffee.

MMM
SPORTSWEAR
& EQUIPMENT

CLIMBING CENTRE

40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho,


Tel: 0914 143185

BOO SKATESHOP

SCORE-TECH
44, Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:
(04) 3718 8246

score-tech.net

Apparel company offering personalised sport


garments for companies,
schools and professional
sports clubs using the latest
printing technology with a
design team from Barcelona. Score-Tech controls the
whole production process
from fabric production and
printing to sewing. Big and
small orders for all sporting
and commercial needs.

UMOVE TRAVEL
AND OUTDOORS
TRAVEL EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING

ADIDAS FOOTBALL
FOOTBALL & SPORTS

19 Nui Truc, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)


6273 3095

13 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3771 3305

umove.com.vn

SUPERMARKETS
BIG C
222 Tran Duy Hung,
Cau Giay;
Garden Shopping
Centre, The Manor,
My Dinh, Tu Liem

bigc.vn
CITIMART
Ground Floor,
Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai
Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3934 2999

FIVIMART
27A Ly Thai To,
Hoan Kiem

INTIMEX
22-23 Le Thai To,
Hoan Kiem

METRO THANG
LONG
Pham Van Dong,
Co Nhue, Tu Liem,
Tel: (04) 3755 1617

PHOTO BY JULIE VOLA

metro.com.vn

THE THERAPIST
TRAPPED

BY DOUGLAS HOLWERDA

Dear Douglas,
Please tell me how to stop worrying. I am
a 25-year-old Vietnamese woman, who
works in Hanoi. My family is from a town
outside of Hanoi. My father is controlling
my life. He is never happy with my
decisions and now I cannot sleep. My
work colleague quit six weeks ago and my
boss still hasnt hired a person to replace
her. I have to do the work of two people
and have no free time for myself. I want
to quit and find another job, but my father
says I should stay where I am. He doesnt
care if I am exhausted and bored with life.
What should I do? How can I have less
stress? I think my future will be unhappy
because I cannot live my own life.
Trapped
Dear Trapped,
I can tell that you are feeling lots of intense
feelings frustration, anger, fear and
helplessness. Those feelings have become
so strong that they are affecting your
ability to sleep, which is something that is
important to feeling OK.
I think you are feeling trapped because
you cant seem to feel more calm and trust
that these problems will find their own
solutions. So the most important thing is
to work on becoming calmer.
Your mind tells you that you have to
solve the problems in order to become
calmer, but I think works the opposite
way. First, work on slowing things down
by acknowledging your feelings of
course you are frustrated and angry. Of
course you are fearful and worried. Of
course you feel helpless when your father
doesnt allow you to make decisions for
yourself or tries to control your life too
much.
We dont want your feelings to be
ignored they are real and come from the
experiences you are having. We only want

148 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

to them to be less intense.


The problem with intense feelings is
that we make decisions to escape from
them. We react to our situation, rather
than respond. There is a difference. When
we react, we make decisions that are often
not well thought out and we sometimes
regret what we have done. When we
respond, this happens when our emotions
are balanced with our thoughts and our
values, and we can trust the decisions
better.
It is important that you take a time-out
from the pressure you are under. Say to
yourself: I cannot make decisions when I
am feeling this stressed, so I will postpone
any decisions for one week
so that I can take the time to
calm down first.
Focus your attention on
things that will help you
relax your mind and body.
Exercise is one important
way to relieve stress. Some
exercises can be done in
short amounts of time even
in your workplace. There are
also guided meditations and
mindfulness trainings that
dont take much time, but
do help you calm your mind
and relax your whole being.

Look on YouTube.
There is a lot we know about what helps
people sleep when they are having a hard
time. Learn what is best to do when you
cannot sleep. It includes how you get
prepared for a nights rest, what you do if
you are lying in bed worrying or having
ruminating thoughts, and what not to do
when you are awake in the night i.e.
watching a video screen.
I suggest you go to meet with a
psychotherapist to help you with all
of this. It might take a few sessions to
understand what triggers your intense
feelings and how you can work towards
a calmer response. It might also include
ways for you to learn how to be more
assertive in the way you represent yourself
to your father or your boss, so that they
can better understand how you feel and
where your limits are.
Everything in life seems to go better
when we are calm. We cannot control what
happens to us, but we can learn to gain a
calmness that helps us to respond in the
best way.
I wish calmness to you,
Douglas
Do you have a question you would like
Douglass help with? You can email him at
douglasholwerda@hotmail.com. Personal
details will not be printed

Hanoi
On the Town

BARS, CLUBS &


BEER CLUBS
+84 BAR
CONTEMPORARY DECOR BAR

23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem

facebook.com/bar84hanoi

Housed in a colonial building, bare brick, comfortable


sofa-like seating and grungy
decor related to a past make
up the mix at this venue put
together by the people behind Barbetta.

EDEN HANOI

MADAKE

SIDEWALK HANOI

THE UNICORN BAR

OUTDOOR PARTY SPACE

BAR & EVENT SPACE

DIY BAR & EVENTS VENUE

COCKTAIL BAR & LOUNGE

End of 264 Au Co, Tay Ho

facebook.com/edengargen

When it comes to outdoor


parties, big outdoor parties,
the setting at Eden makes
this place difficult to beat,
with well over a 1,000 revellers packing in at the weekends. Check out their Facebook page for the party list.
ETE BAR
FRENCH LOUNGE

88 LOUNGE
CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR

88 Xuan Dieu, Tay ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 8029

88group.vn

A wine bar with a difference,


this mainstay on the watering hole scene in West Lake
mixes contemporary design,
black ceilings, subtle lighting
and an international aesthetic with one of the best wine
lists in town. Not surprisingly
it is developing a faithful clientele. Well worth a visit.

95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh,


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

ANGELINA
CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN

Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 56 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 6919
Top-end bar and Italian restaurant all in one. Five star
prices, but has an atmosphere to match and a great
cocktail selection. The kind
of place youll order a wagyu
and eat it at the bar.

FATCAT BAR
DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT

25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


0986 495211

linkhanoi.com

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.

BACKYARD BIA HOI


UPMARKET BIA HOI

15/50 Quang Khanh, Tay Ho


From the Tet Lifestyle collection, this outdoor, hideaway,
garden-based bia hoi is every
bit as attractive (and popular) as its caf peers in the
West Lake area. A Vietnamese-style food menu and
regular live music make up
the mix.
BARBETTA
ARTSY BAR & CAFE

34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3734 9134
Set in a colonial villa, when
it comes to design, the funky
but comfortable Barbetta
with its roof terrace is difficult to beat. A great place
for coffee, beer or even a
bite to eat.
CAMA ATK
MUSIC & ARTS BAR

73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: 01262 054970

cama-atk.com

With well-poured drinks,


a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing
time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be
and thats 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.

HANOI ROCK CITY


LIVE MUSIC VENUE

27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,


Tel: 01633 166170

facebook.com/hrc.hanoi

Has a downstairs, Englishstyle pub garden area and


an upstairs space dedicated
to live music and live production. Weekly live events
feature bands and DJs both
from Vietnam and overseas
established and up and
coming.
HOA VIEN BRAUHAUS
CZECH MICROBREWERY

1A Tang Bat Ho, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3972 5088
LE SOLEIL
DDJ BAR / LATE NIGHT

284 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel:


0915 663993

facebook.com/lesoleilpaoloandchi

Open late, Le Soleil has become a place to be seen,


especially if youre the dancing-into-the-early hours kind
of person. Sofas, bar stools,
menus on blackboards and
neon-coloured lighting,
theres a grunge-style feel to
the place, but its an ambience that Le Soleils customers seem to love. Has a pizza
joint, Paolo and Chi, upstairs.

81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 6276 6665

facebook.com/madakehanoi

With a stunning garden


overlooking a peaceful lotus pond, this bar is famed
for its many weekday and
weekend events, its ambient
Asian-style dcor, DJ nights
and general atmosphere. A
popular West Lake go-to joint.
MAOS RED LOUNGE
LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR

7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3926 3104
Theres only one Mao and
theres only one red lounge.
This late-night bar has been
going for years, and despite
its Old Quarter dive status,
it still packs in the drinkers.
PHUC TAN
LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR

51 Tu Gian Phuc Tan, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: 0915 907785
Now located on the river
in between Long Bien and
Chuong Duong Bridges, this
late night, DJ bar is notorious
for well, being Phuc Tan.
Almost every Hanoi-based
reveler has ended up here
at some point. Its just one
of those places.
POLITE PUB
LONG BAR

5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3825 0959
5pm to 2am
Probably the closest thing
Hanoi has to an authentic
English-style pub, Polite is
frequented by a steady mix
of locals and expats who find
solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, pool
and live football matches.
RED RIVER TEA ROOM
LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE

25 Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho

facebook.com/pages/RedRiver-Tea-Room

Located on the lakeside


lane just below Xuan Dieu,
this warm, quiet and friendly
pub offers a selection of international and local beers,
wine, cocktails and a nice
view of West Lake. Serving
pies and pasties from The
Cart, Vietnamese food from
Dieus next door, or delivery
from nearby favourites. Unpretentious, dog-friendly.
ROCKSTORE
LIVE MUSIC BAR

61 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


01653 336087

facebook.com/RockstoreHanoi

Hanoi's home-made, homegrown version of Hard Rock


Cafe without the stigma and
the expensive prices. Nightly
live music or DJing events are
coupled with creative decor, a
selection of Belgian Beer and
a food menu. Check their Facebook page for details.

199D Nghi Tam, Tay Ho

facebook.com/sidewalkhanoi

A bar and grill with an eclectic, DIY-style semi-outdoor


setting. Regular DJ nights and
live music add to the great
ambience. Check out their
grill fare. Tasty.
SPY BAR
HOLE IN THE WALL

12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: 0932 373802
A cheap, cheerful and welcoming slither of a watering
hole popular with expats and
anyone looking for some
good conversation. Cheap
beers, oodles of Jamesons
and often open late. Oh, and
check out the Danish hotdog
stand out front. To die for.
TADIOTO LOUNGE BAR
AND CAFE
ARTS BAR / EVENT SPACE

24B Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem


tadioto.com
Located close to the Opera
House, this alternative, arty
bar is garnished in red and
white on the outside, with
warm brown and tones of
blue on the inside. Creating an atmosphere merging
Shanghai and San Francisco,
engaging contemporary artwork lines the walls at the
latest incarnation of this wellknown and well-loved space.
THE NEST
VIETNAMESE-STYLE BAR & CLUB

Top Floor, 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay


Ho, Tel: 0947 890333

facebook.com/Nest.
Lounge.09XuanDieu

The West Lake location suggests that this is the kind of


bar that will attract expats.
It does. But thanks to the
Vietnamese atmosphere,
theres a nice mix of local
and foreign over the three
floors of lounge seating, DJ
booths and dance areas.
The views here are pretty
eye-catching, too.
THE REPUBLIC
MODERN SPORTS BAR

7A Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel:


0904 010116

republic.vn

A contemporary mid-range
bar and eatery showing
live sport and boasting a
convivial atmosphere. Has
a creative comfort food
menu, excellent breakfasts,
daily specials and a popular
second-floor outdoor terrace.
THE ROOFTOP
SKYLINE LOUNGE

19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B


Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3946 1901

therooftop.vn

The first up-on-high bar and


restaurant in the capital and
still a leader in its field. With
DJs spinning EDM and great
views of the city, this is a
must for a more Vietnamese,
top-shelf experience.

2A Hang Than, Ba Dinh, Tel:


0904 886266
The latest offering of wellknown champion bartender,
Pham Tien Tiep, Unicorn offers up a lounge space, a
small bar area and an attractive seating space out front.
Now, as for the cocktails
TRACYS PUB AND GRILL
SPORTS BAR/GRILL

114 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 6675 9838

tracyspub.com

A miniscule sports bar on


the main drag of Xuan Dieu
is perpetually crowded with
regulars drinking out front on
plastic stools. Notorious for
its burgers, cooked fresh to
order, Tracys is also famous
for their draft beers, claiming to serve the coldest draft
beer in Hanoi.
VUVUZELA
MODERN BEER HALL

2A Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba


Trung, Tel: (04) 3972 8922

vuvuzela.com.vn

When Vuvuzela opened up,


mixing the Hooters concept
from the US with a beer hall,
drinking food and a DJ booth,
it created the start of a new
scene beer clubs. The original Vuvuzela on Tran Thanh
Tong is still going strong, but
its so popular that its best to
book your table in advance.
For a full list of Hanoi locations, check their website.

CAFES
ANNAM CAFE
DELI / INTERNATIONAL CAFE

Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu,


Tay Ho
A trendy, deli-style caf connected to Annam Gourmet
next door. Bright and fresh
dcor is complemented by
shelves stocked with imported gourmet goods and
cafeteria-style furniture. An
eye-catching temptation for
weary shoppers.
CIAO CAF
RESTO LOUNGE

2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3934 1494
A stones throw from the
shores of Hoan Kiem Lake,
this Saigonese franchise offers a variety of different
western dishes at reasonable
prices. 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.
They also do coffee.
COFFEE BEAN
AND TEA LEAF
INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE

28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3715 4240

coffeebean.com

This American-style chain


cafe is a multilevel, indoor/
outdoor caf overlooking
Westlake. With its LA coffee

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 149

STUDENT EYE
IDENTITY CRISIS

hoosing a single number,


a single image or a single
anything to represent a large
and diverse community was
never an easy task. Perhaps this is
why most democratic elections are so
challenging, be it to realise, to follow
or to compete in. Yet, they are so
intriguing, undeniably magnetising. In
a way, voting and elections satisfy one
of our most basic human needs to voice
ourselves, and in extension, to take part
in moulding a solid identity for our
community.

A Matter of Logos
While the world anxiously peers over the
US primaries votes that will impact
the lives of some 300 million people
one smaller decision was made; the
French School of Hanoi donned a new
official logo! Through an online vote,
almost all students, teachers, staff and
parents clearly stated their positions and
proudly declared their loyalties.
A few clicks and hard choices later, the
result was announced; a blue calligraphyesque version of the temple of literature
will now be ever-present on our walls,
websites and minds. The majority has
spoken; unfortunately I was not part of
it. As the new logo stared at me through

150 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

BY TO THU PHUONG

obligations of everyday Hanoi. Even so,


could it be possible that this moratorium
was only my own self-made illusion?

A Matter of Unity
the computer screen, I stared back and
wondered: where did I go wrong? What
could possibly have caused this discord
between an essential landmark of my
childhood and me?
Let it go, my friends all told me, but
I couldnt; I wanted to understand what
pushed those around me to vote the way
they did. If both wanted the best image
for the school, how could our votes have
altered so much? After all, Cartesian
philosophy clearly says theres only one
real reasonable choice to every problem or
dilemma. Which means either one of two
things; theyre wrong or Im wrong.
What was so hard about voting for
a logo? The obvious criteria was that
it had to embody Le Lyce Franais
Alexandre Yersin, by that I mean the whole
entity, the whole spirit of the school.
To me, the French school has always
been an existence independent of its
surroundings. In its own way, an oasis
where alternative ideas and lifestyles
can blossom, exempt from the invisible

I will soon become obsolete, a thing of


the past; nothing more than another
name on the alumni page of the school.
Maybe the reason why I cant understand
the new choice of logo is because Im no
longer part of the unity? The end of my
days at the French school also happens
to be the beginning of a new chapter for
it; new communication strategies, new
recognitions and a new building on the
way.
One sluggish morning, as I opened
the closet to choose an outfit for one of
the last school days of my life, I reached
for the new school shirt. Made of cotton
and of a simple white and blue colour
combination, it had the new logo printed
right in the centre. Despite it being much
too large for me, I couldnt help but feel
a small sense of pride as I tried it on. I
wore it to school that day, and thought:
perhaps I cant be part of the schools
new identity, but it will always be a big
part of mine.
To Thu Phuong is in Year 12 and is shortly
finishing her studies at the French School of
Hanoi. This will be her last column

Hanoi
On the Town

and office feel, when you


walk in you might just forget
that youre in Hanoi.
CONG CAPHE
LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE

152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba


Trung; 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba
Dinh; 27 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem;
15 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh; 100A
Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

congcaphe.com

With a kitsch, communistdriven theme saturating this


quaint cafe, most patrons
are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats.
Sip on a blended cup of joe
with beans from the Central
Highlands, knock back one of
the many different types of
tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the
Spartan cups in one of the
hippest caf chains in town.
DALICE
BOUTIQUE CAFE

89 Trieu Viet Vuong,


Hai Ba Trung
Put together coffee and cake
and you get one of those
timeless combinations. And
if you really want to binge on
the cake-end, then check out
dAlice and its quirky interior.
Perfect for that more modern
combination of sweet tooth
and iThingy.
DUY TRI

Opera House, 1 Trang Tien,


Hoan Kiem; Hanoi Towers,
49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

highlandscoffee.com.vn

With numerous locations


around town, what originally
started as a fourth-floor joint
overlooking the lake has
become one of the most
popular, home-grown cafes
in Vietnam.
JOMA
COFFEE/BAKERY

22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3747 3388; 43 To
Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
3718 6071

joma.biz

Popular caf with a contemporary western feel to


the counter-style service
and atmosphere. The food
is all there, too: breakfasts,
salads, soups, ice cream,
muffins, cakes, cereals and
bagels. Starting in Laos in
1996, Joma moved to Hanoi
in 2009. Joma contributes 2
percent of each sale to charitable organisations.
KINH DO
PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE

252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3825 0216
One of the longest-running
cafes in town, this hole-inthe-wall, no frills caf-cumrestaurant home-makes its
patisseries and is renowned
for its excellent yoghurt.

HANOI COOKING
CENTRE CAF

PUKU
INTERNATIONAL / CAFE

16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 1745
This spacious spot on Food
Street is open around the
clock, offering 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, especially
late at night.
SAINT HONORE
CAFE / BOULANGERIE

5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3933 2355
This cafe and French-style
boulangerie is best visited
in the morning when that
Gallic, fresh-cooked bakery
aroma hits you as you walk
through the door. The downstairs space is split into the
bakery on one side with a
small non-smoking dining
space on the other. The upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa
seating. Simple but tasty
French and international
fare is served at meal times.
TET DCOR CAF
ART CAF & ESPRESSO BAR

VIETNAMESE CAF

43 Yen Phu, Tay Ho


The longest-running caf in
the capital, this 1936-established, three-floored space is
simplicity at its finest. Even
the coffee here sticks to its
roots its made using the
same blend of Arabica and
Robusta cooked up by its
founders. Unpretentious, endearing and old-fashioned.

and pan-Asian mains.

MANZI ARTSPACE
ARTS CAF & GALLERY

14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3716 3397

Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai,


Tay Ho

tet-lifestyle-collection.com

A stunningly designed contemporary caf and events


space that screams out the
words modern art. Housed in
a converted colonial-era villa, a
continuous flow of exhibitions,
talks, experimental music and
game shows make up the mix
here. Great cuisine, too.

Cloistered among the back


streets of West Lake and
sheltered from the noise of
Xuan Dieu, TET Dcor Caf is
a destination for those who
appreciate lifes pleasures:
coffee, food, art and music.
Simple and unpretentious,
the caf has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel
combined with unique and
inspiring art installations.

MAISON DE TET DCOR

THE HANOI SOCIAL CLUB

LIFESTYLE CAFE

CAF / CONTEMPORARY EATERY

tet-lifestyle-collection.com

facebook.com/thehanoisocialclub

facebook.com/manzihanoi

COURTYARD CAFE

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh


Relax in a leafy courtyard, aircon dining room or under a
covered roof terrace with a
Vietnamese ca phe, Italian
coffee, beer, wine or freshly
squeezed juice. Order from a
seasonally changing menu or
try one of the all-day breakfast
specials for VND110,000, including juice and coffee or tea.
HANOI HOUSE
HIDEAWAY CAFE

2nd Floor, 47A Ly Quoc Su,


Hoan Kiem
Set in a colonial-era building with equally colonialera styled furnishings, this
hidden away family house
caf is one of those gems
synonymous with Hanoi.
Quiet, intimate and simple,
the staff will treat you like
youre a guest in their home.
HIGHLANDS COFFEE
CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN

5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 3228;

36 Tu Hoa, Nghi Tam Village,


Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3823 9722
On-site coffee roasting,
comfortable seating arrangements, rustic style furnishings and dcor, and a focus
on healthy, non-processed
foods. This is the concept
behind Maison de Tet Dcor,
and its a popular one, too,
as witnessed by the size of
the clientele. Also run occasional farmers markets.

6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3938 2117

A cozy midsize caf/restaurant where you can forget


the heat and bustle of Hanoi.
The atmosphere is relaxed
and here you can imagine,
for a second, that youre
sitting in a European caf.
The ood is fresh and internationally inspired, and has
an excellent top-floor terrace.

MOC CAFE

YOLO

CAFE / INTERNATIONAL

FUNKY LIVE MUSIC CAFE

14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


(04) 3825 6334
Set in a slightly run down
colonial villa, the faded but
charmingly run down Frenchstyled 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

32C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh

facebook.com/YoloCoffeeShops

Boasting an abundance of
communal seating, funky decor and a full roster of regular live music performances,
this rollicking caf-slash-bar
has quickly earned a place in
the hearts of Hanois young
and trendy. Fun, unpretentious and unashamedly

quirky, its endearing use of


recycled furniture antiques
and colourful artwork create
a vibrant atmosphere
make for a popular hangout.
Open 24 hours.
ZENITH VEGETARIAN CAFE
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN

247 Au Co, Tay Ho,


Tel: 0904 356561

zenithyogavietnam.com

A vegetarian and vegan cafe


respecting the philosophy of
yoga simple living, mindful
thinking. Using 100 percent
natural ingredients, the cuisine has no additional additives or MSG and is cooked
using the minimal amount
of oil. The stress is instead
on eating whole food in its
natural state.

EAT
AL FRESCOS
AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL

24 Quang An, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3938 1155

alfrescogroup.com

CHOPS
GOURMET BURGER & CRAFT BEER

4 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


6292 1044

chopsvietnam.com

Finally Hanoi has a dedicated


gourmet burger joint, and
this West Lake eatery with its
fan-cooled atmosphere get it
just about right. This is comfort food at its finest. Served
up with locally brewed craft
beer, and this ones a bit of
a winner.
COUSINS
CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL

3 Quang Ba, Tay Ho,


Tel: 01238 670098

facebook.com/cousins.hanoi

A contemporary, Frenchinfluenced restaurant selling international cuisine


at reasonable prices in a
spacious, airy atmosphere.
Blackboards, whitewashed,
bare-brick walls, period tiles,
a well-chosen wine list and an
outdoor terrace overlooking
the lake make up the formula.
DA PAOLO
CLASSIC ITALIAN

AMATO
TAPAS / FRENCH CUISINE

1A Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


01227 367470
Located next to Binh Minh
Jazz Club, Amato is a fusion
tapas bar by night and a
French restaurant during the
day. Tiny, hip and yet surprisingly spacious, Amato offers
an international dining and
drinking experience in the
heart of Hanoi.

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

aulacdobrazil.com

A Brazilian churrascaria
offering all-you-can-eat
grilled meat and seafood on
the skewer. In typical Brazilian rodzio 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.

ASAHI SUSHI
SUSHI RESTAURANT

288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3974 5945

asahisushi.vn
CAF 129

MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD

129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3821 5342
Long-running, slightly incongruous hole-in-the-wall
caf and restaurant that
has served up up a Western
menu since the late 1990s.
Check out their and their excellent breakfasts, all scoffed
down in a traditional, Vietnamese environment.

18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai


Mai, Tay Ho,
Tel: (04) 3718 6317
This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to
the famed lawn chair and
coconut caf on West Lake
has all the right ingredients
to become a classic. Run by
the long time former manager of Luna DAutunno, it
features scrumptious woodfired oven pizzas from
VND120,000 and other Italian
delicacies. Open every day
for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.
DALUVA
FUSION / MIDDLE-EASTERN

33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3718 5831

daluva.com

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, Middle-Eastern
twist, as well as wine, tapas,
events and attractive dcor.
DONS TAY HO
CONTEMPORARY NORTH
AMERICAN

16 Quang An, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3719 3719

Dons-bistro.com

This lake-facing venue with


its top floor Oyster Bar is the
work of charismatic Canadian
restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done
well, the main restaurant
menu includes anything from
wood-grilled rare tuna steak
with fragrant Chinese black
bean beurre noir to gourmet
pizza and pasta dishes Excellent range of imported oysters, great breakfasts and an
extensive wine list.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 151

BAR STOOL
ZONE 17

ecently reopened to cater for


Hanois late-night enthusiasts,
Zone 17 does nine-to-five the
other way around.
Situated on a side road running parallel
to Yen Phu, itd be easy not to notice
the neon sign among the industrial
surroundings of Hanois latest watering
hole. Once inside, Zone 17 gives a gritty
first impression, but sit up at the bar and
youll be greeted by open and friendly
staff, ready to provide relaxed and
comfortable service.
At Zone 17, a nice drink doesnt make
you resent your bank balance ask for
a margarita and youll wait as long as it
takes to make a good margarita, and itll
only set you back VND70,000 the same
price as a standard spirit and mixer. The
beers come in at sober prices too; a glass
of Larue costs VND30,000, and theyre not
shy about advertising promotions for all
your favourite poison.

From Dusk Til Dawn Via Spy Bar


With the weekend taking the brunt of the
business, the dance-floor is big enough
to cater to a Saturday night crowd.
Regular events keep the calendar busy;
anyone who was present for their St.
Patrick's Day party can testify that they
know how to get the place going. In
May, UK hip-hop pioneer Jam Baxter has
chosen the venue to film the video to an
upcoming single from his latest album.
If weekdays are more suited to you then
you have the option to choose your own
music and take bets on the pool table in a
more down-tempo atmosphere.
The sound system will leave your ears
ringing after a night of deep house and
old-school tunes, and on weekends before
the 5am atxi home the late-night barbeque
will fill the hole in your gut before heading
to bed.
On the word of taxis, if you find
yourself outside Spy Bar in the Old
Quarter around 11pm, you might notice
some stragglers excitedly boarding a bus
Zone 17 have arranged for buses to
ferry weekend troopers from Hoan Kiem
to their doorstep, for free, and have been
known to set your night off with a free
drink on boarding.
The team at Zone 17 have big ideas for
the future as well, with plans to expand
the venue and open a new room, as well
as continue to bring in bigger and better
names to grace their stage. Certainly
something to keep an eye on, this once
vacant side alley off Yen Phu could be the

152 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

PHOTOS BY TRUNG DEL

sleeping dragon waiting to ignite a new


chapter in Hanois nightlife. Billy Gray

Zone 17 is located at 17 Hong Ha, Ba Dinh,


Ha Noi, parallel to Yen Phu

EL GAUCHO STEAKHOUSE
ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE

11 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3824 7280; 99 Xuan Dieu,
Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6991

elgaucho.com.vn

With venues in Saigon and


Bangkok, the essence of El
Gaucho is quality top grade
meats off the grill. Steak is
the mainstay the USDA
cuts are to die for but
everything from chicken,
pork and seafood is also up
for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low,
subtle lighting, an extensive
wine list and slick service.
Theres a reason El Gaucho is
so successful everythings
being taken care of.
FOODSHOP 45
INTERNATIONAL INDIAN

59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3716 2959

foodshop45.com

Lakeside location and low


bamboo seating, this eatery
is one of the most popular
Indians in town. Selling an
international version of the
mighty curry they even
sell pork and beef here the
menu keeps to the northern
part of the subcontinent with
masala, dopiaza, korma and
the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage.
FRENCH GRILL

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.
HIGHWAY 4
VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC

5 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3926 4200; 25 Bat
Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926
0639; 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3771 6372
The home of Son Tinh liquor,
Highway 4 is also known for
its communal dining and
ethnic food menu taking in
dishes from around the regions of northern Vietnam.
Try out their catfish spring
rolls. Phenomenal!
INDIA PALACE

facebook.com/frenchgrill

With unique decor, contemporary ambience, a walk-in


wine cooler and a delectable
seafood bar, this classy restaurant offers guests a service
experience with crafted food
difficult to find in the capital.
GREEN TANGERINE
FRENCH / VIETNAMESE FUSION

48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3825 1286

greentangerinehanoi.com

A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green castiron backed chairs greets you
as you walk into this French
era-built villa that houses the
main section of this Indochina-styled restaurant. Serving

An all-day eating and drinking lounge fit for all occasions, with of course, a focus
on steak. Has three floors all
with different vibes, the kind
of slick service youd expect
from the Al Frescos Group
and an extensive wine list.
JASPAS
INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN

Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba


Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3934 8325

alfrescosgroup.com

Recently refurbished, the


Australian-influenced Jaspas
is known for its attentive
service, tasty food and large
portions. Popular with both
the western and Asian expat communities who come
back again and again. The
comprehensive menu is a
fusion of western and Asian
cooking. The cocktails come
large and the wine is mainly
New World.

NORTH INDIAN

10B Quang An, Tay Ho


Tel: 01247 668668

indiapalacehn@vnn.vn

Like a phoenix rising from the


ashes, so India Palace has
once again returned to Tay Ho,
this time on the strip between
Dons and The Warehouse.
Tasty North Indian fare in a
pleasant environment from
the team behind Tandoor.

TOP-END GRILL

JW Marriott Hanoi, 8 Do Duc


Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem,
Tel: (04) 3833 5588

alfrescogroup.com

J.A.F.A.
INTERNATIONAL

G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3758 2400
One of the larger and more
comfortable bars in Hanoi,
J.A.F.A. is a great place for
drinking cocktails by the
pool. The beverages are not
the cheapest, but this is
made up for by service and
ambiance. They also have a
full menu featuring familiar
western dishes such as pizza
and cheeseburgers and cater
for large parties or dinner
functions. Periodic buffets and
drink specials are also offered.
JACKSONS STEAKHOUSE
STEAKHOUSE / GRILL

23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3938 8388

KOTO ON VAN MIEU


RESTAURANT / CAF / BAR

59 Van Mieu, Dong Da,


Tel: (04) 3747 0337

koto.com.au

The restaurant arm of Koto,


an F&B training school for
disadvantaged youth. Authentic Asian and European
cuisine is served over four big
floors of restaurant space. Its
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.
KY Y

labadiane-hanoi.com

On entering La Badiane, you


are instantly caught by the
multitude aromas coming
from the open front kitchen. Then, surrounded by leaf
plants, and predominantly
white walls, the customer is
struck by this venues calm
and elegance. Although the
dining experience at la Badiane is about the food, great
attention is also paid to the
ambience so you can enjoy
every aspect of your meal.
Voted one of Miele Guides
Top 500 Restaurants in Asia.

namese-French fusion cuisine.


LE BEAULIEU
CLASSIC FRENCH / BUFFET

Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15


Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3826 6919
The Metropoles signature
restaurant serving up both
classic and contemporary
French fare. Buffet options
mix with an a la carte menu
and an ambience that could
be straight out of Paris.
LINGUINI FINI
ITALIAN-AMERICAN

LA BICICLETA
BARCELONA-STYLE BISTRO

44 Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3718 8246

thbc.vn

Spanish Tapas fare is available elsewhere, but this is


the only eatery where it is
authentic and from Barcelona. Great selection of sandwiches, tapas and paella as
well as enormous Spanishstyle gin and tonics, Tinto
de Verano, carajillos and
sangria. Also known for its
moreish, Catalan-style desserts. Closed Mondays.

36-38 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3266 8968

linguinifini.com/en/hanoi

With branches in Hong Kong


and Manilla, the contemporary Italian-American Linguini
Fini pulls no punches with
its first outlet in Vietnam.
Sleek modern dcor, high
quality cuisine, home-made
pasta, reasonable prices and
dishes cooked up with the
freshest ingredients available
are part of the deal, as are
some damn fine pizzas.
LUNA DAUTUNNO

LA BADIANE
CONTEMPORARY FRENCH

10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3942 4509

MEDITERRANEO
PAN-ITALIAN

23 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 6288
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. Boasts an extensive
wine list and a traditional
wood fire oven.
MING PALACE
PAN-CHINESE

Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien,


Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888
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,
Mings is an ideal eatery for
those hungry for higher end
Chinese fare.

CLASSIC ITALIAN

LA SALSA
IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN

5 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3995 0950

lasalsa-hanoi.com

A small but eternally popular


Spanish-themed caf 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 first-floor terrace area
with views over the cathedral.

27 Nam Ngu, Tel: (04) 3823


7338

lunadautunno.vn

This old-favourite Italian


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

JAPANESE RICE EATERY

166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba


Trung, Tel: (04) 3978 1386
Not to be mistake for a sushi
joint, this wonderful restaurant is your typical, Japanese
working persons rice eatery.
Has a bar area downstairs
and booth-like seating on
the upper floors.

dim sum menus and set


menus. Reservations recommended.

LA VERTICALE
CONTEMPORARY FRENCH

MAY MAN CHINESE


CUISINE

19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3944 6317

PAN-CHINESE

Situated in an art-deco villa,


this establishment is run by
the most famous French chef
in the country. With modestly
priced set lunches and subtle
Vietnamese touches on the
dishes, the up market establishment lures in its high class
customers with quality Viet-

fortuna.vn

verticale-hanoi.com

MILLENIUM-CAF DES
ARTS
PAN-FRENCH

11 Hang Hanh, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3828 7207

cafe-des-arts.com

A contemporary and chic


three-storey restaurant with
a terrace and views over one
of Hanois best-known alleys.
Serves up quality French cuisine such as: snails, foie gras,
lobster, scallops, chateaubriand and tournedos Rossini.
Does an excellent set menu
and also has a daily specials
board.

Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha,


Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 3333

MOOSE AND ROO

Elegant and luxurious, May


Man has long been regarded
as one of the best Chinese
restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese fare together with
dim sum, May Man boasts
extensive a la carte menus,

42B Ma May, Hoan Kiem,


Tel:(04) 3200 1289
Contemporary Australian
and Canadian comfort food
in a pleasant setting together
with a nice bar area. Best
known for their Scotch egg,
poutine and burgers. Clever

CANADIAN / AUSTRALIAN
RESTAURANT

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 153

TOP EATS
OVEN DOR

orry, Im eating lobster


thermidor and drinking
chardonnay, is not a text
message I ever thought I
would send in response to a coffee invite,
until I went to the wine brunch at Oven dOr.
This place understands Sundays on a level
that I have not quite seen before. Theres a
fondue station with not one, but two kinds
of chocolate fountains, a crepe and waffle
counter, an entire suckling pig laid out for
carving, an a la carte grill, a sushi bar, and, of
course, the help-yourself booze table.
Theres quite a selection in the beverage
department; careful attention is paid to
food pairings here, so theres chardonnay

154 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

for your fish and shiraz for your roast.


The Tiger drafts are free-flowing, and
DIY cocktails are on a rotational basis,
situated next to an array of fresh juices
like watermelon, peach and sugarcane, so
guests can get creative. Not only is this
brunch delicious, but its also interactive.
I never considered eating sushi for brunch
before. But this place changed my entire
thought process about the meal. With a chef
exchange training programme in Japan that
results in the most authentic rolls possible,
the sushi bar is truly impressive. Sushi is
not just about the fish, executive assistant
manager Sashi Kumar tells me, but a delicate
balance of Japanese vinegar and quality rice.

Impressive
A red hot Singaporean chilli crab with
intense flavour; a creamy, rich seafood pasta
with shrimp, prawns and shellfish. Both
dishes are cooked in front of you at the live
cooking station, a feast for longing eyes, a
banquet for a hungry stomach.
Close by, rainbows of row and sliced fish
abound, but the masterpiece is a multilayered sushi cake, featuring smoked eel,
seaweed, Norwegian salmon and rice,
topped with juicy orange salmon roe.
Salty, tangy, savoury, smoky there are so
many flavours here that I almost felt like
I didnt need to eat anything else. After
two, I almost had a third, but luckily, our

PHOTOS BY JULIE VOLA

photographer took my plate away and


reminded me to pace myself, for wed only
just begun to feast.
After the sushi starter, you can move on
to the meats. Im not kidding when I say
there is an entire suckling pig roast laid out
on the buffet table, and a grill where you can
choose your own meat cuts and watch the
chef cook them up for you. Sashi says they
intentionally placed this grandiose display
front and centre, so its the first impression a
guest gets when they walk in. Its [there] so
people can see that we dont hold back.

Richesse
We had the tender New Zealand lamb with a

black pepper sauce, and pan-fried French foie


gras served with a sweet apple sauce. The
most interesting dish on the carving station,
though, was the salmon Wellington, a play
on the English beef classic that was leaner,
but still retained a level of richness apt for
this lavish brunch.
Course number three was lobster
thermidor, with succulent pieces of lobster
and mushrooms slathered in creamy
goodness, stuffed into the shell and topped
with an oven-baked cheese crust.
There was one more course we had
to squeeze in; dessert. We played in the
fondue fountain, covering strawberries
and pineapples in hot flowing chocolate,

and then created a colourful collection of


sweets for our table. We also had to pay a
visit to the waffle and crepe station, where
a bright green pandan waffle was cooked
fresh for us. I immediately slathered it in
Nutella (obviously), and a scoop of Germanimported hazelnut ice cream. At capacity, my
stomach screamed no, but my mouth said
yes. Jesse Meadows
Oven DOr is at the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, K5
Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The
Sunday Brunch buffet costs VND1.35 million
++ and includes a free flow of wine, soft drinks,
cocktails and beer. Children five to 11 go for half
price and under-fives go for free. For more info
click on sheratonhanoi.com

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 155

MEDICAL BUFF
ADRENALINE JUNKIES

hy does becoming an
expatriate bring out the
Extreme Sports Expat? Do
we have to become more
adventurous than friends and family
back home? A recent survey of expats
revealed that just over half expect to
take part in extreme sports while abroad;
off-piste skiing, quad biking, kite surfing,
sand boarding, kayaking, white-water
rafting and rock climbing are booming.
The expat community seems not short
of enthusiasts and the sports are getting
more dangerous.
FMP recently had a patient, a 32-year-old
female who had the adrenaline rush to do
some quad biking in Phan Thiet, Vietnam.
The white sand dunes were refreshing
after Hanoi but what resulted was a really
painful injury to her shoulder. She began to
feel pain in the front of her shoulder a few
days later that gradually radiated down
the side of her arm. She was finding sleep
painful and began to get a slight weakness
in her arm. For the first week she was
taking painkillers but was having difficulty
with routine activities such as combing her
hair and reaching behind her back to do up
her dress. What happened one day at work
was a snapping sensation in her shoulder

156 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

and then immediate weakness in her arm.


She came to FMP and was seen by a
doctor who was able to diagnose a rotator
cuff tear; when this tear occurs, there
is frequently weakening of the muscles
around the arm and decreased range of
motion of the shoulder. Fortunately surgery
wasnt necessary this time on the tendon,
but the muscles around the arm remained
weak. Rehabilitation plays a critical role
in the non-surgical treatment of a rotator
cuff tear, so the doctor was able to advise a
physical therapy program to regain strength
and improve functioning in her shoulder.

Compress
With some detailed history-taking, the
physiotherapist was able to find out the
patient had a history of high-energy
sports activities combined with a desk job
which left her sitting in a relatively fixed
position for long periods of time trying to
meet deadlines. She explained sometimes
she experienced aches and pains in her
neck, shoulder, wrist and elbow joints that
indicated the onset of repetitive strain
injury (RSI). This type of injury can result
in damage to tendons, muscles, nerves
and soft tissues from repeated physical
movements over time.

BY LAUREL WINTER

Expats are found to be sitting for long


periods of time at their computers in
relatively fixed positions, performing
repetitive movements while trying to meet
deadlines. Aches and pains can be felt in
the neck, shoulder, upper and lower back,
wrist and elbow joints; the nerves in the
hand for example become compressed,
causing weakness and/or tingling in the
finger.
Make sure you dont neglect the
importance of posture as you sit down
posture can have an effect on home and
sporting life, causing long-term damage
that will haunt you in later years.
Dont wait for the pain or swelling to
subside before making an appointment.
Taking painkillers long-term is not a
remedy; you may inadvertently be doing
something that is making the problem
worse than better. The sooner you see a
doctor and physiotherapist the quicker a
treatment program can be started which
will minimize the amount of time you have
to miss your adrenaline fix.
Laurel Winter graduated from The
University of Newcastle, Australia with a
Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honours in
2006. She is available for appointments at FMP
Kim Ma Clinic and at corporate offices

Hanoi
On the Town

changing imagery on the walls.


MOOSE AND ROO
SMOKEHOUSE
AMERICAN GRILL

The American Club, 19-21 Hai


Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04)
3939 2470

mooseandroo.com

Theres a reason for Smokehouses


popularity the excellent, on-site
smoked meats together with all
the typical, American-style sides.
Set in the American Club, dining is
both indoors and out, and comes
with the best bourbon selection
in town.
NAMASTE HANOI

PANE E VINO

THE KAFE

PAN-ITALIAN

CONTEMPORARY CAFE / CUISINE

facebook.com/panevinoHN

thekafe.vn

3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 9080
Just a stroll away from the Hanoi
Opera House, 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.
PIZZA 4PS

namastehanoi.com

The well-loved Namaste specialises in dishes from both northern


and southern India using Halal
meat throughout. Hosted by the
gregarious Gopi, a meal will cost
you between VND150,000 and
VND300,000 and everything is
there, from curries and breads
to soups and desserts.
NAN N KABAB
49 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,
Tel: 0922 087799
Specialising in Pakistani cuisine
and of course nan bread and kebabs, this semi-outdoor, bamboo
tabled, laid back eatery also sells
fare from Afganistan and India.
In a sentence? Curry, but not as
you know it.
NINETEEN 11
INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN

The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien,


Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3933 4801

nineteen11.com.vn

Named after the completion


date of the Hanoi Opera House,
this upscale yet casual restaurant maintains an ambience of
elegance, luxury and mystery.
The cuisine mixes international
fare with twists on Vietnamese
cuisine and comes complete with
a formidable wine list and an inhouse sommelier.

GOURMET VIETNAMESE

4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3747 8337

hanoixua.vn/en

Gordon Ramsay once filmed


a show at this restaurant in a
renovated French villa and now
the ribs carry his namesake. But
its the twist on old world favourites, think fried snail spring rolls
and miniature vegetarian banh
xeo, all in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the
train tracks a standout.

WANNAWAFFLE
WAFFLES

VIETNAMESE BEEFSTEAK

20A Hoe Nhai, Ba Dinh


BUN BO NAM BO
BUN BO NAM BO

67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem


BUN CHA DAC KIM
BUN CHA

1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem; 67


Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem
KCC (KIEN CAN COOK)
COM RANG DUA BO

pizza4ps.com

MIXED GLASS NOODLES

POTS N PANS

Waffles, but not as you know it.


Here its about taking this humble dish and recreating it in a
contemporary environment in as
many ways as is humanly possible. Ever had a matcha waffle? What about a waffle stuffed
with cream cheese and smoked
salmon? How about a banoffee
pie or a pizza waffle? Wannawaffle serves up all these creations
and much more.
WRAP & ROLL
5th Floor, Trang Tien Plaza, 24 Hai
Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem
Tel: (04) 3824 3718

PHO CUON HUNG BEN

24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


01208 034444
Famed for its home-made mozzarella and Japanese-inspired
pizzas that break all the rules,
the Hanoi outlet of Pizza 4Ps is
as popular as its Saigon branch, a
restaurant that has been greeted
by accolades by all asunder. All
pizzas are cooked in a woodfired oven and use fresh, local
ingredients.

CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE

57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel:


(04) 3944 0204

potsnpans.vn

Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from


Hanois 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 caf fillings, a private chefs
table with a kitchen view, and
an extensive wine list combined
with modern formal styling bring
a unique experience to Hanoi.
SAINT HONORE
BOULANGERIE / BISTRO

5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3933 2355

sainthonore.com.vn

This bakery and French-style bistro is best visited in the morning


when that Gallic, fresh-cooked
aroma of bread, croissants and
patisseries hits you as you walk
through the door. The downstairs
space is split into the bakery
on one side with a small nonsmoking dining space on the
other. The upstairs lounge area
has standard tables as well as
sofa seating. Simple French and
international fare is served at
meal times.
THE CART
SANDWICH SHOP / CAF

OLD HANOI

Spacious, casual, energetic and


beautifully designed, The KAfe
serves up unfussy comfort food
that aims to satisfy the modern
urban diner. Preparing fresh food
and drinks that show respect to
natural ingredients and flavours
from around the globe, this caf-cum-restaurant is a popular
choice for Hanois metrosexual
community.

BIT TET NGON SO 5

27 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem;


138 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba
Trung; Unit 108, Indochina Plaza,
241 Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay

JAPANESE PIZZA JOINT

PAN-INDIAN

46 Tho Nhuom, Hanoi,


Tel: (04) 3935 2400

18 Dien Bien Phu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3747 6245

25 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem

8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938 2513

thecartfood.com

Small cozy caf and sandwich


bar hidden away in Nghi Tam
Village. Serves and delivers tasty
baguettes, homemade juices,
quiches, pies, muffins and cakes.
The delivery service is quick and
reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you
need to eat at the desk.

facebook.com/wannawaffle

57 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da


MIEN TRON HANH
7B Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem
MY VAN THAN
WONTON NOODLES

54 Hang Chieu, Hoan Kiem


PHO BO CU CHIEU
PHO BO

48 Hang Dong, Hoan Kiem

PHO CUON

26 Nguyen Khac Hieu,


Ba Dinh

wrap-roll.com

The lime green walls and bright


pastel colours of Wrap n Roll are
just part of the theme of this
homegrown, Vietnamese brand
which is all about spring rolls
of all types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine. Now with
two restaurants in Hanoi the
second in Royal City.
ZENITH VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
HOLISTIC VEGETARIAN

247Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904


356561

zenithyogavietnam.com/zenith-cafe

A vegetarian and vegan caf


connected to Zenith Yoga that
respects yoga philosophy. Simple living, mindful thinking and
100 percent natural ingredients,
all the food here is served up
without additional additives or
MSG and using only fresh seasonal products. All dishes are
made in house.

STREETFOOD

PHO GA BA LAM
PHO GA

7 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem


PHO GA HANG DIEU
PHO GA

1 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem


PHO GIA TRUYEN BAT DAN
PHO BO

49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem


PHO LY QUOC SU
PHO BO

10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem


PHO THIN LO DUC
SAUTEED BEEF PHO

13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung


PHO TRON
MIXED PHO

5 Phu Doan, Hoan Kiem; 47 Ma


May, Hoan Kiem; 2 Hang Hom,
Hoan Kiem; 6 Luong Van Can,
Hoan Kiem

3 CHI EM
PHO GA / BUN BO NAM BO / COM

18 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho

PHO TU LUN
PHO BO

23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem


BANH CUON HANG GA
BANH CUON

14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem

XOI HANG HOM


STICKY RICE

44 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem


BANH DA TRON
BANH DA TRON

6 Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho


BANH MI 25
STREETSIDE BANH MI

158 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

hieu

Nh a
tC

LAC L
ONG Q
UAN
o
Ve H

UA
N
NG
Q
LO

LA
C

hP
huc

BUOI
DUONG

V in

O
VAN C
A

Doc Ngu

Phung Chi Kien

Nguyen Dinh Hoan

KIM MA

LA

TH

m
P ha

Huy

T ho

Bao

Van Phuc
Ngoc Khanh
Bus Station

ng

Nguyen Cong Hoan

AN
H

La Than
h

gH
a

ng
Chua La

Lan

WINTER CLOTHINGS
Hang Da D4

Thuy Le
Lake

V an

LIQUORS
Nha Tho D4

TAN

WEDDING SERVICES
Hang Than C4

GIAY

e Binh

Doi Can

LIEU G
IA

LACQUERS
Can Go D4, D5

Thuy Le
Park

C AU

DAO

Phan
K

THA
NH

TOYS
Luong Van Can D4

Ven Ho

TH
AM

Kim Ma Thuo
uong

ang

FLOWERS
Quang An Market A3

Kh
an
hT
oa

HO
A

an
Doi Can

Linh L

SWEETS
Hang Buom D4

en

Nguyen Van Ngoc

FASHION STORES
Hang Dao D4

uy

CHI

STATIONERY
Hang Can D4

Ng

YEN

EVERYTHING
Dong Xuan Market C4

NG

an
Dong Quan

NGU

SPORTSWEAR
Hang Dau D5

CAU
GIAY
GIA
AY

HO
A

Doi Nhan

Quan Hoa

CRAFTS
Hang Trong D4

UOI

SILVERS
Hang Bac D4

hi

HOANG QUOC VIET

GB

COOKING INGREDIENTS
Tay Ho Weekend Market A2

Vo
ng
T

Sai

Th
uy
Kh
ue

DUO
N

SILKS
Hang Gai D4

Trich

am

COMPUTERS
Ly Nam De D4

an
Ho
a

SECONDHAND SHOES
Nguyen Khanh Toan D1

Dam Tr

an
gH

COBBERS
Hang Dong D4

TU
LIEM

Qu

PLANTS
Hoang Hoa Tham C1, C2

Qu

CERAMICS
Hang Khoai C4

ang
Ton

Ngoc Khanh

MOBILE PHONES
Dang Dung C4

n Ho

Sai

BEDDINGS
Hang Dieu D4

Ngu
ye

h
Tric

MECHANICS
Hang Chao D3

ng
Nguyen Ho

BAMBOO
Hang Vai D4

C4
D1
E5
D4, E4
C3, C4
E5
D1
C4
C5, D5
C4
C1
D4
C1, D1
D4, E4
C3
B2
A2
E4
D3
B4
B4
D3
D4
C4
A2
E1, E2
C3
D4, E4
D4
C2, C3
A2
D3, E3
D5
D4
E4
E4, E5
D2
E5
D5
D4, D3
C4, D5
E4
C3
D4
E5
B1, C2
D3
C4
B3
D2
C2
D3
D2
A1
C2, C3
D5
B1
D3, D2
A3
A1
C4
B3, C4
E4

La

E4
B4
B3
D3
C4
A3
D4
E4
D5, E5
E5
D5
D4
A2, B2
D3
D4, D3
D2
D3
E5
D1
D5, D4
C4
E1
D3
D5
E5
C4
C4
D4
E4
C4
C3
B2
E5
D3
D1
D4, D3
D2
D5
D4
D5, D4
D3
A5
D3
D3, D2
C1
C4, D4
D1, C1
D1
D4
C4
D5, D4
D3
D3, D2
D4, E4, E5
E4
D5
D4
D4
E4, E5
D5
D4
C4
D4
D4
C4
D4
D4
C4, D5
D4
D4
D4
D4
D4
C4
C4, D4
D4
D5
D4
D4
C4
D5
D5

Pham Hong Thai


Pham Huy Thong
Pham Su Manh
Phan Boi Chau
Phan Dinh Phung
Phan Huy Chu
Phan Ke Binh
Pho Duc Chinh
Phuc Tan
Phuc Xa
Phung Chi Kien
Phung Hung
Quan Hoa
Quan Su
Quan Thanh
Quang An
Quang Ba
Quang Trung
Quoc Tu Giam
So 1
So 9
Son Tay
Ta Hien
Tan Ap
Tay Ho
Thanh Cong
Thanh Nien
Tho Nhuom
Thuoc Bac
Thuy Khue
To Ngoc Van
Ton Duc Thang
Tong Dan
Tong Duy Tan
Tran Binh Trong
Tran Hung Dao
Tran Huy Lieu
Tran Khanh Du
Tran Nguyen Han
Tran Phu
Tran Quang Khai
Tran Quoc Toan
Tran Vu
Trang Thi
Trang Tien
Trich Sai
Trinh Hoai Duc
Truc Bach
Tu Hoa Cong Chua
Van Bao
Van Cao
Van Mieu
Van Phuc
Ve Ho
Ven Ho
Vong Ha
Vong Thi
Vu Thanh
Xuan Dieu
Xuan La
Yen Ninh
Yen Phu
Yet Kieu

an
Xu

19 - 12
An Duong
An Thanh 1
An Trach
An Xa
Au Co
Au Trieu
Ba Trieu
Bach Dang
Bach Dang
Bao Linh
Bat Su
Ben Nhat Ban
Bich Cau
Cao Ba Quat
Cao Nam
Cat Linh
Cau Dat
Cau Giay
Cau Go
Chau Long
Chua Lang
Chua Mot Cot
Chuong Duong Do
Co Tam
Co Xa
Cua Bac
Cua Nam
Da Tuong
Dang Dung
Dang Tat
Dang Thai Mai
Dang Thai Than
Dang Tran Con
Dao Tan
Dien Bien Phu
Dinh Cong
Dinh Le
Dinh Liet
Dinh Tien Hoang
Doan Thi Diem
Doc Lan
Doc Lap
Doi Can
Dong Quan
Dong Xuan
Duong Buoi
Duong Quan Ham
Duong Thanh
Gam Cau
Gia Ngu
Giang Van Minh
GianG Vo
Hai Ba Trung
Ham Long
Ham Tu Quan
Hang Can
Hang Bac
Hang Bai
Hang Be
Hang Bong
Hang Bun
Hang Buom
Hang Chieu
Hang Cot
Hang Da
Hang Dao
Hang Dau
Hang Dieu
Hang Dong
Hang Duong
Hang Ga
Hang Gai
Hang Khoai
Hang Luoc
Hang Ma
Hang Nam
Hang Ngang
Hang Non
Hang Than
Hang Thung
Hang Tre

D4
D4
D5
D3, E2
E4
E3
D3
C1, C2, C3
C1
C3
C4
C3
D3
D2, D1
D1
E3, E2, E1, D1
A1, B1
E2
D4, E4
D3
D5
D5
D5
D4
E5
D2
D1
D5
D4
D4
D4
E4, E5
D3
D5
D4
B3
C4
D4
E4
C3, D3
D2
B5
C4
C3
D1, E1
D2
C1
A1
E1
C4
D1
D5
D4, D3
D4, D3
D4
C5
D1
D4
D4
A1
D2
A3
D3

Du
on
g

Hanoi
Map

1
Hang Trong
Hang Vai
Hang Voi
Hao Nam
Hoa Lo
Hoa Nam
Hoang Dieu
Hoang Hoa Tham
Hoang Quoc Viet
Hoang Van Thu
Hoe Nhai
Hung Vuong
Khuc Hao
Kim Ma
Kim Ma Thuong
La Thanh
Lac Long Quan
Lang Ha
Le Duan
Le Hong Phong
Le Lai
Le Phung Hieu
Le Thach
Le Thai To
Le Thanh Tong
Lieu Giai
Linh Lang
Lo Su
Luong Van Can
Ly Nam De
Ly Quoc Su
Ly Thuong Kiet
Ly Van Phuc
Ma May
Nam Ngu
Nghi Tam
Nghia Dung
Ngo Tram
Ngo Van So
Ngoc Ha
Ngoc Khanh
Ngoc Thuy
Nguyen Bieu
Nguyen Canh Chan
Nguyen Chi Thanh
Nguyen Cong Hoan
Nguyen Dinh Hoan
Nguyen Hoang Ton
Nguyen Hong
Nguyen Khac Nhu
Nguyen Khanh Toan
Nguyen Khiet
Nguyen Khuyen
Nguyen Thai Hoc
Nguyen Tri Phuong
Nguyen Tu Gian
Nguyen Van Ngoc
Nha Chung
Nha Tho
Nhat Chieu
Nui Truc
Nuoc Phan Lan
Ong Ich Khiem

TThanh Cong

Giang
Vo
Lake

3
Qu
ang

Ba
Quang An
Market

an
Xu

C
AU

LLONG
ONG BIEN

Die
u

Ho
Tay

oc
Nu

an
Ph

Thai M
ai

n
La

Tu
Ho
a

huy

Co
ng

Ch
u

Dang

cT
Ng o

TA
TA
AY
Y HO
n

An

nh 1
T ha
An

M
I TA

Phu
Yen

NGH

A
ng
Q ua

Duo

ng

West
Lake

Ngo 78

Ngoc

Tan
Ap

Ham

Lon

Cau
Da

Quyen

Co
Tam

uy Ch
u

Trung
Tr

Ba Tr
ieu
So

T R AN
HUNG
wordvietnam.com
DAO | May 2016 Word | 159
Phan H

inh Tr

Hang B
ai

Da Tu
ong

19 - 1
2

Hoa L
o

Ngo

Bat Su
Hang Do
ng
Thuoc B
ac

De
Ly Nam

Hung
Phung

Boi Ch
au

Quan
Su

Quang

Van

ai Than
Dang Th

ang
Bach D

Ng o

ng

Su

Manh
Ly Th
uong
Kiet

DU

uoc T
oan

Pham

ien
Trang T
Opera
House

ao
N gu L

Tran B

Nh
uo

UNG D m
AO

Hai B
a Tru

H
KHAN

on g

Th
o

Pham

Can

Tri Phu
ong

Hooaang Dieu

Nguyen

Phan

HO
OAN
AN KIEM

TRAN

LE DUAN

Hieu

ong
anh T
Le Th

Yet K
ie

Mieu

V an

Hang

H an
g Bu

Yen
Nin
h

Chau Lo
ng
Cua Ba
c

Dang Dun
g

Nguyen Bie

Chan Dang
Tat

Doc La
p
Khuc Ha
o

Ong Ich Khiem

Tran
Con

Dang

g Do
Duon

Dan
Tong

DUC
THA
NG

g
Dan

oi
gV

i To

TON

h
Bac

Ha

Han

Trinh
Ly Va
n Ph
Hoai
Bich
uc
Duc
Cau

n
Q ua

ng
Chuo

g
Le Phun

Dinh
Le
Trang
Tien

ng

Tu
Ham

Tran Nguyen Han

Le Lai
Le Thach

St.Tr Joseph's Cathedral


a ng T
hi

Tan

g
Von

Lo Su
a
Ly Th

Giang Van Minh

Thung
Hang
e

Hoan
Kiem
Lake

Phu
c

g Tr
H an

ang

Dinh Tien Ho
ang

g
Chun
Nha

Hao N
am

Hang Mam

Gia Nggu

Hang Dau

ieu Nha Tho

inh

n Khie
Nguye

Hang Be

n
Tro

Le Thai To

g
Han

r
Au T

Dinh Liet

Dao
Hang
n
n Ca
g Va

Luon
Ga i

L
Bao

Ma May

Ta Hien

ng
N ga
Hang
Can
Hang

Hang Bac

Cau Go
Dinh Tien
Ho
H

ian

Buom

Hang

ONG
G DU
N
O
CHU
CAU

AI
KH

Ca

Tran
Q

Duong

Phu Doan

TRAN
H

Dong Xuan
Market
Hang Chieu

Hang

u
oc S

g
Han

Ly Qu

ong

Hai B
a Tru

Ly Th
uong
Kie

Cha

nh

Nam Ngu

gB
H an

Quan
Su

Van Chuong
Lake

am
Cua N

Hanoi Train
Train
Station

on

Hang Da

Tha

en Th
ai Ho
c

Cua Nam
Market

Linh Quang
Lake

Hang Dieu
hanh

u
Lie

La

Nguy

Tan
uy
gD
Ton

i
hoa

Hang Bo

ng T
D uo

uy

DONG D
DA
A

Vietnam National
Academy of Music

Hang N

BIEN

Long Bien
Train
rain Station

au

Quat
Hang

Tram
Ngo

Tran Ph
u

Nguye
n Khuy
en

Giam

Hang Vai

Leather
Market

Vietnam Fine
Arts Museum
Cao B
a Qua
t

om
Nhu
Tho

nH

iem

Q uo
c Tu

Hang Ma

u
Ph

Tra

Thi D

I HOC

Dau

C
Gam

ien
nB
D ie

Doan

anh

Chi Lang
Park

ao

Cat Lin

NGUY
EN TH
A
g Ch

Kim Ma
Bus Station

An Trach

Vu
Th

hong

Tran Ph
u
Han

Vo
ng
Gia

Le Hong
P

Hang

Hang Ga

m
Na

Dinh C
ong

Tru

o
Ca

Chua Mo
t Cot

Son Tay

KIM MA

ai

an
Xu
ng
Do
u oc
gL
Han
Hang CCot
o

Ngoc H

BA DINH
c
Tru

NG

Nh

gK
Han

Ho Chi Minh
Mausoleum

Doi Can

e
Ho

Hoang Va
n Thu

Ha

Long Bien
Market Long Bien
Bus Station

c
G
Phu
AN
QU
AN
TR

Museum

PHAN D
INH PHU

G
LON
CAU

uG
nT
uy e
Ng
Tan

Hung Vuo

ng

Hanoi
Palace

han
Hang T

AM
TH
A
Bach Thao
HO
NG
OA Ho Chi Minh Park

Ng
oc

Quan Thanh

Thuy Khue

Nguyen Can
h

o
nH

Ng
uy e
nK
Pha
h
mH
ong ac Nh
T ha
u
i

Xa
An
a
cX
P hu

Ve

i
Nu

Quan Thanh
Temple Tran Vu

Khue

YE
NP
HU

Chin

Truc
ruc Bach
Lake

Th u y

Ng
hia
Du
Co
n
Xa g

D uc

Th
an
hN
ie n

Bac
h

9
So

Pho

Tru
c

Thuy

1
So

i
Nu

ke

DO
CV
AN

Tay Ho Weekend
Market
Van
goc
To N

Dam Tri

Ho Chi Minh City

Day Tripper: HCMC / Business Buff / Body and Temple / Bar Stool / Know Your City / Top Eats / A
World of Good
Photo by Vu Ha Kim Vy
160 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

HCMC
Essentials

BAKERIES

M M M
BOOKSHOPS

ABC BAKERY
BAKERY & CAF

223 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1

phamngulao.abcbakery.co

Baguettes, croissants, pizza,


cakes, muffins, donuts and
brownies, this bakery and
caf all in one is a popular stop for those heading
through the Backpacker
District. Online ordering
available.
BREAD TALK
CHAIN BAKERY

106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,


Q3; 2 Cao Thang, Q3; Vivo
City, 1058 Nguyen Van Linh,
Q7

breadtalkvietnam.com

A Singaporean bakery chain


that is vying for the Vietnam
cake and bread market. Produces Asian-friendly patisseries and cakes in a spacious,
airy atmosphere. Has eight
locations and counting.
HARVEST BAKING
AMERICAN BAKERY

harvestbaking.net

With a production facility in


Thu Duc, Harvest Baking focuses on both the retail and
non-retail trade, cooking up
the best American-style bakery products in the city. Has
an excellent home delivery
service. Check the website
for details.
LAMOUR
BAKERY & CAFE

Hung Phuoc 2, Le Van Thiem,


Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 4072

lamourbakery.com.vn
TOUS LES JOURS

FAHASA
VIETNAMESE / ENGLISH LANGUAGE
BOOKSTORE

40 Nguyen Hue, Q1; 60-62 Le


Loi, Q1

fahasa.com

Selling up a good selection of


English language books in
a range of reading areas
this multi-storied bookshop
also does stationery, toys
and a range of related products. Has a good selection of
ESL texts.
LIBRAIRIE FRANCAISE
NAM PHONG
82 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08)
3914 7858
Nam Phong Bookstore was
founded at the of end 2002
in Ho Chi Minh City as the
first and only francophone
bookshop in the whole of
Vietnam. Only books written
in French are for sale, covering for all ages and tastes.
A catalogue is available at
namphongsaigon.com
PNC
VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE
BOOKSTORE

2A Le Duan, Q1; 2nd Floor


Parkson Center, 35-45 Le
Thanh Ton, Q1

pnc.com.vn

Although there are some


English-language texts in
this modern, well laid out
bookstore, the focus here
is on all things Vietnamese.
Worth checking out, thought,
for the occasional gem.

M M M
BUSINESS GROUPS

BAKERY & CAFE

180 Hai Ba Trung, Q1; 59 Tran


Hung Dao, Q1; 187 Nguyen
Thi Minh Khai, Q1; 66B Cach
Mang Thang Tam, Q3; Lotte
Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho,
Q7; 17/14 Le Thanh Ton, Q1

touslesjoursbakery.com

The background of this Korean bakery chain makes


interesting reading. Established in 1996, in 2004 they
opened in the US, 2005 in
China and 2007 in Vietnam.
French-styled with an Asian
touch, the bare-brick dcor
makes this a popular joint.
Has over 25 locations in Vietnam.
VOELKER
BAKERY

39 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


6296 0066

voelker-vietnam.com

Frenchrun bakery selling


probably the tastiest range of
patisseries, breads, quiches
and pies in town. The signature passionfruit tart is a
must try.

merce aims to create an effective network of business


associates together and to
facilitate discussion forums
about business in Vietnam.

AMERICAN CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE (AMCHAM)
New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 3562.

amchamvietnam.com

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER
OF COMMERCE
(AUSCHAM)
2nd Floor, Eximland Building,
179EF Cach Mang Thang Tam,
Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9912

auschamvn.org

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP


OF VIETNAM (BBGV)
25 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08)
3829 8430

bbgv.org

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

canchamvietnam.org

Open to all nationalities, the


Canadian Chamber of Com-

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

nordcham.com

PHILIPPINES BUSINESS
GROUP VIETNAM
40/4 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh
Thanh, Tel: (08) 3518 0045

pbgvn.com

SINGAPORE BUSINESS
GROUP
6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy
Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3823 3046

sbghcm.org

M M M
CLOTHING &
ACCESSORIES
ANUPA ECO LUXE

LITTLE ANH-EM
BABY & CHILDREN CLOTHING

37 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel:


0917 567506
In addition to a varied selection of garments for babies
and children up to 10 years
old, Little Anh-Em stocks
sleeping bags and other accessories.
LUSINE
LIFESTYLE / ACCESSORIES

First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1,


Tel: (08) 6674 9565

lusinespace.com

Exclusive labels, elegant and


sophisticated clothing and
casual high-quality cottons
are stocked at this boutique/
caf. Lifestyle accessories
include shoes, homewares,
knickknacks, cameras, stationery and a range of vintage bicycles.
MANDARINA
TAILOR-MADE SHOES

171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3827 5267

LEATHER & JEWELLERY

9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822


2394

anupa.net
Monday to Sunday, 9am
to 8pm

This centrally located unique


boutique has been converted into an eco-boutique
which exclusively retails the
complete Anupa leather
and semi-precious jewellery range as well as other
unique eco brands such as
bamboo eyewear, pendant
scarves and cushion covers.
BAM SKATE SHOP
SKATEWEAR / STREET

174 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0903


641826

Bamskateshop.com.vn
BLUE DRAGON
SOUVENIRS / CLOTHING

1B Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


2210 2084

ORANGE

VIETNAM-THEMED CLOTHING

10 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521


8755; 54-56 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel:
(08) 6270 5928

ginkgo-vietnam.com

Quality, original, Vietnamthemed tees are the showpiece at this airy French-run
store. Designs are inspired
by anything from the Vietnamese flag, local telecom
wires and motorbikes to
creative, Siddharta-style
imagery.
IPA-NIMA
BAGS & ACCESSORIES

77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3822 3277; 71 Pasteur, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3824 2701

ipa-nima.com

DIAMOND PLAZA
34 Le Duan, Q1. Tel:
(08) 3825 7750
9am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

HUNG VUONG
PLAZA

126 Hung Vuong, Q5.


Tel: (08) 2222 0383
9.30am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

BUDGET CLOTHING

152 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3820 2620

9am to 10pm
PAPAYA

BUDGET CLOTHING

232 Bui Vien, Q1

papaya-tshirt.com
T&V TAILOR
TAILORS

39 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 4556

triciaandverona.com
U.BEST HOUSE
TRAVEL GEAR

163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1, Tel:


0978 967588

Ubesthouse.com
VESPA SHOP

VESPA PRODUCTS / HELMETS

GINKGO

SHOPPING
MALLS

80 Xuan Thuy, Q2
Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired tidbits and memorabilia including t-shirts,
riding gear, Italian helmets,
Respro face masks, DVDs,
books, bags, magazines,
posters and more. Rental
scooters and bikes available.

CORPORATE GIFTS
AMBRIJ
14-16-18 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3824 8364

ambrij.com

A one-stop-shop concept
company providing marketing services including POSM,
corporate gifts and luxury
ranges of business gifts
from international brands
like Swarovski, Cerruti 1881,
Nina Ricci, Christian Lacroix,

PARKSON PLAZA

35-45 Le Thanh Ton,


Q1. Tel: (08) 3827 7636
9.30am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

SAIGON CENTRE

65 Le Loi, Q1. Tel: (08)


3829 4888
9am to 9pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

SAIGON SQUARE
77-89 Nam Ky Khoi
Nghia, Q1
9am to 9pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics

VINCOM CENTER
70-72 Le Thanh Ton,
Q1. Tel: (08) 3936 9999
9am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

ZEN PLAZA

54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1


Tel: (08) 3925 0339
9am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

DAY TRIPPER: HCMC


GIANG DIEN PARK

With a public holiday


at his disposal, Jon
Aspin jumped at the
chance to swim in a
waterfall 40km out
of town.

hen photographer Rodney


suggested we go to Giang
Dien on the Kings Day public
holiday, where there was a
waterfall he knew we could swim in, I
didnt have to think about it for long.
Setting off, I had a second reason to get
excited. This would be the maiden voyage
of my new toy, the Lifan 125 Id just bought
from a Swiss guy, whod driven it down
from Hanoi. As keen as I was to stretch
the legs of my new steed, it was still a
relief when after 45 minutes of dusty, busy
highway, we turned off the northbound
QL51, by-passing Dong Nais provincial
capital of Bien Hoa, and into the area
where Giang Dien Park is.

162 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Pay Off
The pay-off to road travel in this country
can be sweet, and arriving at the grounds,
I was filled with optimism. To me it looked
exactly the type of space expats would
love, if only it were closer to the city.
Its a shame, but ultimately not enough
people explore these simple-to-find places
independently.
After parking and paying entry, a
tree-lined cobblestone path led us up to a
campground featuring man-made lakes,
postcard perfect bridges and rotundas
adjacent to fields of well-maintained grass.
Rare. All of it added up to what we agreed
was very date-friendly territory, and there
were plenty of couples doing just that.

For the most part, however, it was


families and teenagers having a great
time. Smiling freely and dripping wet
in jeans slipping below boxer shorts, a
group of the latter approached us as we
neared the hub of the park. In possession
of that ubiquitous item, the selfie-stick, we
managed to get our heads in several group
shots. It was funny, an hour ago we were
just another couple of white guys in the
city, yet here we were, beacons of curiosity
and intrigue.

Delivery
Continuing on, I was anxious to see this
waterfall that had been promised me, and
Im happy to say, after checking out the

PHOTOS BY RODNEY HUGHES

various levels of accommodation on offer


you can stay here in anything from a
tent raised off the floor by a timber deck, to
a three-star fibro hut that my new travel
buddy delivered.
Watched on by the ever-vigilant
lifeguards, after rounding a couple of
corners and gradually blending into our
new environment, there before me was a
perfectly swimmable, cascading waterfall
and lake. It looked hectic at first, speckled
by dozens of bright orange Vietnamese
swimmers in mandatory life jackets, but
there was no way I wasnt going in.
Not wanting to waste any more time in
the stifling heat, beers were soon ordered,
bamboo recliners were located and paid

for, and, satisfied that wed done sufficient


exploring of the nature park all around us,
we settled down in the shade for what was
a very chill, very relaxing time, swimming
between drinks and chatting about the
vagaries of what had brought us, and keeps
us here in this country, garnering some
local attention as we went about it.
At first reluctant to don the luminous
life-jacket, two Heinekens in, it was very
much a case of if you cant beat them,
join them, and before too long I was
loving it, swimming and climbing over
the waterfalls rocks, chatting with locals
and wholeheartedly enjoying being part
of such a fun and innocent atmosphere.
Completely refreshed, it was just the break

from routine that we both needed.


Mindful of the highway journey home,
we soon cut ourselves off and headed back
to the big smoke.

Information
From Ho Chi Minh City get on the Hanoi
Highway (QL1A) and head north until
you reach the bridge over the Dong Nai
River. Go over and turn right onto QL51
immediately after, before continuing on for
about another 15km. Look for a sign for
Giang Dien Park and turn right, then follow
more signs to get there. For more info click
on giangdien.com.vn.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 163

BUSINESS BUFF
A BREAKDOWN OF VIETNAMS GDP IN 2016

e constantly hear that


Vietnams GDP (Gross
Domestic Product) is growing
at rates of around 5% or 6%
a year. In 2014, this reached US$186.2
billion, almost triple what it was in 2006.
While this is touted almost universally as
being positive, what exactly does this mean?
And what is the outlook for 2016?
GDP represents the monetary value of
all goods and services produced within a
nations geographic borders over a specified
period of time. One method of calculating the
GDP of a country is called the Expenditure
Approach. The Expenditure Approach is
calculated using the sum of four categories of
expenditure of output. The four categories are:
(1) Gross Private Consumption (C)
(2) Gross Private Investment (I)
(3) Government Purchases (G)
(4) Net Exports (NX) or (X-M)
Giving the following formula: GDP = C +
I + G + NX

Gross Private Consumption (C)


This category comprises all goods and
services purchased by households in Vietnam
and includes spending on services, nondurable goods and durable goods. With a
low-inflation outlook due to low energy
and food prices and a stable currency, this
component of GDP is expected to remain
strong in Vietnam in 2016. Interest rates,
while high by international standards at
6.5%, remain low compared to recent years in
Vietnam, which generally means households
will save less and spend more. This is further

164 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

supported by strengthening consumer


confidence and the growth in private
consumption.

Gross Private Investment (I)


Net private investment is gross private
investment less depreciation. This category
includes fixed investments (factories,
machines etc.), inventory investments
(material to be assembled, goods etc.) and
residential investment (purchase of private
properties by the household sector).
In Vietnam this category shows high
growth in all areas. The rise in credit available
(12% September 2015 year-on-year) and the
increase in properties available for purchase
(particularly in Ho Chi Minh City) supports
this component of GDP. The role on effects
of recent international trade agreements
supports continued fixed investments into
the country as FDI as companies prepare
to take advantage of the new trade terms,
particularly in exports. Lastly, the inventory
required to support the robust growth in
exports particularly in the technology sector
(telephones, electronics and computers),
reflects the high import content of Vietnams
manufacturing exports.

Government Spending (G)


This category is the total spending on
goods and services by local, provincial
and federal government. Recent World
Bank reports suggest rising government
capital expenditure and this reflects the
governments commitment to the three Rs
(railroads, roads, rivers) strategy to invest in

BY SHANE DILLON

infrastructure throughout the country.


This can be seen in new highways, deepwater ports and railroad improvements and
new developments. Government spending
will be affected by lower oil revenue and
corporate tax cuts and contingent liabilities
associated with state-owned enterprise
debts and state-owned banks. The currency,
while currently stable, could be negatively
affected by rate changes in the US and this
will affect the large public financing needs
and the country's costs to raise funds in the
international bond market.

Net Exports (NX)


This category is the value of the countrys
total exports less total imports. This results
in a country having a trade surplus, deficit
or trade balance. Vietnams rising trade
deficit (spending more on imports than
they earn on exports) means Vietnams
trade position weakened in 2015, narrowing
the current account surplus and this is
projected to narrow significantly in 2016 due
to moderating exports, sustained import
growth stocked by strong domestic consumer
demands for foreign goods.

Summary
Two of the four categories remain strong
(C) and (I) and two categories reflect
drains on GDP growth (G) and (NX). The
baseline outlook is positive for Vietnam
on balance, however downside risks will
dominate in 2016.
Shane can be contacted at shanedillon@
pacificcross.com

Ungaro and more. Also do


event management services.

COOKING CLASSES
OVERLAND CLUB
35Bis Huynh Khuong Ninh,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9734

overlandclub.jp

AIRLINES
AIR ASIA
airasia.com
AIR FRANCE
airfrance.com.vn
CATHAY PACIFIC
cathaypacific.com/vn
CHINA AIRLINES
china-airlines.com
JAPAN AIRLINES
vn.jal.com
JETSTAR PACIFIC
jetstar.com/vn/en
KOREAN AIR
koreanair.com
LAO AIRLINES
laoairlines.com
MALAYSIA
AIRLINES
malaysiaairlines.com

The Overland Club organises


pottery classes, VietnameseJapanese cooking classes,
cultural art events and
monthly special activities,
such as the Soba Festival,
pottery painting classes, the
art of decorating paper and
multinational cuisine days.
SAIGON COOKING
CLASSES BY HOA TUC
74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)
3825 8485

saigoncookingclass.com

Learn to cook quality Vietnamese cuisine with local


specialist Hoa Tuc. The threehour lesson, conducted by an
English-speaking Vietnamese
chef, includes a trip around
Ben Thanh Market to gather
fresh ingredients for the class.
VIETNAM COOKERY
CENTRE
Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu
Trong, Q1,Tel: (08) 3827 0349

vietnamese-cooking-classsaigon.com

CRAFTS & FURNITURE


ATC FURNITURE
ECO-FRIENDLY FURNITURE

268B Nam Ky Khoi Nghia,


Dist.3, HCMC, Tel: (08) 3932
6455; 30A Nguyen Huu Canh,
Binh Thanh, HCMC, Tel: (08)
3840 3946

atc-craft.com

AUSTIN HOME
REPRO FURNITURE / FABRICS

42 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3519 0023

austinhomeinteriors.com

SINGAPORE
AIRLINES
singaporeair.com
THAI AIRWAYS
thaiairways.com.vn
TIGER AIRWAYS
tigerair.com

This An Phu-based shop


stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so its limited and exclusive with only one or two
pieces of each particular
item. Also has a great range
of imported fabrics up on the
2nd floor and an in-house
sewing room for cushions,
sofas and curtains. Offers
custom-made furniture and
delivery within four weeks.
CHI LAI

VIETJETAIR
vietjetair.com
VIETNAM
AIRLINES
vietnamairlines.com

HOME FURNISHINGS

175 Ha Noi Highway, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3519 4543

chilai.com

This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a


good choice for most families with its respected highquality designs and competitive prices. Located on the
corner of Pham Ngoc Thach

and Dien Bien Phu, the spacious showroom specialises


in sofas and other furniture
such as table sets, shelves
and kitchen cabinets. There
is a large selection of carpets
as well as numerous choices
of curtains and accessories.
EM EM
SOUVENIRS

38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 4408

8am to 9.30pm

FEELING TROPIC
FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES

51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien,


Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2181
Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this
three-storey building is so
packed full of items for sale
that it doesnt seem to have
enough space for all of its
products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture
such as bamboo-imitation
and mosaic table sets, while
the second level stocks all
types of indoor furniture except beds. Accessories are
found on the level above.
MEKONG CREATIONS
FAIR TRADE CRAFTS

35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel:


(08) 2210 3110

mekong-creations.org
NGUYEN FRERES
NIK-NAKS / CRAFTS

2 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 9459

8am to 8pm

MEKONG QUILTS
HAND-MADE QUILTS

1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, Q1, Tel:


(08) 2210 3110

mekong-quilts.org
NHA XINH
HOME FURNISHINGS

2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65


Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 6115

nhaxinh.com

REMIX DECO
INDOOR FURNITURE

222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,


Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 4190

remixdeco.com

THE FURNITURE HOUSE


HOME FURNISHINGS

81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2,


Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643
THE FURNITURE
WAREHOUSE
EUROPEAN-STYLE FURNITURE

3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel:


(08) 6657 0788

thefurniturewarehouse.
com.vn

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 165

BODY

AND

TEMPLE

WORKOUT RULES

BY PHIL KELLY

veryone has his or her favourite


exercises when it comes to
working out. However, when
98% of people do not achieve the
results they want from their efforts in the
gym, we need to look at what is actually
being done.
The problem is that most people spend
their precious workout time on exercises
and programmes that are, generally
speaking, a waste of time. Inappropriate
workload, intensity, frequency, tempo
and duration are the key components
that must be understood to optimise
results.
Im not talking about individual
exercises that may not be appropriate
for certain individuals based upon their
conditioning level or training goals. I
am talking about training principles that
are scientifically proven to create the
ideal physiological benefits to maximise
health and fat loss.
The common method people
undertake when attempting to achieve
fat loss and health is to think that the
more calories they burn the better.
Hence, they run for as long as they can
as hard as they can. However, frequent
medium-to-difficult sustained efforts
over a medium-to-long duration (aka
chronic cardio) leads to over-stress,
fatigue, burnout, injury, accelerated
aging and an increased disease risk.
Whereas the correct resistance training
improves androgen (rejuvenation and
repair) levels and if done correctly can
improve usable fitness. Correct cardio
and resistance training have their place
in a well-rounded health and fat loss
routine.
The aim of any health and fat loss
programme should be to maximise
your fat burning hormone profile. It
should also not over expose your body
to prolonged stress or cause muscle
loss. Therefore the most effective
programme will focus on energy
system training, fat-burning hormone
production and metabolic efficiency. It
should also be periodically reviewed
to consider progress and match your
lifestyle requirements. Below are some
recommendations to consider when
creating an optimal health and fat loss
workout:

Cardio
Move: Your body should use fat as a
fuel at low intensity work. First look to
increase your steps per day walking

166 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Resistance training exercises like squats are ideal for burning fat

is extremely good for us and should be


done every day. If you are going to run
(for more than 30 minutes) do so at an
easy pace. This will not overstress your
system and teach your body to utilize fat
as a fuel.
Intervals: Burn more belly fat with
sprint intervals. A large number of
convincing studies show that highintensity interval training is the best for
losing belly fat.

Resistance Training
Resistance exercise makes the muscles
become more sensitive to insulin
equates to less fat-storing hormone
release. In addition, strength training
resets the part of the brain that is involved
in releasing hormones, so that cortisol
balance (stress) improves. It also elevates
the most beneficial fat-burning hormones
testosterone, human growth hormone
(HGH), adrenaline and lactic acid. The
key elements of your resistance workouts
should include the following:
a) Train with a high volume: perform
a high number of reps and work for

the pump. Body weight exercises are


perfect for this
b) Use whole body multi-joint exercises:
Single-leg squats, lunge jumps, step-ups,
chin-ups, push-ups, inverted rows, wall
shoulder press/stands, full sit-ups
again body weight stuff is perfect
c) Use very short rest periods: this will
require more maximal effort and produce
more HGH and lactic acid the belly fatburning hormones
d) Once per week lift heavy: this type of
training boosts HGH and testosterone and
maximizes insulin sensitivity
Although any exercise you do has
some benefit (and of course doing
something is better than nothing), these
principles will provide you the best
possible workout schedule. Train smarter,
fight the aging process and feel better by
choosing the most effective and efficient
exercises for your workouts.
Phil is founder and master trainer at
Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934
782763, at his website bodyexpertsystems.com
or through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.
com)

HCMC
Essentials

CYCLING
FIRSTBIKE VIETNAM

firstBIKE.com.vn

FirstBIKE balance bikes for


two to five-year-olds eliminate the need for training
wheels or stabilisers, and
support proper balance development.
JETT CYCLES
OWN-BRAND CYCLING SHOWROOM

384 Tran Phu, Q5; 168 Vo Thi


Sau, Q3

jett-cycles.com

The showroom home of Jett


Cycles, a homegrown cycling company with all products designed in Vietnam.
Sells up budget bicycles to
high-end product, with the
full range of accessories in
between. Also stocks GT and
Cannondale.
SAIGON CYCLES
CYCLING & ACCESSORIES

44 Phan Van Nghi (S51-1


Sky Garden 2), Q7, Tel: (08)
5410 3114

xedapcaocap.com

Specialising in Trek and Surly,


Saigon Cycles is also famed
for its Sunday morning rides.
Sells the full range of accessories and also does bicycle
repairs.

ELITE DENTAL GROUP.


57A, Tran Quoc Thao, Q3, HCMC,
Tel: (08) 3933 3737

info@elitedental.com.vn
elitedental.com.vn

Elite Dental is an international and well-equipped


clinic, which provides specialized dental services including ALL-ON-4 Implants,
ALL-ON-6 implants, dental
implants, prosthodontics,
Invisalign & orthodontics.
Luxury design and our dental experts will bring you
an extremely comfortable
experience.

INTERNATIONAL SOS
DENTAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3829 8424

internationalsos.com

Globally renowned provider


of medical assistance and international healthcare offers
full dental services in the
clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high
skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.
MINH KHAI DENTAL
CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

THE BIKE SHOP


CYCLING & ACCESSORIES

250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,


Tel: (08) 3744 6405

thebikeshopvn.com

The go-to location for all your


cycling needs in District 2.
Sells a range of brands including Cannondale, Jett, GT
and Aluboo, as well as the
full selection of accessories.
Organises regular cycle rides,
does repairs and rentals.
Check facebook.com/thebikeshopvn for more details.

M M M
DENTAL CLINICS

199 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 3399
STARLIGHT
DENTAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te,


Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 6222
24, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)
6282 8822

starlightdental.net

Longestablished, modern
clinic with French, Canadian,
Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the foreign residential community
due to its modern and effective treatments allied with
extremely reasonable prices.

ACCADENT
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le


Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8800

accadent.com

INTERNATIONAL SOS
DENTAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3829 8424

internationalsos.com

Globally renowned provider


of medical assistance and international healthcare offers
full dental services in the
clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high
skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.

WESTCOAST INTL DENTAL CLINIC


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC
Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung
Truc, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6999
Thao Dien Clinic, 27 Nguyen Ba
Lan, Q.2, Tel: (08) 35 191 777

westcoastinternational.com

An international dental clinic


equipped with the latest
technology, the comfortable
clinics offer cosmetic and
implant dentistry with a focus on making each patients
experience anxiety and pain
free.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 167

HCMC
Essentials

MAPLE HEALTHCARE
DENTAL & CHIROPRACTICS

Md6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7


(across from FV Hospital), Tel:
Tel: (08) 5410 0100

maplehealthcare.net

Specialising in healthcare,
dental services and chiropractic medicine, the recently opened Maple Healthcare comes replete with the
latest technology together
with efficient and comfortable service.

M M M
GALLERIES
CRAIG THOMAS
GALLERY
27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1, Tel:
0903 888431

cthomasgallery.com

Craig Thomas Gallery offers


a compelling mix of up-andcoming and established
local artists. In operation
since 2009, its founder has
been promoting Vietnamese art for a decade. Now
has a second newer gallery
at 165 Calmette, Q1, HCMC
DOGMA
8A/9C1 Thai Van Lung, Q1

dogmacollection.com

The home of Vietnamese


propaganda art and a collection put together over the
last two decades by art collector Dominic Scriven, the
majority of the work comes
from the war period when
provocative poster art was
used to inspire and motivate.
Sells prints of the originals
and related products.

ists, lecture series and an


exchange programme that
invites international artists /
curators to organise or collaborate on exhibitions.

frozen meat and fish, fruit,


vegetables, herbs, spices
and a wide selection of dairy
products.

GROCERIES & LIQUOR

THE WAREHOUSE
WINE SHOP

ANNAM GOURMET
MARKET
GROCERY & DELI

1618 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 9332; 41A Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2630

Annam-gourmet.com

Attractive and spacious


Frenchowned grocery shop
stocking a large range of
foods, organic fruit and
vegetables, imported beers
and wines. Also sells luxury
branded products from the
likes of Fauchon. The deli
upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung
branch serves tasty baguette
rolls in a comfortable lounge
area with free WiFi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured
meats in town.
CLASSIC FINE FOODS
No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street),
Q2, Tel: (08) 3740 7105

classicfinefoods.com

Supplier for the citys five


star hotels, also distributing
brands like San Pellegrino,
Rougie foie gras, Galbani
cheese, fresh poultries,
meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all
the products at the gourmet
shop on location.

galeriequynh.com

HO CHI MINH CITY FINE


ARTS MUSEUM
97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3829 4441

baotangmythuattphcm.vn

Set in one of the finest


remaining buildings of
colonial-era Vietnam, this
multi-storey museum houses
collections spanning centuries of Vietnamese art. Has
regular exhibitions.

san-art.org

San Art is an independent, artist-run exhibition


space that offers residency
programmes for young art-

168 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

GROCERS & DELI

29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3823 8526
Courtesy of a farm in Dalat,
Veggys retails some of the
best quality fruit and veg
available in the city. Also
has a wide selection of imported food products including USDA beef, the same beef
served up at El Gaucho.

HAIRDRESSERS,
SALONS & SPAS
AVEDA HERBAL SPA
Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671

avedaherbal@gmail.com
CAT MOC SPA
63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: (08)
6295 8926

catmocspa.com

Aimed exclusively at ladies


and couples only, treatments
at this Japanese spa include
facial, body and foot care,
and Japanese-style haircuts,
as well as steam-sauna, paraffin and waxing services.
CONCEPT COIFFURE
48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3519 4625

MEATWORKS BUTCHERY
BUTCHERS
1 Street 2, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)
3744 2565

meatworksasia.com

Focusing on the retail trade,


the meat at this Australianmanaged butcher comes
pre-prepared and, if you so
wish, pre-marinated. Sells
up some of the best imported meats in town together
with homemade sausages,
free-range products and
excellent Australian grassfed steak.

PHUONG HA
GROCERS

SAN ART
48/7 Me Linh, Binh Thanh,
Tel: (08) 6294 7059

VEGGYS

GROCERIES & IMPORTER

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

15/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3825 8826
One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition
to their excellent range of
wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral
water and spirits.

58 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3914 1318
A small yet amazingly wellstocked store that puts
many a supermarket in this
country to shame. As well
as a dizzying selection of
imported foods, also sells

Conceptcoiffure.vn

SPORTS
CRICKET
ECCS (THE ENGLISH
CRICKET CLUB
OF SAIGON)
Adam Zakharoff

Email: adamzakharoff@
gmail.com
ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET
CLUB OF SAIGON)
Deeptesh Gill, Tel: 01228
770 038

SAIGON SAINTS

saigonsaints.com

HASH HOUSE HARRIERS

gmunish29@yahoo.co.in

PSSC (PAKISTAN
SAIGON CRICKET CLUB)
Samie Cashmiri, Tel: 0976
469 090

samie.cashmiri@gmail.
com

SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB)


Steve Treasure, Tel: 0903
998 824

sacccricket@gmail.com

SSC (SRI LANKA


SPORTS CLUB)
Suhard Amit, Tel: 0988
571 010

suhard.amit@yahoo.com

manish@ambrij.com

Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages


lasting from 30 minutes, to
two-hour hot stone therapy,
includes one suite with a
Jacuzzi bath; offers hand
and foot care and a hair
styling area.

saigonrugbyfootballclub@
yahoo.com

ISCS (INDIAN SPORTS


CLUB IN SAIGON)
Munish Gupta, Tel: 0986
973 244

FAME NAILS SALON


3 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: 0909
682 827

glowsaigon.com

SAIGON RUGBY CLUB


RMIT University, 702
Nguyen Van Linh, Tan
Phong, Q7

SPORTS GENERAL

UCC (UNITED CRICKET


CLUB)
Asif Ali, Tel: 0937 079 034

GLOW SPA
129A Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 8368

Saigonraiders.com

deepteshgill@gmail.com

Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated


her long-standing flagship
salon Venus Coiffure to a villa
in Thao Dien. A full range of
services is offered including
a dedicated kids salon.

famenails.com

SAIGON RAIDERS

npasifali@hotmail.com

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA)


Manish Sogani, Tel: 0908
200 598

FOOTBALL & RUGBY


AUSTRALIAN RULES
FOOTBALL
Tel: 0937 683 230

vietnamswans.com

LES GAULOIS DE SAIGON

gauloisdesaigon.com

OLYMPIQUE SAIGON
Contact Fred on 0919 709
024 or Viet Luu 0909 500
171.

astere@hotmail.fr

saigonhash.com

RANGERS BASEBALL
TEAM

isao.shimokawaji@sapporobeer.co.jp
SAIGON INTERNATIONAL
DARTS LEAGUE

thesidl.com

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL
SOFTBALL LEAGUE

saigonsoftball.info

SAIGON SHOOTERS
NETBALL CLUB

saigonshootersnetball.
blogspot.com

SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY


28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08)
7303 1100

saigonsportsacademy.com

SQUASH
The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc
Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
2098 ext 176

thelandmarkvietnam.com
TORNADOS HOCKEY
CLUB
436A/33 Ba Thang Hai, Q10,
Tel: 0938 889899

James.chew@vietnamhockey.vn
ULTIMATE FRISBEE
RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van
Linh, Q7

Saigon-ultimate.com

XROCK CLIMBING
7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3,
Tel: (08) 6278 5794

xrockclimbing.com

HAIR BAR
CONTEMPORARY SALON

68 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (FREEPHONE) 1800 1108

hairbar.vn

A unique themed hair salon


where stylists use no scissors but styling equipment
only, giving female clients
the opportunity to get their
hair done on the run. Of
course, they have to look
fabulous, too. Fortunately
this is one of Hair Bars specialities. Check the salon out
on Facebook: facebook.com/
hairbarvn.
INDOCHINE SPA
69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3827 7188

Indochine-spa.com.vn

Indochine Spa provides a


peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents
and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural
French products in a clean
and pleasant environment.
JASMINE
45 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3827 2737

Jasminespa.vn

Sparelated salon with a


good reputation for quality
and comfort offers washes
and leisurely haircuts from
VND330,000 plus a range of
related services including
massage and some excellent
treatments.
MERCI
17/6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3825 8799

merci-space.com

A unique nail spa and bistro where you can pamper


your nails, enjoy a massage,
meet your friends, enjoy a
meal and sip a cocktail. Provides only waterless nails
treatments to avoid bacteria
and dry skin as well as Zoya
and Kure Bazaar non-toxic
varnishes.
QUYNH BEAUTY SALON
104A Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 4321
A District 2 favourite, this is
the salon to head to for anything from massage to haircuts, hairwashing to nails.
Cheap prices, too.
SOI SPA
6th & Rooftop, 44 Nguyen
Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8678

soispa.vn

A lovely little place with nail


services, shampoo head
massages, and other simple treatments for a quick
getaway experience. Also
features a rooftop terrace
and a great little drinks and
wine selection. Open daily
from 10am to 9pm.

SPA TROPIC
79 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel: (08)
3910 5575

spatropic.com

Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the


refurbished former Chilean
Consulate. Spa Tropic has
a long-standing reputation
among expats and visitors
alike for its professional
quality service.

HOSPITALS &
MEDICAL CLINICS
AMERICAN
CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC
CHIROPRACTOR

161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3939 3930

www.acc.vn

ACC provides effective chiropractic, physiotherapy,


acupuncture and foot care
treatments through the use
of cutting edge technology
for back, neck and knee
pain, sports injuries as well
as all types of foot related
problems without the need
of drugs or surgery.
AMERICAN EYE CENTER
5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105
Ton Dat Tien, Q7
Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759

americaneyecentervn.com

American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My


Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children
by an American Board-certified ophthalmologist with
17 years of experience. The
American-standard facility is
equipped with state of the
art equipments for the early
detection and treatment of
important eye diseases from
Lasik and cataract surgeries
to presbyopia, glaucoma
and diabetic eye disease
treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery
and Botox injections are also
available.
CENTRE MEDICAL
INTERNATIONALE (CMI)
FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC

1 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08)


3827 2366

cmi-vietnam.com

This French medical clinic


provides general practice
and a range of specialties
including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy, ophthalmology, paediatrics and
acupuncture.
FAMILY MEDICAL
PRACTICE
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC

34 Le Duan Street, Q1; 95 Thao


Dien Q2, Tel: (08) 3822 7848

vietnammedicalpractice.com
Family Medical Practice
(FMP) is the largest and one
of the oldest foreign, privately-owned, international
health care providers in Vietnam. As the only health

care provider that can offer


a countrywide network of
integrated clinics for foreign
and local populations, FMPs
main specialties include family medicine, pediatrics and
emergency medicine as well
as health checks and work
permit health-tests.
FV HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon


South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (08)
5411 3333
Emergency: (08) 5411 3500

fvhospital.com

International hospital
whose standard of health
care matches that found
anywhere, with 19 fulltime
French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing
expertise in 30 medical and
surgical areas, especially maternity care.
FV SAIGON CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC

3rd Floor, Bitexco Financial


Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel:
(08) 6290 6167

fvhospital.com

Stateoftheart medical centre located in District 1. Experienced American, French,


and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health
care. Plus sports medicine,
cosmetic treatments, skin
care and surgical consultations.
HANH PHUC
INTERNATIONAL
HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

Binh Duong Boulevard, Thuan An District, Binh Duong


Tel: (0650) 363 6068

hanhphuchospital.com

Claiming to be the first Singapore-standard hospital in


Ho Chi Minh City, this institution based on the outskirts
of town is gaining a growing
reputation for service and
treatment. Specialises in providing healthcare to women
and children. Has a clinic at
97 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1
HAPPINESS (HANH
PHUC) ORIENTAL
MEDICINE CENTER
EASTERN MEDICINE

432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7,


Tel: 0906 684 969
INTERNATIONAL SOS
HCMC MEDICAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3829 8424

internationalsos.com

The worlds leading provider


of medical assistance and international healthcare offers
primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is
available in many fields.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 169

HCMC
Essentials

IF CONSULTING
IBC Building, 3rd Floor, 1A
Me Linh Square, Q1, Tel: (08)
3827 7362

insuranceinasia.com
SIAN SKINCARE CLINIC
SKIN CARE / COSMETICS
107B Truong Dinh, Q3
Tel: 01676 71 75 79

sianclinic.com

The Australian and Canadian managed SIAN Clinic


offers a wide range of skincare medical therapies to
treat problems by an experienced dermatologist and
facial care team. The clinic
utilises the latest therapies.

STAMFORD SKIN CENTRE


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS

99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3925 1990

stamfordskin.com

Stamford Skin Centre offers a


broad range of medical and
aesthetic skin treatments.
Their international dermatologists and doctors ensure
accurate diagnosis and safe
treatment procedures. It
houses excellent equipment
for a variety of procedures.
TRADITIONAL
MEDICINE HOSPITAL
EASTERN MEDICINE

187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3932 6579
VICTORIA HEALTHCARE
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC

79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3910 4545

victoriavn.com

Well-regarded clinic offering


general examinations and
specialising in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology,
womens health and internal
medicine. Offers a membership programme and cooperates with most insurance
companies in Vietnam and
abroad.

Independent advisors that


represent top reputable
medical insurers provide
you with the best suitable
medical cover for individual,
family or company needs.
For emergencies call 0903
732365
LIBERTY INSURANCE
15th Floor, Kumho Asiana
Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel:
1800 599 998

libertyinsurance.com.vn

International insurance firm


providing the full range of
services to the individual
car insurance, travel insurance, health insurance, home
insurance and much more.
NOAH JAMES
INSURANCE AGENCY
Mobile: (1) 617 676 7858

noahjamesinsurance.com
Skype: jp.global

A full service broker offering expatriates and local


Vietnamese customized solutions from highly rated insurers for life, health, travel,
as well as speciality cover for
student travel, medevac, international marine, extreme
athletics and adventure. For
details contact: james@noahjamesinsurance.com
TENZING PACIFIC
SERVICES
181 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3821 5367

ten-pac.com

A full-service insurance broker offering a wide range of


insurance solutions from the
best local and international
providers. Recommendations
are based exclusively on client needs.

INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOLS

INSURANCE
PACIFIC CROSS VIETNAM
4th/12th Floor Continental
Tower, 81-83-85 Ham Nghi, Q1
Tel: (08) 3821 9908

pacificcross.com.vn

Pacific Cross Vietnam recently changed names,


from Blue Cross Vietnam,
to align with their regional
sister companies. Together
they form the Pacific Cross
group of companies with
over 60 years experience
providing health and travel
insurance to people who call
Asia home. Their reputation
for transparent, honest and
reliable service means they
are the strength behind
your insurance. Contact
them now for a free quote.

170 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

ABC INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (ABCIS)
Saigon South Campus 1 (Primary & Secondary), Tel: (08)
5431 1833/34/35/36; Saigon
South Campus 2 (Foundation Stage & Early Primary),
Tel: (08) 5431 1833/34/35/36

theabcis.com

Rated as outstanding by
British Government Inspectors, academic results puts
ABCIS among the top 8% of
schools worldwide. ABCIS
is accredited by CIE, AQA,
the Education Development
Trust and members of COBIS and FOBISIA. Provides
education for two to 18
year olds in a supportive
and friendly environment.

AUSTRALIAN
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (AIS)
Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van
Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519
2727; Thao Dien Campus,
APSC Compound, 36 Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6960;
Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai
Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08)
3742 4040

aisvietnam.com

The Australian International


School is an IB World School
with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering
an international education
from kindergarten to senior
school with the IB Primary
Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programme
(including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).
ETONHOUSE INTERNATIONAL
PRE-SCHOOL @ AN PHU
1st and 2nd floor, Somerset
Vista, 628C Hanoi Highway, An
Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 6287 0804
etonhouse.vn/schools/hcmc
Following an international
curriculum for children aged
18 months to six years, in the
early years, an Inquire-ThinkLearn approach is followed,
inspired by the Reggio Emilia
Project of Northern Italy. It is
a play-based, inquiry model
in which children co-construct their learning in close,
respectful collaboration with
their teachers. This helps
us provide an environment
where children take responsibility for their own learning, allowing them a head
start in life.
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (BIS)
246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3744 2335

bisvietnam.com

Inspected and approved by


the British Government, BIS
provides a British style curriculum for an international
student body from pre-school
to Year 13. The school is
staffed by British qualified
and trained teachers with
recent UK experience. Fully
accredited by the Council of
International Schools and a
member of FOBISIA, BIS is the
largest international school in
Vietnam.
CANADIAN
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
7 Road 23, Phu My Hung, Q7,
Tel: (08) 5412 3456

cis.edu.vn

The first Canadian international school in Vietnam


serves local and foreign
students from Kindergarten
to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the
internationally recognised
Ontario curriculum to create a student-centred learning environment promoting
academic excellence. Has a

KIDS CLASSES & SPORTS


DANCENTER
53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4490

dancentervn.com

Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop,


funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at
this modern dance studio.
HELENE KLING OIL PAINTING
189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 955780

helenekling.com

INSPIRATO MUSIC CENTER


37 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0932 737700

Inspirato.edu.vn

MINH NGUYEN PIANO BOUTIQUE


94A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7691

Minhnguyenpiano.com

PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY OF SAIGON


19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9679

paa.com.vn

Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids


in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet
and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and
a mixture of private and group classes.
PIANO CLASSES
Tel: 01225 636682

morrissokoloff@hotmail.com
SAIGON MOVEMENT
Tel: 0987 027 722

saigonmovement@gmail.com
SAIGON SEAL TEAM
55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2, Tel: 0905 098 279
SAIGON PONY CLUB
38, Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, Q2, Tel: 0913 733360

Saigonponyclub.com

SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY


28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100

saigonsportsacademy.com

International coaches provide training in soccer, basketball, tennis and swimming for children aged four to 16
years and private lessons for children and adults. Youth
soccer league Sundays from 2pm to 6pm in District 7.
TAE KWON DO
BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0903 918 149
VINSPACE
6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729 846

vin-space.com

newly built campus.

Nobel Education Network.


The school educates global
citizens to enjoy learning, inquiring and caring for others.

SAIGON SOUTH
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (SSIS)
78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel:
(08) 5413 0901

ssis.edu.vn

Offers an American-style education (SAT, IB and AP) from


elementary to high-school,
emphasizing a multicultural
student environment and a
commitment to wellrounded education at all levels.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
HO CHI MINH CITY
28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08)
3898 9100

ishcmc.com

HCMCs most established


international school offers
three International Baccalaureate programmes for
students from two to 18
years old. ISHCMC will be
launching a new secondary
campus in 2017, featuring
Vietnams first Innovation
Center, a 350-seat professional theatre, NBA-sized
basketball courts and a 25m
competitive swimming pool.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
HO CHI MINH CITY
AMERICAN ACADEMY
16 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08)
3898 9100

aavn.edu.vn

ISHCMC American Academy is a U.S. curriculum


secondary school for students aged 11 to 18 years
old. Early university credits,
a 1:1 University Counseling
Program, and an extensive
EAL program set our graduates on the road to 100%
acceptance rate at overseas
universities and a US$1 million scholarship fund.

KIDS CLUB SAIGON


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

kidsclubsaigon.com

Early childhood centres in


Phu My Hung offering creative play-based programmes
for children ages two to five.
Known for unique facilities,
experienced staff, highquality learning resources,
and small class sizes.
EUROPEAN
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
HO CHI MINH CITY (EIS)
730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Q2,
Vietnam, Tel: (08) 7300 7257

eishcmc.com

The European International


School offers a supportive
and challenging academic
education from Early Years
to Grade 12 based on the IB
curriculum. EIS is a Nobel Talent School and is part of the

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
SAIGON PEARL
92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh,
Tel: (08) 2222 7788/99

issp.edu.vn

Vietnams only international


school offering a U.S. curriculum for children aged
18 months to 11 years old.
With 100% English language
immersion, a library containing over 13,500 English
books and more than 60%
of students achieving above
grade level English, ISSP
students are well prepared
for secondary school at ISHCMC or ISHCMC - American
Academy.

MONTESSORI
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3744 2639

montessori.edu.vn

Aiming to encourage childrens engagement with


their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three
to 12 a classic Montessori
education as well as a variety
of extracurricular activities.
RENAISSANCE
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL SAIGON
74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7,
Tel: (08)3773 33171 ext
120/121/122

renaissance.edu.vn

Renaissance is an International British school providing an inclusive curriculum


based upon the British curriculum complemented by
the International Primary
Curriculum and International Baccalaureate. It is a
family school with first-class
facilities including a 350-seat
theatre, swimming pool,
mini-pool, play-areas, gymnasium, IT labs, music and
drama rooms, science labs
and an all-weather pitch.
SAIGON KIDS
EDUCATIONAL
CHILDCARE CENTRE
15 Street 12, Q2, Tel: (08)
3740 8081

saigonkidskindergarten.com

SKECC has evolved over 10


years to create a creative,
playful learning environment for children ages two
to six. Limited class sizes and
highly engaged teachers ensure personal attention for
all students.

SAIGON STAR
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Residential Area No. 5,
Thanh My Loi, Q2, Tel: (08)
3742 7827

saigonstarschool.edu.vn

Supported by the Cambridge International Primary


Programme, SSIS integrates
Montessori methods into
nursery and kindergarten
programmes to create a
stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes
allow experienced teachers
to cater to individual needs.
SMARTKIDS
1172 Thao Dien Compound,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26,
Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3898 9816; 15 Tran
Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3519 4236

smartkidsinfo.com

This international childcare


centre provides children ages
18 months to six years with
a high quality education in
a playful and friendly environment.
THE AMERICAN SCHOOL
172-180 Nguyen Van Huong,
Q2, Tel: 0903 952223

tas.edu.vn

Accredited by the Western


Association of Schools and
Colleges (WASC), TAS represents 20 nationalities and
provides an American-based
curriculum with rigorous
performance standards and
a variety of academic offerings. Runs advanced placement courses and university
credit courses through their
partnership with Missouri
State University, as well as
an Intensive ESL Program for
English Language Learners.

M M M
PROPERTY RENTALS
CHUMS HOUSE
121/21 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)
3920 7237
EASY SAIGON
Tel: 0932 112694

easysaigon.com

The Easy Saigon website is


a useful real estate website
helping expats to find apartments in Ho Chi Minh City.
Enquiries via their website
are welcome.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 171

HCMC
Essentials

HAPPY HOUSE
32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701,
Q1, Tel: 01659 419916
NAM HOUSE
48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel: 0989 007700

namhouse.com.vn

Expert in providing rental


properties, constructions
and interior decoration,
especially in District 2. Supports professional services
and aftersales.
RESIDENT VIETNAM
Unit 601 48 Hoa Su, Phu
Nhuan, Tel: (08) 2226 8855

residentvietnam.com

SNAP
32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4282

snap.com.vn

Owners of Snap Caf in District 2, Snap offers a web


based real estate search
service with information on
rental properties all around
the city, as well as an advisory service for those averse
to wading into the internet
depths for their needs.
THE NEST
216/4 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,
Tel: 0938 580800

thenesthousing.com

Wellknown property search


and real estate agency with
a useful website listing properties available for rent and
sale, orientated towards expats. Website is in English,
French and Spanish.

M M M
MOTORBIKES
CHIS CAF
RENTALS

185/30 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,


Tel: 0903 643446

Just relocated to its new


home in District 2, Saigon
Scooter Centre is more than
just the place to go for all
your classic scooter needs.
Also does accessories, quality imported helmets and
bike rentals.

M M M
RECRUITMENT & HR
ADECCO VIETNAM
11th floor, Empire Tower, 26
- 28 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08)
3915 3430

adecco.com.vn

Adecco is the world leader in


human resources solutions.
Established in Vietnam in
2011, Adecco offers a wide
array of global workforce
solutions and specialises in
finance & legal, sales, marketing & events, IT, engineering & technical, and office.
HR2B/TALENT
RECRUITMENT JSC
1st Floor, Thien Son Building,
5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel:
(08) 6288 3888

hr2b.com

G.A. CONSULTANTS
VIETNAM CO., LTD.
Ho Chi Minh Office: Room
2B-2C, 2nd Floor, 180 Pasteur,
District 1, HCMC.

vieclambank.com

VIETNAMWORKS.COM
130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1,
Tel: (08) 5404 1373

vietnamworks.com

The best-known recruitment


website in Vietnam. Post
youre the position youre
looking for and wait for the
responses. Youll get many.
Also a good site for expat
jobseekers.

RELOCATION AGENTS

chiscafe.com

Probably the best-known


motorbike rental joint in
town with over 200 bikes
and a range of models and
makes. Rents by the day or
by the month. Call or check
the website for details. Also
does visa extensions.
SAIGON BIKE RENTALS
Tel: 0972 451273

nga.natalie@gmail.com
saigonbikerentals.com

Rents out a range of models including Honda Waves,


Yamaha Nouvos, Classicos,
Luvias, SYM Attilas and
Excels. Call for details and
prices.
SAIGON SCOOTER
CENTRE
RENTALS / CLASSIC SCOOTERS

77a Hanoi Highway, Thao


Dien, Q2, Tel: 0903 013690

saigonscootercentre.com

172 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

provides tailored relocation


services.
ASIAN TIGERS MOBILITY
Unit 9.3, Floor 9, Ree Tower, 9
Doan Van Bo, Ward 12, District
4, HCMC, Tel: (08) 3 826 7799

asiantigers-mobility.com

Asian Tigers is one of the


largest regional move management specialists, with services including door-to-door
moving, housing and school
searches, local and office
moves and pet relocations.
JVK INTERNATIONAL
MOVERS
1st Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4,
Tel: (08) 3826 7655

jvkasia.com

Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods,


JVK is a leader in the field.
LOGICAL MOVES
VIETNAM
396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4,
Tel: (08) 3941 5322

logicalmoves.net

Specialists in international,
local, domestic and office
moves for household goods
and personal effects through
our global partner network.
Experts in exporting used
scooters that do not have
documentation.
SANTA FE RELOCATION
SERVICES
8FL, Thien Son Building, 5
Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel:
(08) 3933 0065

santaferelo.com

With over 150 offices around


the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving,
pet transportation, relocation
services including home
search, orientation, cultural
training, immigration services and records management.
Email Vietnam@santaferelo.
com for info.

SERVICED
APARTMENTS

INTERCONTINENTAL
ASIANA SAIGON
RESIDENCES
Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van
Huu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 8888

intercontinental.com/saigonres

Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon youll


find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The
residences offer panoramic
views of the downtown area.
NORFOLK MANSION
1719-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3822 6111

norfolkmansion.com.vn

Offers a wide choice of luxurious and modern furnished


accommodation with attentive and discreet service.
Facilities include an outdoor
swimming pool, a gym, sauna and steam room, as well
as two on-site restaurants.
RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS
53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3744 4111

Riverside-apartments.com

Over four Saigon Riverbank


hectares, Riverside Apartments combines a resort
lifestyle with the amenities
of a fully serviced-apartment.
Located minutes from downtown by high-speed boat
shuttle.
SHERWOOD RESIDENCE
127 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08)
3823 2288

AGS FOUR WINDS (VIETNAM)


5th Floor, Lafayette De Saigon, 8A
Phung Khac Khoan, Q1, Tel: (08)
3521 0071

agsfourwinds.com

A global leader in international removals and relocations,


with 130 offices globally, we
can move your property to
and from any location.

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

alliedpickfords.com

With more than 800 offices


in over 45 countries, Allied
Pickfords is one of the worldwide leaders in removal services. In Vietnam, Allied also

the-ascott.com

Diamond Island Luxury


Residences offers 68 fullyfurnished apartments, from
two to four-bedroom units
with spectacular panoramic
views of the city. Each apartment comes with a fullyequipped kitchen, en-suite
bathrooms, separate work
and living areas, a balcony,
modern amenities, elegant
furnishings and carefully
chosen trimmings.

With tattoos becoming


increasingly popular,
over the past few years
there has been an
increase in the number
of tattoo studios around
the city.
Customers have the
choice of picking their
own tattoo out of the
many look books on
offer in the studios or
bringing in their own
design. Most of the
studios offer bodypiercing services as
well. Pricing depends
on size and style.

EXILE INK
608

57 Xuan Thuy, Q2,


Tel: (08) 6675 6956

exileinkvietnam.com

sherwoodresidence.com

Sherwood Residence is a
luxurious serviced apartment property where modern living spaces meet prime
location, comfort and class,
with fivestar facilities and
service.
SOMERSET SERVICED
RESIDENCES
8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3822 8899; 21-23
Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3822 9197; 628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu, Q2, Tel:
(08) 6255 9922

somerset.com
DIAMOND ISLAND
LUXURY RESIDENCES
No 01 Street No.104-BTT,
Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 5678

TATTOO
ARTISTS

Somerset Chancellor Court,


Somerset Ho Chi Minh City
and Somerset Vista Ho Chi
Minh City serviced residences
combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the
services of a top-rated hotel.
They come with separate living and dining areas, as well
as a fully equipped kitchen
where guests can prepare a
meal for themselves, their
family and friends.

SPORTS & FITNESS


CHIARA SQUINZI
Tel: 01278 163620

SAIGON BODY
ART

135 Cong Quynh, Q1


Tel: 0908 443311

saigonbodyart.com
SAIGON INK

26 Tran Hung Dao, Q1


Tel: (08) 3836 1090

tattoovietnam.com

SAIGON TATTOO
31B Nguyen Du, Q1

saigontattoo.net

SAIGON TATTOO
Group
81 Bui Vien, Q1
Tel: 0908 573339

xamnghethuat.vn
TATTOO SAIGON

128 Nguyen Cu Trinh,


Q1
Tel: 0938 303838

tattoosaigon.com

laholista.com

Experienced health coach


and corporate & school wellness coach. Can help clients
achieve health and weight
goals through an innovative
holistic approach of food,
body and mind. Email chiara@laholista.com for info.

TATTOO TAM BI
209 Bui Vien, Q1
Tel: 0919 034383

xamphunnghethuat.
com

THE LANDMARK CLUB


GYM, POOL, SQUASH

The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc


Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
2098 ext. 176

thelandmarkvietnam.com
BODY AND MIND

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

CINEBOX

240 Ba Thang Hai, Q10


Tel: (08) 3862 2425

cinebox.vn

LOTTE CINEMA

13th Floor, Diamond


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

lottecinemavn.com

GALAXY CINEMA

230 Nguyen Trai, Q1


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

galaxycine.vn

BOXING / FITNESS
49A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, Tel: 0947
771326

cyril-and-you.com

This sports centre in An


Phu, started by fitness guru
Cyril, features the same
personalised mentorship
Cyril's clients love. Includes
yoga, boxing and fitness for
kids and adults every day.
No membership fees. Pay
for classes. Tuesday to Friday every week at 5pm. All
activities are safe and run
by Cyril himself.

NUTRIFORT (NTFQ2)
GENERAL FITNESS

34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3744 6672

nutrifort.com

A well-appointed gym also


offering fitness classes and
personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes
include power yoga, pilates,
circuit training, martial arts
and spinning. Also has a
restaurant serving calorie
calibrated meals.
SAIGON HASH
HOUSE HARRIERS

saigonhash.com

Sunday 2pm sharp, Caravelle hotel. Bus out to the


county with a walk, usually
4km and a run around 8km.
VND150,000 for locals and
VND220,000 for expats. Bus,
water, snacks and freeflow
beer after the run.

In addition to the squash


court, facilities include a
fullyequipped gym room, a
rooftop swimming pool and
separate male and female
saunas.
VERTICAL ACADEMY
CLIMBING GYM

Truc Duong, Q2, Tel: 0966


920612

facebook.com/vertical.academy.vn

A bouldering gym and pro


climbing wall replete with
a showroom and caf offers
something that this area has
never experienced before, a
place to climb. Has a number
of climbing sections, runs
training courses and also
sells daily climbing passes
for VND150,000 (for a 10-visit
pass pay VND1 million).

VETERINARY CLINICS

SPORTS GARMENTS

City with international veterinary surgeons. Upholding


international standards, the
team works tirelessly to help
clients with the support of a
dedicated surgical suite, digital X-Ray and comprehensive
diagnostic facilities.

SCORE-TECH

VIETNAMESE CLASSES

1870/3G An Phu Dong 3, Q12, Tel:


(08) 3719 9588

VIETNAMESE
LANGUAGE GARDEN
135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh
Thanh, Tel: 0916 670 771

vietnameselanguagegarden.
com

VLS SAIGON
45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3910 0168

vlstudies.com

Offers courses ranging


from basic conversational
Vietnamese to upper elementary, intermediate and
advanced levels, as well as
special courses including
Vietnamese literature, composition or a 6-hour survival
crash course.

score-tech.net

Apparel company offering personalised sport


garments for companies,
schools and professional
sports clubs using the latest
printing technology with a
design team from Barcelona. Score-Tech controls the
whole production process
from fabric production and
printing to sewing. Big and
small orders for all sporting
and commercial needs.

ANIMAL DOCTORS
INTERNATIONAL
1 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien,
Q2. (08) 6260 3980

animaldoctors.vn

Offers the very highest levels


of compassionate, competent and professional veterinary medicine and surgery
to all pets in Ho Chi Minh

SHERATON FITNESS
HEALTH CLUB & GYM

Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2828

sheratonsaigon.com
SOFITEL PLAZA
FITNESS CENTRE
HEALTH CLUB & GYM

IDECAF

31 Thai Van Lung, Q1


Tel: (08) 3829 5451

idecaf.gov.vn

17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 1555
A small but well-appointed
gym with regular fitness
classes, a steam room and
sauna. Has a small but consistent membership.

CGV CINEMAS

Level 5, Crescent Mall,


Nguyen Van Linh, Phu
My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08)
5412 2222; Level 10, CT
Plaza, 60A Truong Son,
Tan Binh, Tel: (08) 6297
1981; Level 2, Thao Dien
Mall, 12 Quoc Huong,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 3000;
Level 5, SC VivoCity,
1058 Nguyen Van Linh,
Q7, Tel: (08) 3775 0555;
Level 7, Hung Vuong
Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong,
Q5, Tel: (08) 2222 0388

STAR FITNESS GYM


HEALTH CLUB & GYM

Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh,


Tel: (08) 3514 0253
Steve Chipman, who had a
hand in establishing gyms
at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is
behind Star Fitness one of
Vietnams largest and bestequipped gyms.

cgv.vn

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 173

BAR STOOL
MARTINI BAR

PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

f you havent dared step foot in


the Park Hyatt for fear of being
immediately relieved of all your
hard-earned cash, fear not. The hotels
Martini Bar, officially called 2 Lam Son,
has a 51 percent off happy hour on all
drinks between 5pm and 8pm, every day
of the week.
The special extends to some of the most
finely crafted cocktails in the city, so you
dont have to be a high-roller to enjoy
something as well put together as what
theyre calling the Behind the Success.
This drink is not on the menu, so its a
by special request only, but is an aromatic
adventure featuring thyme, lemon and
cinnamon, surrounding a black tea infused
with bergamot essence, juniper berries and
mixed with Botanist Gin.
Its made by the team behind the bar of
Lung, Long and Nguyen, and we highly

174 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

recommend asking for one on your next big


date or to impress that hard-to-please client.

Stalwart
Far from being exclusive or stuffy, the
Martini Bar has been a stalwart of the inner
city after-work drinks crowd for years.
Its a mix of local and international guests,
who come to enjoy the street-level peoplewatching along Hai Ba Trung, and to either
relax in a private table setting or be more
social around the bar. From Wednesday to
Saturday there are DJs from 9.30pm until late
and on Thursdays the first drink is free for
ladies after 9pm.
If youre into the classics the 2 Lam
Son Mojito (VND320,000) is a winner, as
is the Lonely Star (VND300,000) which is
a refreshing but not too sweet gin-based
drink featuring a homemade mix of
blueberry and ginger.

Put a Smile on Your Face


The dcor is sophisticated and comfortable,
featuring lots of timber with splashes
of color and intimate lighting for
when the mood takes you. The drinks
list is extensive, as are the number of
international wines on offer. The staff are
there to put a smile on your face, and the
ones we met were more than happy to give
some local advice on how to make the most
of your time in town.
Also, its worth noting that if youre reading
this on your birthday, you should get down
there immediately, because on your special
day you can drink for free all night! Just bring
some ID and celebrate in style. Why not? It
only happens once a year! Jon Aspin
2 Lam Son (Martini Bar) is at 2 Lam Son
Square, Q1, HCMC. The main entrance is on Hai
Ba Trung. Starting from May, Japanese DJ Take
will spin tunes every Friday from 9.30pm

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 175

HCMC
On The Town

BARS & CLUBS


2 LAM SON
(MARTINI BAR)
TOP-END INTERNATIONAL

Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3824 1234

saigon.park.hyatt.com

International dcor blends


seamlessly with local
themes. Style joins forces
with a wide-ranging drink
menu and hip dance tunes
to create one of the most
tasteful if pricier bars in
Saigon.
ACOUSTIC BAR
LIVE MUSIC

6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, Tel:


(08) 3930 2239
Though only 1km from the
city centre, Acoustic is well
off most foreigners radars.
Come see the Vietnamese
house band play nightly, as
well as performances from
overseas bands and guest
artists.

With a free book exchange,


and tasty Sunday night
roasts, the tiny Bread &
Butter is a perfect place for
homesick expats and beer
enthusiasts (excellent HueBrewed Huda beer served
here exclusively in Ho Chi
Minh City).
BROMA, NOT A BAR
COCKTAILS / ROOFTOP

41 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 6838
Bromas medieval rooftopcocktail lounge conglomeration is a magnet for the citys
weirdest and coolest events/
random moments. A sophisticated cocktail menu and
quite possibly the best lamb
burger in town. Check out
their bun bo Hue-inspired
cocktail.
BUDDHA BAR
RESTOBAR

7 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


3345 6345

Buddhabarsaigon.com
APOCALYPSE NOW
DANCE / NIGHTCLUB

2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 6124

apocalypsesaigon.com

An institution and the kind of


place you end up drunk after
midnight. Famed for its notso-salubrious clientele, this
two-floor establishment with
DJs and occasional live music
is also famed for its hotdogs,
which are served up in the
garden terrace out back.
BIA CRAFT
CRAFT BEER BAR

90 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (08)


3744 2588

biacraft.com

As craft beer continues to


take over watering holes
around Ho Chi Minh City, so
a bar dedicated to all things
craft and real ale seems
like a pretty sensible idea,
right? Well, it is. Only small,
but with wooden tables perfect for sharing, both on tap
and by the bottle, Bia Craft
sells up a delectable range of
the good stuff. Looking for Tiger? Go take a hike. Also has
a decent food menu.
BLANCHYS TASH
RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB

95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 0909


028293
blanchystash.com
A multi-storey bar with dcor
and atmosphere more akin
to such an establishment in
New York or London. Has a
reputation for bringing in
big-name DJs. And when we
say big, we mean big. Check
their website for details.
BREAD & BUTTER
INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD

40/24 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3836 8452

176 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Just across the lane from


McSorleys, this pub with an
eccentric European tilt and
some nice, authentic cuisine
draws an older crowd with
darts, pool and weekly poker
tourneys.
CHAMPION SPORTS BAR
SPORTS BAR

45-47 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3920 4202
A recent addition to the
sports-and-watering-hole
drinking scene, Champion
is located in the Backpackers area and shows all the
major televised sports. Also
has a pool table, darts, tasty
Western and Vietnamese
food, great cocktails and ice
cold beer. Western managed,
wonderful local staff. #BeAChampion.

out their daily food specials.

AFTERHOURS LOUNGE

EON HELI BAR


LOUNGE BAR

Level 52, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai


Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750

eon51.com

Breathtaking views require a


vantage point and EON Heli
Bar is by far the highest spot
in Saigon for a spectacular
cityscape, appealing drinks
and a vibrant ambience.
Night live music and DJs.
GAME ON
SPORTS BAR

115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08)


6251 9898

gameonsaigon.com

A fresh feel thanks to the


large space and light-wood
tables makes this Australian-influenced watering hole
a popular bar for televised
sports, pub food, darts, pool
and more.
HOA VIEN
CZECH BREWHOUSE

28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 8605

hoavien.vn

The original microbrewery,


this large, wooden-panelled, brass-kegged Czech
Brewhouse is as popular as
it was 15 years ago when
it was first opened. Does
a great food menu to accompany the home-brewed
beer.

Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372

chillsaigon.com

For the spectacular views


alone, Chill Skybar remains
the place to go to mix topend, outdoor terrace drinking
around an oval-shaped bar
with cityscapes of Saigon.
One of the top watering
holes in the city.

ICE BLUE
EXPAT BAR

24 Hai Ba Trung, Q1
One of this citys longest running watering holes and
the original home of the
darts league has recently
reopened in its new premises. Naturally, darts are still
key here, with each of the
bottom three floors having
elements devoted to this
most pub-friendly of sports.

55, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


3744 5453
What does the Thao Dien
area of Saigon seriously lack?
A sports bar. And this is the
Al Fresco Groups answer to a
distinct shortage hole in the
market. Sleek lines, modern
dcor, elegant and spacious,
dartboards and of course,
lots of large screens to watch
the televised sports. Check

lastcallsaigon.com

If youre in need of dense,


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

DELIVERY
BEN STYLE

LE PUB
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR

175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3837 7679
Warm colors, artsy dcor and
a friendly ambiance combine
to create a perfect setting for
enjoying tasty international
and Vietnamese cuisine.
Gets busy at weekends with
a clientele made up of hip,
young Vietnamese and the
occasional foreigner.

Tel: 0906 912730

www.
vietnammm.com/
restaurants-ben-style
CHEZ GUIDO

Tel: (08) 3898 3747

www.chezguido.com
DOMINOS PIZZA
Tel: (08) 3939 3030

www.dominos.vn
LONG PHI
FRENCH / RESTOBAR

207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 2704
French-run but universally
appealing, Long Phi has been
serving the backpacker area
with excellent cuisine and
occasional live music since
1990. Excellent late-night
bistro cuisine.
MALT
46-48 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1
Malt is a non-smoking bar
in downtown Saigon offering shuffleboard, darts, craft
beers on tap, signature cocktails and delicious tapas and
pub grub. Its unpretentious
vibe and casual atmosphere
will have you feeling at
home.

EAT.VN
www.eat.vn

HUNGRYPANDA.
VN

www.hungrypanda.vn
KFC

Tel: (08) 3848 9999

www.kfcvietnam.
com.vn

LOTTERIA

Tel: (08) 3910 0000


www.lotteria.vn

PIZZA HUT (PHD)


MAY RESTAURANT
& BAR

Tel: (08) 3838 8388

www.pizzahut.vn

LOUNGE BAR & RESTOBAR

LA HABANA
CUBAN / MUSIC BAR

6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 5180

lahabana-saigon.com

Cuban-themed bar and restaurant selling an exciting


range of Spanish and Cuban
cuisine, as well as a few German favourites such as curry
wurst and Wiener schnitzel.
Nightly live music and regular salsa classes.

D2
SPORTS BAR

59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 3122

GAMES & CRAFT BEER BAR

CHILL SKYBAR
TOP-END BAR & TERRACE

LAST CALL

LA FENETRE SOLEIL
FRENCH / JAPANESE RESTOBAR

44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 5994
A seductive watering whole
in a great corner location
thanks to its old Saigon
glamour, Japanese-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, imported
beer, classic cocktails, and
entertaining music events
/ DJ sets.

19-21 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


6291 3686

mayrestaurant.com.vn

An international comfortfood menu mixes with


excellent cocktails and an
extensive winelist at this
attractive, international bar
and restaurant. Dine at the
bar or upstairs in the restaurant space.
NUMBER FIVE
EXPAT BAR

44 Pasteur, Q1
The original expat bar, this
institution of a place gets
packed every night thanks to
its drinking hall atmosphere,
attractive bar staff and German food menu. Has regular
live music.
OMG!
FUSION CUISINE / LOUNGE BAR

Top Floor, 15-17-19 Nguyen

SCOOZI

Tel: (08) 3823 5795


www.scoozipizza.com

TACO BICH
www.tacobich.com
VIETNAMMM
www.vietnammm.com

An Ninh, Q1
A contemporary and attractive
rooftop restaurant with a lounge
bar just 50m from Ben Thanh
Market. Features a glass shell
modeled in the image of the Eiffel Tower, a jungle-like atmosphere
and views over central Saigon.
OBRIENS

Lai, Q1

saigonsoul.com

The ultimate in poolside entertainment, Saigon Soul is defined by


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

IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL

74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 3198

irish-barsaigon.com

This Irish-themed sports bar with


classic pub dcor is widely appreciated for its excellent international fare, large whiskey selection
and upstairs pool table. Great pizzas. And for a real treat, check out
their zesty rolls.
ONTOP BAR
Novotel Saigon, 167 Hai Ba Trung,
Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 4866
Located on the 20th floor with
stunning views of the city, houses
an upscale, contemporary interior
and an outdoor terrace. A good
venue to chill out in a relaxed and
casual, yet hip ambience.
PEACHES
CURRY PUB

S57-1 Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung,


Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0999
Known as the Curry Pub, this
pleasant Saigon South watering hole mixes the beer with all
things curry anything from Goan
fish curries to beef rendangs and
more. A popular local haunt.
PHATTYS
AUSTRALIAN / SPORTS

46-48 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08)


3821 0796

phattysbar.com

From its roots as the famed Caf


Latin, Phattys has become the goto, Aussie beer-guzzling / sports
viewing emporium, showing everything from international cricket
to Aussie rules and serving an array of pub grub favourites.

SAIGON OUTCAST

SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT

C0.01 Riverside Residence C,


Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08)
6274 1520

facebook.com/PitchersPMH

Located in the heart of Phu My


Hung, this spacious restobar with
an affection for showing televised
sports has a family friendly edge
thanks to its kids play area. Does a
great grill menu and of course, lots
of very cold beer for those developing a thirst in the Saigon heat.

with BBQs available for parties and events.

DANISH / INTERNATIONAL

5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827


4738

Stormp.vn

Named after the Danish artist


Storm P, this long-running bar is
the home of Saigons Scandinavian
community thanks to its laid-back
atmosphere and excellent food
menu. A good place to watch the
live sports.

VESPER GOURMET LOUNGE


INTERNATIONAL

Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3822 9698

facebook.com/vespersaigon

A sophisticated yet down-to-earth cocktail


bar and restaurant with subtle lighting and
one of the best spirit selections in town.
Serves creative, Japanese and German-influenced cuisine to supplement the drinks.

EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAF BAR

188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel:


0122 4283198

Saigonoutcast.com

Up-cycling and innovative design


form the foundation for this bar /
arts venue / mini-skate park and
graffiti space. Come for barbeque
and reasonably priced drinks, stick
around for entertaining events and
markets.
SAIGON RANGER
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

5/7 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08)


7300 0559

facebook.com/saigonranger

Aspiring to be a focal point for


artistic activities, the space at
Saigon Ranger has been established to create encounter and
dialogue between different forms
of art. Boasts concrete floors, dark
wooden furniture, quirky wall designs and a stage for live music
and other types of performance.
SAIGON SAIGON BAR
LIVE MUSIC / ROOFTOP BAR

9th Floor, Caravelle Saigon, 1923 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08)
3823 4999

caravellehotel.com

This iconic bar is a great place to


watch the sun go down over the
city and relax for a few drinks with
friends. Has live entertainment six
nights a week courtesy of resident
Cuban band, Qvans, from 9pm
Wednesday to Monday.

THE CUBE BAR


HIP RESTOBAR

VINYL BAR

31B Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0903


369798

MUSIC & SPORTS BAR

A sleek, industrial looking restobar


with edgy dcor and just a hint
of Spanish style. Tapas, sangria,
Iberian-influenced cocktails and
an emphasis on all things Latin.

A small but popular bar with all the shenanigans of the nightlife scene set to a backdrop
of classic 60s, 70s and 80s tunes. Has a darts
area out back and is a popular space for
watching the live English Premier League.

facebook.com/thecubesaigon

THE OBSERVATORY
BAR, ART & DJ SPACE

5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, (Opposite


Elisa Boat)
Known for its late night parties
and focus on international artists, Observatory is now at a bigger
space in District 4. Complete with
a new balcony overlooking the
Saigon River and an even larger
sound system, The Observatory is
a key node in the Asian underground music circuit.
THE ORIENT
SPORTS / LIVE MUSIC BAR

24 Ngo Van Nam, Q1

70 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 890623

vinylbarsaigon.com

WINE BAR 38
CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR

38 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3968


With a huge selection of self-imported wines
from Bordeaux, this classy but contemporary
venue is a wine bar downstairs, and a lounge
on the first floor. Has a French-Asian menu
paired to all the wines, with a huge selection
of the good stuff sold by the glass.
WINE EMBASSY
CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR

13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7827

wineembassy.com.vn

A two-storey, contemporary-designed wine


bar serving 30 wines by the glass, all at reasonable prices. Has an excellent food menu

facebook.com/theorientbarsaigon

An attractive, spacious, brick-wall


interior, a long bar, high table seating, big screens, a pool table and
live music. A great venue for a few
beers and more.

SHRINE BAR
LOUNGE BAR

61 Ton Thap Thiep, Q1


PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL

STORM P

shrinebarsaigon.com

Shrine creates a drinking and dining experience in a temple-like


atmosphere. Inspired by Bantay
Srei, a temple from the ancient
Angkor kingdom, the walls are
covered in statues depicting
ancient Khmer gods and kings.
With ambient lighting and town
tempo music, here its all about
good cocktails and an even better
atmosphere.
SEVENTEEN SALOON

THE SOCIETY
GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR
99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 3999

facebook.com/TheSocietyHCM

Designed as a Laneway-style
restobar, the kind of place found
in Hong Kong, London, New York
or Central Melbourne, thanks to
its indoor and outdoor ambience,
The Society brings dining and
drinking to a new level. Phenomenal cocktails, steaks, grilled fare
and seafood make this a place to
go for drinks, a full-blown meal or
a mixture of both.

THEMED MUSIC BAR

RUBY SOHO
CARTOON BAR

S52-1 Sky Garden 2, Q7, Tel: (08)


5410 3900
A Phu My Hung mainstay thanks
to its cartoon dcor and light but
fun ambience. Has a reasonable
food menu to complement the
drinks.
SAIGON SOUL POOL PARTY
POOL & DAY CLUB

New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le

103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08)


3914 0007

seventeensaloon.com.vn

Wild West-themed bar doubles


as a music venue, where three
talented Filipino bands (B&U,
Wild West and Most Wanted)
play covers of rock icons like Bon
Jovi, U2 and Guns n Roses. Top
shelf spirits and friendly, hostess
style table service are the name
game here.

THE TAVERN
EXPAT & SPORTS BAR

R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan,


Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900
The first bar established in Saigon
South, great food, great music and
loads of laughs. Has regular live
music nights, theme nights and
a variety of live sports events to
please everybody. Big screens and
outdoor seating add to the mix,

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 177

KNOW YOUR CITY

ities, like organisms, are


constantly in the process
of change; growing, dying,
regenerating and degenerating.
While city planners may like to think that
they are the best people to make the decisions
as to how the city grows, cities often grow
despite, rather than because of, their best
efforts. Reyner Banham, an English professor
of architecture, once said that planning is
a discipline only understood in academic
and professional circles; that it is essentially
a liberal approach to urban problems, and
it tends to fail when confronted with a
libertarian culture. We have that libertarian
culture here in Ho Chi Minh City.
The fact that planners have been unable
to fully dictate form and use in Ho Chi Minh
City has led to a vibrant and interesting city
centre. The sheer exuberance of Vietnamese
culture is constantly on display in the city,
especially in the oldest part of District 1.
When you look at the city from this
context of rebirth and renewal you can see
emerging trends.

Renaissance
The Meatpacking District in New York
City gives a good example. The name is
self-explanatory an industrial area in the
middle of New York with an elevated railway
line (the high line) that once ran through it.
Run down for years, the area started being
reborn in the last years of the 20th century
after restaurants and high-end boutiques
began opening in the vacant buildings.

178 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

NEW USES FOR OLD SPACES

BY ED HAYSOM

Once undervalued, the district is now a


highly valued and expensive area attracting
corporate headquarters in the old buildings.
The high line is now an urban park.
Other inner city areas have gone through
similar revivals. Perhaps best known is
Shoreditch in London. The transformation
from urban wasteland to fashionable mecca is
so vast that its now spread to neighbouring
areas like Whitechapel, Dalston and Hackney.
In all these scenarios, restaurateurs and
caf owners seek out interesting but cheap
spaces in old buildings because they can
imbue them with character. Restaurants are
often the harbinger of urban renewal by
bringing people to an area, and those people
then look for other opportunities. Restaurants
often lead the way by showing us how to
develop, enhance and preserve existing
building stocks as it is cheaper to recycle
rather than start again.

others; Racha Room and Stoker in Mac Thi


Buoi; AsiaHouse in Nguyen Hue, Khanh
Casa and Moo Beefsteak in Dong Khoi;
Saigon Artisan and Nho Saigon Xua in
Le Loi; The Warehouse in Le Thanh Ton;
the coffee shops in the 26 Ly Tu Trong
apartment building, places like Snuffbox on
Ton That Dam and the apartment blocks on
Nguyen Hue. There are more emerging that
demonstrate a way forward for the use of
these older and quite exquisite buildings.
Ho Chi Minh City sees itself as an
emerging new world city, but in the citys
scramble to compete regionally it risks
damaging the very elements that make
it so attractive. It is an Asian city with a
defined and vibrant CBD and, with its own
particularly exotic nature, it has an appeal
that eludes Singapore.
While it lacks the grandeur of Hong Kongs
harbour setting, it is far more affordable and
interesting at ground level. Yet the very fabric
of that character is under threat in District 1
with demolition orders looming on many of
the great French-era buildings.
Ho Chi Minh City is unique thanks to
its tropical French heritage there is no
escaping its colonial past. It is therefore
fitting that the city famous for its cuisine and
coffee culture is being shown how to protect
and enhance its character by businesses
supporting that culture.
Ed Haysom is the general director of Mode
/ Haysom Architects and is based in Ho Chi
Minh City. You can contact him on ehaysom@
modehaysomarchitects.com

The unique ownership structure of many


buildings in Ho Chi Minh Citys District 1
has inhibited their refurbishment; a house
that in the past was given over to communal
habitation is often owned by four or five
different people. However, those that have
attracted restaurants have had their value
enhanced, with some great examples over
the last few years of new uses for old spaces
setting a benchmark. Nga Hang Ngon,
Temple Club and LUsine to name three.

Exquisite
They have been joined recently by some

HCMC
On The Town

to complement the old and


new world wines.
XU
CAF / LOUNGE BAR

71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3824 8468

xusaigon.com

This iconic upmarket downtown bar is known for its


cocktails and wine list. It
serves a range of international and Vietnamese dishes to be enjoyed in its richly
decorated interior. Regular
DJ nights.

CAFES & ICE-CREAM


(A) CAFE
15 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da
Kao, Q1, Tel: 0903 199701
Settle into the Javanesestyle interior and enjoy possibly one of the best brews
in Saigon. Using own grown
and specially sourced Dalat
beans, speciality coffee such
as cold drip, siphon, and
Chemex are must haves for
the avid coffee drinker.
AGNES CAFE
DALAT COFFEE HOUSE

11A-B Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


6281 9772
A cozy and comfortable cafe
in Thao Dien serving excellent fresh coffee from Dalat,
smoothies, juices, homemade desserts. Offers up
tasty breakfasts, lunch and
dinner all the way through
until 9pm.
BANKSY CAFE
1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1,
Tel: 01699 990003

sam.nguyen197@gmail.com

A small but swanky cafe,


Banksy promises a young
and vibrant hideout in an
old 1960s-era apartment
building. Remember to head
up the steep stairs within to
dig into their secret stash of
clothes and accessories.
CAFE THOAI VIEN
159A Nguyen Van Thu, Q1,
Tel: 0918 115657

cafethoaivien.com

Veer off the street and find


yourself plunging straight
into lush greenery. Cafe
Thoai Vien serves up a
spacious and airy setting
to enjoy a quiet sip. From
small eats to big bites and
everything to drink, its a
great place to unwind from
all that buzz.
COFFEE BEAN &
TEA LEAF
INTERNATIONAL

157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc,


Q1; Metropolitan Building,
235 Dong Khoi, Q1

coffeebean.com.vn

the ample soft, sofa seating renders a great spot to


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

art gallery out back. Second


location on Le Loi.

I.D. CAF

facebook.com/m2ccafe

CONTEMPORARY CAFE

34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 2910

Idcafe.net

Centrally located near Ben


Thanh Market, i.d offers casual caf dining with a wide
variety of food and beverages. Where modern design
and a warm ambience meet
for coffee.

Large portioned coffee lures


customers into the flagship
store of this international
caf chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere
is bolstered by comfortable
seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.

INTERNATIONAL

79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel:


(08) 6271 0115

Decibel.vn

Trendy without pretense,


this two-floor, relaxed caf
offers beautiful decor and
unique original events like
live music, film screenings,
and art exhibits. Great prices
and food with daily specials.
GUANABANA SMOOTHIES
CONTEMPORARY JUICE BAR

23 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0909


824830

guanabanasmoothies.com

An American-style juice
bar and caf dedicated
to healthy, nutricious
smoothies that avoid the local obsession with sugar and
condensed milk. A pleasant,
contemporary environment
adds to the theme.
HIDEAWAY
INTERNATIONAL

41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3822 4222

Hideawaycafe-saigon.com

Hidden in a colonial building


with an outdoor courtyard,

At M2C (Modern Meets


Culture), everything gets a
touch of modernity. From
the rich menu of Vietnamese food and drinks, shows
immense local culture, done
with a modern flare. Be seen
here at one of the latest popular joint in town.
MOCKINGBIRD CAFE
4th Floor, 14 Ton That Dam,
Q1, Tel: 0935 293400

facebook.com/mockingbirdcoffee

KLASIK COFFEE ROASTERS


DECIBEL

M2C CAFE
44B Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 2495

CAFE AND ON-SITE ROASTING


40 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08)
6685 4160

klasik.coffee

Nitro cold brew coffee, single origin coffee and healthy


food. Klasik Coffee Roasters
is a small coffee shop with
a passion for seeking high
quality coffee beans from
around the world to roast
in Saigon. Holding the belief
that each cup tells its own
story, drinking coffee at
Klasik is all about pleasure
and experience: the aroma,
the taste, the warmth and the
senses inspired by each and
every cup. Open daily from
7am to 10pm.

LUSINE
CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH

First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1,


Tel: (08) 6674 9565; 70B Le
Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0703

lusinespace.com

French-style wooden decor


compliments the spacious,
whitewashed contemporary
interior of LUsine. A simple,
creative menu combines
with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and

Sitting atop of a number of


cafe establishments in an old
apartment complex, Mockingbird is just the place for
a romantic time over mojitos,
or good ol caffeine-infused
relaxation.
PLANTRIP CHA
TEA ROOM

8A/10B1 Thai Van Lung, Q1


Tel: 0945 830905
Tea, tea and more tea, all in
a contemporary, quirky environment. At Plantrip Cha
customers go on a sensory
journey to experience the
tastes and smells of teas
from across Asia, Europe,
America and the Middle East.
THE LOOP
HEALTHY CAF FARE / BAGELS

49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08)


3602 6385
Low-key yet nice-on-the-eye
dcor helps create the cafstyle atmosphere at this European-influenced caf and
restaurant. Sells excellent
coffee and if you like bagels,
here youll be in heaven.
THE MORNING CAFE
2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Q1, Tel:
0938 383330

themorningcafe.com.vn

Have a book to read? Pick


a bright spot by the win-

dow and get snuggly with


the comfy upholstery in
this second-floor cafe. With
a cup of well-brewed coffee, accompanied by some
background jazz, it is an
afternoon well-spent.
THE OTHER
PERSON CAFE
2nd Floor, 14 Ton That Dam,
Q1, Tel: 0909 670272

facebook.com/TheOtherPersonCafe

Fancy being served up by


maids in costume? Call for
a booking and enjoyed customized service to your liking
while spending an afternoon
in this candy-land inspired
cafe.
THE PRINT ROOM
CONTEMPORARY CAFE

158 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 4990
Second-storey coffeehouse
offers a quiet atmosphere to
chill out or read from their
book-nook collection. Comfortable couch seating, open
table space and a cappuccino costs VND40,000.
THINGS CAFE
1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam,
Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 6205

facebook.com/thingscafe

Feel the calm and serenity


of this rustic little quiet corner tucked away in an Old
Apartment. The quaint and
relaxing atmosphere sets for
some alone time, or quality
conversations held over a
drink or two.

EAT
3T QUAN NUONG
VIETNAMESE BBQ

Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631
The original, on-the-table
barbecue restaurant still
goes strong thanks to its
rooftop atmosphere, excellent service and even better
fish, seafood and meats. An
institution.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 179

TOP EATS

LAVASTONE BBQ & COCKTAIL HOUSE

ituated in a prime location in


District 1, Lavastone BBQ &
Cocktail House blends into the
bustle of the area with its fulllength glass front framed by black-painted
steel. The space inside has an American
industrial ambience combined with classic
European-style twists, making the place
both attractive yet unusual. The Japanese
elements Japanese rice wine kept cool
in a container at the front door and the
upstairs furnished with Japanese-style
chairs and tables, adds to the effect.

A House of Beef
Seated at the table next to the cashier,
I leisurely turned the pages of the eyecatching menu. Although it is a combination
of Japanese specialties, barbecue and panAsian cuisine, it is obvious that Lavastone
pays most of their attention to beef. All the
beef is imported from Japan and America,
and is marinated with their in-house sauces
or cooked up simply with salt.
I ordered a wagyu sirloin (VND569,000)
and the boneless beef short ribs
(VND179,000). The wagyu arrived sizzling

180 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

away on a coconut coal BBQ pot and as I


took my first bite, my spirits soared. The
meat was so tender it melted in my mouth
the sweetness of the beef paired with the
saltiness from dipping chunks into the plate
of Himalaya salt was divine. I wanted to
order a second portion.
Instead I moved onto the boneless beef
short ribs, which arrived with a dipping
sauce called tare. A sweetened, thickened,
flavoured soy sauce used in Japanese
cuisine for grilled beef, depending on taste
(and on the chef), there are many different
versions. The version Lavastone came up
with was mixed with garlic and chopped
spring onion to bring out the flavour of the
dish. It worked a treat.
If you are not a big fan of beef, you
can either try barbecued pork breast
(VND79,000) or Japanese sashimi
(VND357,000, a combo for two). Other
interesting options include Cajun shrimps
(VND219,000), grilled sanma (VND89,000)
or the spicy seafood hotpot (VND289,000).

Drinkable Creativeness
Lavastone has a small bar counter at the

back but despite its size, the restaurant


boast an extensive drinks menu with a
range of choices from classic blends and
signature cocktails to simple shots and
Japanese wine. The establishment also has a
house cocktail list updated every month as
well as a drink of the month. Managed by
young bartenders, they are given free reign
by the restaurant to create new drinks in an
attempt to keep the customers happy.
Tung, the main bartender, brought me
what he called a Vieux Carr as I told him
I wanted a drink that was strong but not
sweet. The concoction was wicked; the
brownish liquid mixed sweetness with an
enticing aroma, leaving a slight bitterness at
the back of my throat.
At the end my meal, he made a dessert
drink called Escargot that was served up
in a conch. Made from passion fruit, butter
syrup, black rum and aromatic Japanese
rice wine, it provided the perfect ending to
an indulgent meal. Vu Ha Kim Vy
Lavastone BBQ & Cocktail House is at 96B
Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, HCMC. Visit them
on facebook.com/lavastonebbq for their updated
menu and promotions

HCMC
On The Town

27 GRILL
GRILL-STYLE RESTAURANT

Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372

chillsaigon.com

Besides the spectacular


views, the cuisine at 27 Grill
is a real draw, with steaks
and other international grillstyle fare in a refined yet contemporary atmosphere. Subtle lighting and an extensive
wine list make up the mix.
AL FRESCOS
INTERNATIONAL

27 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


38238424

mezzes, plus coffees and


juices served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and
green-tiled dcor.
ASHOKA
NORTH INDIAN / CHINESE INDIAN

17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3823 1372; 33 Tong Huu
Dinh, Q2, Tel : (08) 3744 4177

ashokaindianrestaurant.
com

Long-running, award-winning
Indian restaurant famed for
its excellent kebabs, creamy
curries and Chinese-Indian
fare.

alfrescosgroup.com

The downtown outlet of one


of Vietnams most successful
restaurant chains, Al Frescos
offers international, Australian-influenced comfort
fare in a pleasant environment with efficient, friendly
service to match. Also has
an excellent garden-style
branch at 89 Xuan Thuy, Q2.

AU LAC DO BRAZIL
BRAZILIAN CHURRASCO
238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820
7157

aulacdobrazil.com

Au Lac Do Brazil is home to


the city's best Churrasco
menu with a wide variety of
meats from Calabrian sausage and picanha through
to D-rump steak and smoked
hams. Pioneering the eat-asmuch-as-you-can theme in
Vietnam, passadors bring
the meat skewers to your
table, and you, the customer
then choose your accompaniments from the salad bar.
Best washed down with red
wine or a caipirinha or five.

AU PARC
EUROPEAN / CAF

23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 2772

auparcsaigon.com

Consistently tasty European


caf fare think deli-style
sandwiches, salads and

BABAS KITCHEN
NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN

164 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3838 6661

babaskitchen.in

This pleasant, airy Indian


does the full range of fare
from all ends of the subcontinent, from dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka
masala, kormas, kebabs and
fiery vindaloos. Has a delivery outlet in District 2.
BLACK CAT
AMERICAN

13 Phan Van Dat, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 2055

blackcatsaigon.com

Creatively named burgers,


tasty Vietnamese-styled
sandwiches, spiced up
cocktails, mains and more,
all served up with a Californian edge at this small but
popular two-storey eatery
close to the river.

CAF IF
VIETNAMESE FRENCH

BAHDJA
2nd Floor, 27 Le Quy Don, Q3
Tel: 0122 763 1261

bahdjarestaurant@gmail.
com
Located just above the Thai
restaurant Spice, Bahdja is
Saigons first ever Algerian
restaurant, serving authentic, multi-ethnic Berber
North African and Mediterranean cuisine cooked and
served in a traditional Algerian style. Best experienced
in a group, this pleasant
restaurants soothing ambience is matched by the owners genuine hospitality and
complimented by an array of
tasty tajines and couscousbased dishes. Has a lovely
semi-outdoor terrace area.

JAPANESE / SOUTH AMERICAN

The Courtyard, 74/3 Hai Ba


Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8793
The work of former Nobu
chef Martin Brito, the Japanese-South American fusion
cuisine at Blanchy Street
is among the tastiest and
most unusual in the city. All
complemented by fresh, contemporary decor and a leafy
terrace out front.

CHIS CAF
INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE

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


3837 2502

Chiscafe.com

This affable caf is a rarity


in the backpacker area for
its genuinely good musical
playlist. Excellent, buildyour-own breakfasts, baked
potatoes, toasties, Vietnamese fare and more. Has a
popular motorbike rental
service.
CIAO BELLA

BOAT HOUSE
AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL

40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior


Compound, Thao Dien, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3744 6790
A revamp has seen this riverside restaurant get a new
management and a new
menu think American-style
burgers, sliders and Tex-Mex
together with soup and salad
and youll get the idea. Excellent nachos and frozen
margaritas.

NEW YORK-ITALIAN

11 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


3822 3329

saigonrestaurantgroup.com

New York-style Italian restaurant offering a range of tasty


and affordable antipasti, pastas, and pizzas. Friendly staff
and rustic bare brick walls
adorned with Hollywood film
legends make for a relaxed
and attractive setting.
CORIANDER
THAI / VIETNAMESE

BOOMARANG BISTRO
SAIGON
INTERNATIONAL / GRILL

BLANCHY STREET

38 Dang Dung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3846 9853
MSG-free traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a
French twist, cooked fresh to
order. Dishes include noodle
soup, steamed ravioli and
beef stew, stir fries, hot pots
and curries.

CR2 3-4, 107 Ton Dat Tien,


Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08)
5413 6592

boomarang.com.vn

Australian themed but Singaporean-owned eatery and


bar on The Crescent with
great terraced seating specializing in huge-portioned
international fare, all set in
a contemporary, spacious
environment.

16 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 1311
A small, homely Vietnameseowned Thai restaurant that
over the past decade has
quite rightly gained a strong
local and expat following. Try
their pad thai to die for.
CORSO

ery make for a quality bite.


Decent-sized steaks start at
VND390,000.
ELBOW ROOM
AMERICAN

52 Pasteur, Q1
Tel: (08) 3821 4327

elbowroom.com.vn

The comfort food on offer at this striking US-style


diner ranges from meatball
baguettes to chilli burgers,
pizzas, blackened chicken
salads and a selection of
more expensive international
mains.
EL GAUCHO
ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE

74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3827 2090; Unit CR1-12, The
Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7,
Tel: (08) 5413 6909

elgaucho.com.vn

A themed eatery mixing


an Argentinian steakhouse
theme with pork, chicken,
lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can
come off a grill. Slick service,
a good wine menu, and caramel vodka teasers at the end
of the meal. Probably serves
up the best steak in town.
EON51 FINE DINING
TOP-END EUROPEAN / ASIAN

Level 51, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai


Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750

eon51.com

Situated on level 51 of the


most iconic building in
town, Eon51 Fine Dining
offers a unique fine dining
experience accompanied by
unparalleled 3600 picturesque views of Saigon. The
sky-high restaurant proffers
the taste of Europe in Asia,
orchestrated from the finest
local foods and top-quality
imported ingredients.

STEAKHOUSE / INTERNATIONAL

117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3829 5368

norfolkhotel.com.vn

Although a hotel restaurant,


the enticing range of US and
Australian steaks plus great
grill and comfort food menu
in this contemporary eat-

GANESH
NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN

38 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 4786

ganesh.restaurant.vn@hotmail.com
The ubiquitous mint sauce

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 181

HCMC
On The Town

is thick and creamy and the


curries are both authentic
and smoky. Ganesh is rated
by many as the best Indian
in town. Very friendly service.
HOA TUC
CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE

The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba


Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1676
Highly rated restaurant with
stunning outdoor terrace.
Specialities include pink
pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls,
fishcake wraps and barbecue
chicken in ginger, onions and
a lime leaf marinade.
HOANG YEN

(08) 3822 0033

marriott.com

Offers authentic, gourmet


Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, classic setting, with
striking dcor and the bonus of views over the Saigon River. Dishes range from
VND80,000 to VND900,000.
KOH THAI

HOGS BREATH CAF

Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le


Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4423
Modern Thai fusion restaurant serving Thai classics
alongside tom yam cappuccinos and more. Koh Thais
creative cocktails merge Thai
flavours with local seasonal
fruits and herbs.
KOTO TRAINING
RESTAURANT
CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE

3rd Floor Rooftop, Kumho


Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel:
(08) 3822 9357
The restaurant associated
with the KOTO vocational
training school. All the
staff from bar tenders
and waiting staff through
to the chefs come from
disadvantaged backgrounds
and are being trained on the
jon in hospitality. Serves up
tasty Vietnamese cuisine,
to boot!

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL

Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3915 6066

hogsbreathcafe.com.vn

Mixing hearty pub grub such


as burgers, salads and prime
rib steaks with a sports bar
atmosphere, this Australian
chain also offers regular
promotions and a 4pm to
7pm happy hour. Excellent
outdoor terrace.

LOLIVIER
Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le
Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555

sofitel.com

Exuding a southern Gallic


atmosphere with its tiled
veranda, pastel-coloured
walls and ficus trees, this
traditional French restaurant
has quarterly Michelin star
promotions and an award
winning pastry team.

4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3829 0326
A sushi bar needs a good
chef, and the chef-owner of
Inaho is one of the best. Sit
downstairs at the low-key
bar or upstairs in the private
VIP rooms. Either way, this
is one of the best sushi and
sashimi joints in town.
JASPAS WINE & GRILL

LA CUISINE
FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN

48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08)


2229 8882

lacuisine.com.vn

This intimate, open-kitchened restaurant bathed in


white specialises in a mix
of contemporary Mediterranean and French cuisine.
Has a small but well thought
out menu, backed up with
an extensive wine list.

INTERNATIONAL FUSION

The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba


Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0931

Alfrescosgroup.com

Although a chain restaurant,


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

Renaissance Riverside Hotel,


815 Ton Duc Thang. Q1, Tel:

182 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

LE CORTO
CONTEMPORARY FRENCH

5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08)


3822 0671

facebook.com/LeCorto

Open for lunch and set dinner, this beautifully designed


restaurant and bar seamlessly mixes contemporary and
with classic. With a menu
cooked up by reputed chef
Sakal Phoeung, and with a
contemporary twist to traditional French fare, this is a
place to enjoy the luxuries
of fine cuisine and even finer
wine.

a darkwood, aircon interior.


Subtle lighting and an attention to details is matched by
some of the best contemporary cuisine in the city, all
with a European influence.
Also has an extensive wine
list, a good selection of imported beers and a happy
hour.
MARKET 39

NINETEEN
INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN

Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel,


19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 4999

caravellehotel.com

One of the top three buffet restaurants in town.


Although the selection is
small, the meats, fishes and
seafoods are all fresh, and
everything you eat here is
quality.

INTERNATIONAL BUFFET

LION CITY
SINGAPOREAN

45 Le Anh Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 8371

lioncityrestaurant.com

Friendly, authentic fivestorey Singaporean eatery,


plating up the likes of nasi
lemak, mee rebus, and
awesome chicken curry, as
well as specialities like frog
porridge, chilli crab and fish
head curry.
LOVEAT
MEDITERRANEAN

29 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08)


6260 2727

loveat.vn

Located bang opposite the


Bitexco Tower, Loveat serves
up three floors worth of
Mediterranean cuisine mixed
in with continental favourites
like moules frites. A great
place for dinner, cocktails
and wines in a contemporary
Saigon atmosphere.

FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN

INAHO
SUSHI / SASHIMI

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


3825 8465
Unpretentious but tasty
French fare in a relaxed garden setting within the French
cultural centre. The robust,
bistro-style cuisine is very
well-priced, and excellent,
cheap house wine is served
by the carafe.

CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION

PAN-VIETNAMESE

7 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 1101; The Crescent, 103
Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08)
2210 2304
If youre looking for midrange, aircon Vietnamese
restaurants that just seem
to do every dish perfectly,
then Hoang Yen really is the
place to go. The atmosphere
may be a bit sterile, but its
amply made up for by the efficient service and excellent
cuisine. Now with a number
of restaurants around town.

LE JARDIN
CLASSIC FRENCH

LU BU
CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN

97B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08)


6281 8371

luburestaurant.com

Drawing inspiration from the


great cuisines of Europe, The
Mediterranean and The Orient, this contemporary, Australian-run restaurant bathed
in white focuses on wholesome, fresh ingredients, with
breads, cheeses, pickles,
pastas and preserves made
on site daily from scratch. A
well-conceived wine list supplements the excellent fare.
Has petanque on the terrace.
LUONG SON
PAN-VIETNAMESE

31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 1330
A typical Vietnamese-style
quan nhau, this fan-cooled
downtown eating and drinking haunt is famed for two
things: its on the table,
grill-it-yourself bo tung xeo
(marinated beef) and oddities such as sauted scorpion. A great place to take
out-of-town guests.
MAD HOUSE
CONTEMPORARY CAFE, BAR,
RESTAURANT

6/1/2 Nguyen U Di, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3519 4009

facebook.com/madsaigon

Set over a pool in a leafy,


tropical garden, the beautiful
rustic dcor is matched by

Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai


Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3520 9999

intercontinental.com/saigon
MAY RESTAURANT
INTERNATIONAL COMFORT FOOD

19 21 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel:


(08) 6291 3686

may.restaurant19@gmail.
com

Casual yet stylish, May places


international-style wining
and dining in the heart of
historic Saigon. Subtle lighting, comfortable seating, an
extensive wine and cocktail
list, and beautifully crafted
comfort food from Europe,
the Antipodes and Asia all
make up the mix at this multi-floored restaurant and bar.
Check out their set lunches
and happy hour.

OSAKA RAMEN
JAPANESE NOODLES

18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04,


Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu
My Hung, Q7
If you fancy dosing out on ramen and soba noodles, then
Osaka Ramen is noodle soup
heaven. A typically Japanese
aircon environment mixes
bar-style seating with booths
and private dining. Open late.
PACHARAN
SPANISH / EUROPEAN

97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 6924
Legs of Iberian ham hang in
the downstairs bar at this
multi-story bodega serving
Spanish-styled tapas. Attractively decorated in warm
reds, yellows and oranges,
Pacharans food menu is
traditionally Spanish.

MEKONG MERCHANT

PENDOLASCO

INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE /


SEAFOOD

PAN-ITALIAN

23 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3744 6478

87 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)


3821 8181; 36 Tong Huu Dinh,
Q2, Tel: (08) 6253 282

The rustic looking, bananaleaf roofed Mekong Merchant


has long been the place in
An Phu. Set around a cobblestoned courtyard the cuisine
includes gourmet seafood
and pastas. Bakery-style
Bistro out front.

Opening out into a large,


leafy terracotta-tiled garden
area, this trattoria-style Italian restaurant serves up
quality homemade pasta,
risotto, gnocchi, excellent
pizza and grilled dishes. Has
a second branch in District 2.

info@mekongmerchant.com

MONSOON
PAN-SOUTHEAST ASIAN

1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1, Tel: (08)


6290 8899
Traditional pan-Southeast
Asian favourites served in
a visually arresting setting
within a French colonial-era
villa, just minutes from the
backpacker area. Reasonably
priced, with healthy juices
and smoothies.
NAM GIAO
HUE CUISINE

136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 38 250261; 116 Suong
Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08)
3925 9996

namgiao.com

If you want to take friends,


relatives or people out of
town to eat Hue-style street
food in a hygienic yet downto-earth environment, Nam
Giao is the place. Not only
is it well-priced, but the bun
bo Hue, bun thit nuong, com
hen, banh bot loc and other
such dishes are excellent.

pendolasco.vn

PITCHERS SPORTS
AND GRILL
SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT

C0.01 Riverside Residence C,


Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel:
(08) 6274 1520

facebook.com/PitchersPMH
Located in the heart of Phu
My Hung, this spacious
restobar with an affection
for showing televised sports
has a family friendly edge
thanks to its kids play area.
Does a great grill menu and
of course, lots of very cold
beer for those developing a
thirst in the Saigon heat.
PIZZA 4PS
EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION

8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 9838

pizza4ps.com

This quirky but highly rated


Italian / Japanese fusion pizza parlour serves wacky yet
delicious pies such as tuna
curry pizza and calamari seaweed pizza, as well as more
traditional varieties.

POP FRIES
CALIFORNIAN-STYLE FRIES

14M Quoc Huong, Q2, Tel:


0938 754251; 273 Phan Xich
Long, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0938
754851
A street food eatery concept
that originates from Los
Angeles and New York, and
born from a passion for sharing, here its all about the
loaded fries. The potatoes
are twice-cooked and come
piled high with a range of inventive toppings. Funky dcor and long benches make
up the mix.
PROPAGANDA
CLASSIC VIETNAMESE / BISTRO

21 Han Thuyen, Q1
Part of the group that includes Au Parc and Refinery,
Propaganda serves up classic
Vietnamese cuisine in an atmosphere of barebrick walls
interposed with Propaganda
Art murals and prints.
QUAN BUI
TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE

8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3602 2241; 17A Ngo
Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829
1515
Make sure to try the sauted
shrimps with cashew nuts
and crispy fried tofu with
lime wedge, at this popular,
high-quality, chicly designed
eatery where all food is
served in traditional crockery.
One of the best Vietnamese
restaurants in town.

US-STYLE BARBECUE

168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, Tel: (08)


3914 4500

facebook.com/quanutut

Its a no-brainer, right? American-style barbecue in a contemporary Vietnamese, quan


nhau-style setting. Of course
it is, which is why Quan Ut
Ut is constantly packed with
grill-obsessed diners going

sanfulou.com

RACHA ROOM

RELISH & SONS

CONTEMPORARY THAI RESTOBAR


12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (08)
6253 7711

GOURMET BURGER BAR


44 Dong Du, Q1, Tel (08) 6291 8187

theracharoom.com

The Racha Room delivers


Thai accented Pan-Asian
cuisine with a focus on high
quality ingredients. Racha
features a large selection of
spirits at a seated bar and
high table to ensure drinking
along with eating remains
central to the experience.
The current and future of
Asian-inspired drinking and
dining is right here at the
Racha Room.

REFINERY
FRENCH BISTRO / INTERNATIONAL

The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0509

therefinerysaigon.com

A slightly retro feel pervades


this popular French-style bistro and wine bar which once
housed the citys opium refinery. The cuisine runs from
creative salads through to
Mediterranean influenced
mains.
RIVERSIDE CAF
INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN

QUAN UT UT

Tel: (08) 3823 9513

for the burgers, meats off


the barbecue and Platinum
pale ale served on tap.

Renaissance Riverside, 815


Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 0033
Offers versatile allday dining
of international quality, with
the bonus of being able to
watch the action on the river
sidewalk. Features western,
Asian and Vietnamese buffets.

relishandsons.com

Relish & Sons burgers are


lovingly made with a healthy
food philosophy in mind and
fresh high quality ingredients. The beef patties are
100% Australian grass-fed;
the buns are made with a
reduced sugar and salt content. Burger relishes such
as chutneys are all made inhouse from scratch.

SAFFRON
PAN-MEDITERRANEAN

51 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 8358
Sporting food from around
the Mediterranean rim, this
compact and cozy eatery
with pots hung from the ceiling is a popular choice with
expats and tourists alike.
Reservations advised.
SAIGON CAF

Open until 3am, this popular, contemporary Cantonese


dining hall mixes contemporary with traditional, in a
space that takes Chinese
dining in Saigon to a new
level. And if you like your
dim sum, look no further.
SEOUL HOUSE

SHRI
CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN

23rd Floor, Centec Tower,


7274 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,
Q3, Tel: (08) 3827 9631
A breezy terrace, indoor bar
and separate dining room
with sweeping views over
central Saigon make up
this enormous, comfortable
space. A well-thought out
and romantic venue, with
excellent food.

KOREAN

33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 4297

seoul.house@yahoo.com.kr

The longest running Korean


restaurant in town, with all
the Koreans moving out to the
hinterland, the clientele here
are mainly Vietnamese. Fortunately the food preparation
remains traditional. An excellent place for group dining.
SHANG PALACE
RESTAURANT
PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE

Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly


Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823
2221

shangpalace.com.vn

Featuring over 200 dishes


and 50 kinds of dim sum
prepared by chefs from Hong
Kong, Shang Palace has nine
private dining rooms and
a main dining area seating
over 300. Good for events.

STOKER
CONTEMPORARY STEAKHOUSE
44 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (08)
3826 8691

stokerwoodfiredgrill.com

One of the worlds oldest


culinary techniques grilling over a wood fire. Stoker
kitchen uses different woods
to infuse foods with different
smoky flavours. These techniques revolutionize live fire
cooking by providing precise
heat control through the
use of a grilling surface that
can be adjusted to different
cooking heights above the
hot coals.

INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET

Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi,


Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828

sheratonsaigon.com

If you like your buffet selections to be big, then here it is


gargantuan, with every type
of option under the sun. A
great place to catch up on
your seafood addiction or to
pig out over a Sunday brunch.
SAN FU LOU
CANTONESE KITCHEN

Ground Floor, AB Building,


76A Le Lai, Q1

SKEWERS
INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN

9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 4798

skewers-restaurant.com

Simple, unpretentious Greekinfluenced, international cuisine ranging from the zucchini


carpaccio through to the saganiki, a range of dips, mousaka, osso buco and lamb
chop skewers. Also has an
excellent upstairs cigar room.

SORAE
SUSHI SAKE LOUNGE

Level 24, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai,


Q1, Tel: 0938 687689

soraesushi.com

Set over two floors, this


astonishing, no-expensespared Japanese restaurant
and lounge brings to Saigon
the type of environment and
ambience youd expect of
New York, Singapore, Hong
Kong and Dubai. With the
dcor comes a modern take
on Japanese fare. A place to
see and be seen.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 183

A WORLD

OF

PERIOD PANTIES

ne in three women and girls on


this planet do not have access to
a toilet when they menstruate,
and 70 percent of women feel
stigmatised or ashamed about their
period.
Three cheers then for international
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) on May
28. Three years ago a global coalition came
together to help bust some myths around
what on any given day more than 800
million girls and women between the ages
of 15 and 49 are doing. However, despite
these numbers, talking about it remains
taboo. This silence has created some pretty
fantastic at best, misogynistic at worse,
ideas around menstruation dating back
centuries.
Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural
History (circa A.D. 77) about what happens
when a woman has her period: Her
very look, even, will dim the brightness
of mirrors, blunt the edge of steel, and
take away the polish from ivory. A swarm
of bees, if looked upon by her, will die
immediately. Dont laugh, because
nearly two millennia later the British
Medical Journal harrumphed in 1878 that a
menstruating woman would cause bacon
to putrefy. Today girls and women are still
in some cultures considered unclean during
their period and, depending on cultural
beliefs, are segregated, banned from
religious activities and not allowed to come

184 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

near food for fear of contamination.


But one of the biggest issues is the lack of
sanitation. Those girls and women without
a toilet are forced to find somewhere,
typically after dark, which puts them at
risk to harassment or attack. I have written
before about the ramifications of pubescent
girls dropping out of school for want of
some privacy and clean water at school.

Hygiene
A pair of sisters wants to change some of
this. Three cheers for period panties! Twin
sisters Miki and Radha Agrawal have
invented period-proof panties. Thinx
underwear is washable and reusable,
utilizes microfibre technology and comes
in different styles to match your monthly
flow. The sisters say their panties are a
response to the heaving U.S. landfills where
12 billion pads and 7 million tampons are
dumped every year. Operating as a social
enterprise means proceeds from Thinx
sales go to training women in developing
nations to manufacture and sell affordable,
reusable pads locally.
Access to hygiene products isnt too

GOOD

BY DANA MCNAIRN

much of an issue now in Vietnam and


Article 115 in the Vietnamese Labour
Code recognises a womans right to a
daily 30-minute break without salary
penalty when she is menstruating. Yet the
menstrual myths persist. A health survey
here found that female factory workers
believe your hair will fall out and youll
get dark circles under your eyes if you
take a bath during your period. (Some
of my sophisticated urban girlfriends
believe the same thing.) Silence feeds
superstition and ignorance. Girls continue
to think they cannot become pregnant
while menstruating, dont seek help for
endometriosis, wont go swimming or play
sports, or that tampons can disappear in
your vagina.
Taxes on necessities like tampons and
pads, enforcing taboos, embarrassment
if a tampon falls out of your purse (but
toilet paper and tissue in your bathroom
is A-OK), and using euphemisms are part
and parcel of the silence that leads to
superstition, ignorance and sexism. And all
that on a completely normal and healthy
body function. Yawns and sneezes are also
regulatory functions that dont provoke
berserk reactions. Time to get off that
antiquated shame wagon.
Dana McNairn is the CEO of KOTO, an
award-winning nonprofit social enterprise
providing vocational training for at-risk
youth

HCMC
On The Town

TAMAGO

TIN NGHIA

PAN-JAPANESE

VEGAN

39 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3744 4634

tamagoresto@gmail.com

Located on the main drag in


Thao Dien, Tamago has indoor and out door seating,
a terrace and private rooms.
They have a ladies night on
Tuesdays as well as a Teppanyaki themed night on
Saturday evenings. Have a
second restaurant in Mui Ne.
TEMPLE CLUB
PAN-VIETNAMESE

29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3829 9244

Templeclub.com.vn

Once a hotel for Indian dignitaries visiting old Saigon,


the elegant and atmospheric Temple Club is one
of the citys best-preserved
buildings. Serving quality
Vietnamese and Indochine
cuisine at reasonable prices.

9 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08)


3821 2538
One of the citys oldest eateries (established in 1925)
does some of the cheapest
and tastiest vegan cuisine in
town, all cooked up without
onions, garlic or MSG.

M M M
STREET FOOD
BA GHIEN
COM TAM

84 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan

MODERN ASIAN FUSION

38 Nguyen U Di, Q2, Tel: (08)


3744 6632

thedecksaigon.com

Set on the banks of Saigon


River across from Thanh Da
Island, this innovative restaurant serves up modern
Asian fusion cuisine in a
Bali-style atmosphere, complemented by great cocktails
and a long wine list.
THE HUNGRY PIG
BACON BAR / CAFE

144 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08)


3836 4533

facebook.com/thehungrypigcafe

Think bacon, bacon and


more bacon, all set in airy,
spacious atmosphere, and
you get The Hungry Pig, an
eatery specialising in anything from the bacon butty
through to the bacon Caesar.
A popular hangout.

BANH MI THANH
MAI HOANG
VIETNAMESE BANH MI

107 Truong Dinh, Q3


BANH TAM BI TO CHAU

VESPER GOURMET
LOUNGE
INTERNATIONAL

Landmark Building, 5B Ton


Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
9698

facebook.com/vespersaigon

Headed up by well-known
chef Andy Ertle, Vesper is a
sophisticated yet down-toearth cocktail bar and restaurant with subtle lighting
and a great spirit selection.
Serves creative, Japanese and
German-influenced cuisine to
supplement the drinks and
has a separate dining space.

Alleyway to the left of 162


Tran Nhan Tong, Q10
BANH CANH HOANG TY
BANH CANH / TAY NINH CUISINE

WRAP & ROLL


62 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 2166; 111 Nguyen Hue,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 8971; 226 De
Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 5097

wrap-roll.com

The lime green walls and


bright pastel colours of Wrap
n Roll are just part of the
theme of this homegrown,
Vietnamese brand which is
all about spring rolls of all
types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine.

189 Bis Bui Vien, Q1


PHO DAU
PHO BO

288/M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3

BANH TAM

271 Nguyen Trai, Q1


BO KHO

NAM GIAO
BUN BO HUE

BA NAM

PHO HOA
PHO BO & PHO GA

BEEFSTEAK NAM SON

260C Pasteur, Q3

VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE

200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh


Khai, Q3; 157 Nam Ky Khoi
Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917

PHO LE

BUN CHA HA NOI

PHO PHU GIA

Namsonsteak.com

PHO BO

413-415 Nguyen Trai, Q5

70 Vo Van Tan, Q3

BANH CUON HAI NAM


BANH CUON

BUN CHA

PHO BO

26/1A Le Thanh Ton, Q1

146E Ly Chinh Thang, Q3

CHI THONG

PHO PHU VUONG

11A Cao Thang, Q3


BANH KHOT CO
BA VUNG TAU

BUN THIT NUONG / BANH HOI

PHO BO

195 Co Giang, Q1

339 Le Van Sy, Tan Binh

COM GA XOI MO SU SU

SUSHI KO

BANH KHOT

102 Cao Thang, Q3


THE DECK

170 Vo Van Tan, Q3

BANH MI HONG HOA

VIETNAMESE FRIED CHICKEN

STREET SUSHI

55 Tu Xuong, Q3

122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, Q4

COM TAM 40A

THE LUNCH LADY

VIETNAMESE BANH MI

62 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1

COM TAM

BANH MI HUYNH HOA

23 Hoang Sa, Q1

MI QUANG MY SON

TIEM COM GA HAI NAM

LESBIAN BANH MI

26 Le Thi Rieng, Q1

MI QUANG

BANH MI SAU MINH

DAILY CHANGING DISHES

40A Quoc Huong, Q2

38 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1

HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3821 7751

VIETNAMESE BANH MI

YU CHU
TOP-END PAN-CHINESE

1st Floor, InterContinental


Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba
Trung & Le Duan, Q1
Tel: (08) 3520 9999
intercontinental.com/saigon
Skillful chefs prepare authentic hand-pulled noodles,
fresh dim sum and hot wok
dishes within an impeccably
designed open kitchen, as
diners look on. Stylish and
spectacular.
ZEUS
GREEK / KEBAB

THE SOCIETY
GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR
99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)
3914 3999

facebook.com/TheSocietyHCM

Designed as a Lanewaystyle restobar, the kind of


place found in Hong Kong,
London, New York or Central Melbourne, thanks to
its indoor and outdoor ambience, The Society brings
dining and drinking to a new
level. Phenomenal cocktails,
steaks, grilled fare and seafood make this a place to go
for drinks, a full-blown meal
or a mixture of both.

164 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 3248
The service is often slow, and
the staff are often surprisingly lazy, yet the food here
is so good and so unique to
this city, that no-one seems
to mind. The perfect place
to feast out on gyros and all
things off a skewer. Cheap,
too.
ZOOM CAF
AMERICAN / TEX-MEX

169A Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3920 3897

vietnamvespaadventures.
com/cafe_zoom

This corner-located Vespainfatuated venue is a caf


and restaurant by day and
a sidewalk drinking joint
by night. Friendly staff and
American deli-style and Cajun fare makes it a regular
expat haunt.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 185

BRIDALWEAR
3 Thang 2 C1

PAINTINGS
Tran Phu D1
Bui Vien D3

CAMERAS
Ton That Thiep C4

CAC
H

ung
Hoa H

A NG

District 11
2km

Ban
h

Min

2
NG
THA

Ba
n

hQ
uy

en

Ng

DIE

LY THA
I

G
HT
HAN
Vuon Chuoi
Market

Tha
n

Co

hie
hC

uy e
nT

hie
n

Ng

Thu
at

uy

in
nD

Ha
on
nS
ye
u
Ng

EN
UY
NG

TO

AI
KH
H
N
I
I M Chanh

TH am Viet
Ph

U
PH
AN
R
T

Teacher
Training
University

U
AN D

G
VUON

yen

n Trai

Binh

Bieu

Tran

DISTRICT 5
Ng u y e

Ngu

WEDDING SERVICES
Nguyen Dinh Chieu D1

ONG

CU
VAN

G
HUN

University of
Natural
Sciences

NG
VUO

YEN

STATIONERY
Nguyen Dinh Chieu B3

Tron

Ch
uo
i

N GU

SPORTSWEAR
Huyen Tran Cong Chua C3

Binh Tay
Market 3km

AU
HI S
T
O

LY
CHI
N

Ca
o

Tra
n

Quan

Tho
ng

Vu
on

t
n Da

186 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

TAM

Than
h

DISTRICT 10

h Ma
H uyn

GUITARS
Nguyen Thien Thuat D1, D2

Ng u
yen

Tron

FLOWERS
Le Thanh Ton C4

Minh
Quye
n

uyen

Binh

FABRICS
Hai Ba Trung A3

KH
OI
NG
HI

Dinh

Tran

EVERYTHING
Ben Thanh Market C4

nh
Van

Tran

Lan Anh Sports


& Leisure Club

NG

SHOES
Nguyen Dinh Chieu C1, C2
Luu Van Lang C4

KY

ong

MA N
G TH

PHO

COOKING INGREDIENTS
Ham Nghi C4, C5

H uy

Saigon Train
Station

Minh
Quye
n

Tan Binh
0.5km

ng

SEAFOOD
Vinh Khanh D4, D5

NG

Thao

Truo
ng

ONG
LE H

COMPUTERS
Ton That Tung C2, C3

Quoc

Ba H

han To

SAFES
Vo Van Tan C3

NA
M

Ky
D

B
Tran

Tran

Tran Van Dang

PLAQUES
Nam Quoc Cang C2, D2

CAR COMPONENTS
Tran Quang Khai A3
Ky Con C4, D4

PHU

ROI

PH
U

MOTORBIKES
Ly Tu Trong C3

YEN
VAN
T

INH

Le V
an S
y

BIKE MAINTENANCE
Nguyen Du C3

Huy
uynh
nh Van Banh

B IE
N

LUGGAGE
Le Lai C3, C4

N GU

PHA
ND

ien
gH
on
hu

ARMY SURPLUS
Dan Sinh Market D4

uy

anh
Th

JAPANESE RESTAURANTS
Le Thanh Ton B4, B5

Do

ANTIQUES
Le Cong Kieu C4

in
Ch

T
en
uy
Ng

A2
A4
A5
C4, D4
B3, B4
C2, C3
D4, E4
A3
B5
B5, C5
C4
D5, E5
B5, C5
C4, C5
C4
C2, C3
D1, E1, E2
D2
B4
D2, D3
D3, E1, E2
A1, B1
A3
A2
B1, C1
D1
A3
D1
A2, A3
B1, B2, B3
A2, B2
B1
B2, B3, C3
B3
A4, A5
B2
E3, E4, E5
D4, D5
A3, B2, B3
B3, C2
C2
A5
E5
C4, D4

Ng

D
en

Tran Huy Lieu

Phan Dinh Phung


Phan Ke Binh
Phan Van Han
Pho Duc Chinh
Phung Khac Khoan
Suong Nguyet Anh
Tan Vinh
Thach Thi Thanh
Thai Van Lung
Thi Sach
Thu Khoa Huan
Ton Dan
Ton Duc Thang
Ton That Dam
Ton That Thiep
Ton That Tung
Tran Binh Trong
Tran Canh Chan
Tran Cao Van
Tran Dinh Xu
Tran Hung Dao
Tran Huy Lieu
Tran Khac Chan
Tran Khanh Du
Tran Minh Quyen
Tran Nhan Tong
Tran Nhat Duat
Tran Phu
Tran Quang Khai
Tran Quoc Thao
Tran Quoc Toan
Tran Van Dang
Truong Dinh
Truong Quyen
Truong Sa
Tu Xuong
Vinh Hoi
Vinh Khanh
Vo Thi Sau
Vo Van Tan
Vuon Chuoi
Xo Viet Nghe Tinh
Xom Chieu
Yersin

Tran N

3 Thang 2
C1
Alexandre de Rhodes
B4
An Duong Vuong
D1
Ba Huyen Thanh Quan
B2, C3
Ban Co
C1
Ben Chuong Duong D3, D4, E2, E3
Ben Van Don
D4, D5, E3
Bui Thi Xuan
C3
Bui Vien
D3
Cach Mang Thang Tam B1, C2, C3
Calmette
C4
Calmette
D4
Cao Ba Nha
D3
Cao Thang
C1, C2, D2
Chu Manh Trinh
B4, B5
Co Bac
D3
Co Giang
D3, D4
Cong Quynh
D3
De Tham
C3, D3
Dien Bien Phu
A4, B3, C1, C2
Dinh Cong Trang
A3
Dinh Tien Hoang
A4, B4
Do Quang Dau
D3
Do Thanh
C1
Doan Nhu Hai
D5
Doan Van Bo
D5
Dong Du
C5
Dong Khoi
B4, C4, C5
Hai Ba Trung A2, A3, B3, B5, C5
Hai Trieu
C5
Ham Nghi
C4
Han Thuyen
B4
Ho Hao Hon
D3
Ho Tung Mau
C4, C5
Ho Xuan Huong
C2
Hoa Hung
B1
Hoang Dieu
D4, D5, E3
Hoang Sa
A4, A5
Huyen Tran Cong Chua
C3
Huynh Man Dat Binh Thanh
A5
Huynh Man Dat Dist. 5
E1
Huynh Thuc Khang
C4
Huynh TinH Cua Binh Thanh
A5
Huynh Tinh Cua Dist. 3
A2
Huynh Van Banh
A1, A2
Khanh Hoi
D4, E4
Ky Con
C4, D4
Ky Dong
B2
Le Cong Kieu
C4
Le Duan
B4, B5
Le Hong Phong
D1
Le Lai
C3
Le Loi
C4
Le Quoc Hung
D4, D5
Le Quy Don
B3
Le Thanh Ton
B4, B5, C3, C4
Le Thi Hong Gam
C4, D4
Le Thi Rieng
C3
Le Van Sy
A1
Luong Huu Khanh
C2
Luu Van Lang
C4
Ly Chinh Thang
B2
Ly Thai To
D1
Ly Tu Trong
B4, B5, C3, C4
Mac Dinh Chi
B4
Mac Thi Buoi
C5
Mai Thi Luu
A4
Me Linh
A5
Nam Ky Khoi Nghia
A2, B3, C4
Ngo Duc Ke
C5
Ngo Thoi Nhiem
B2, B3, C2

Ngo Van Nam


B5
Nguyen Bieu
E2
Nguyen Binh Khiem
A4, B5
Nguyen Cong Tru
C4, C5, D4
Nguyen Cu Trinh
D2, D3
Nguyen Dinh Chieu A4, B4, C2, C3,
D1
Nguyen Dinh Chinh
A1
Nguyen Du
B4, C3
Nguyen Gia Thieu
B3
Nguyen Hue
C4, C5
Nguyen Huu Canh
B5
Nguyen Huu Cau
A3
Nguyen Huy Tu
A4
Nguyen Khac Nhu
D3
Nguyen Khoai
E3
Nguyen Ngoc Phuong
A5
Nguyen Phi Khanh
A3
Nguyen Sieu
B5, C4, C5
Nguyen Son Ha
C2
Nguyen Tat Thanh
D5
Nguyen Thai Binh
C4, D4
Nguyen Thai Hoc
C3, D3
Nguyen Thi Dieu
C2, C3
Nguyen Thi Minh Khai A5, B3, B4,
C2, C3, D2
Nguyen Thien Thuat
C1
Nguyen Thong
B1, B2
Nguyen Thuong Hien
C2
Nguyen Trai
C3, D2, E1
Nguyen Trung Truc
C4
Nguyen Truong To
D5
Nguyen Van Cu
D2, E2
Nguyen Van Lac
A5
Nguyen Van Mai
A2
Nguyen Van Nguyen
A2
Nguyen Van Thu
A4, B3, B4
Nguyen Van Troi
A1
Pasteur
B3, B4
Pasteur
C4
Pham Hong Thai
C3
Pham Ngoc Thach
B3
Pham Ngu Lao
C3, D3
Pham Viet Chanh
D2

inh

1
PHU NHUAN
A

yen
Ngu

Tran Huy Lieu

HCMC
Map

Airport
3km
h
Chin
Dinh

O
UNG DA
TRAN H

Toan
Tran Quoc

P ha
m

ho
oT
Ng

hie
iN

NA
M

Tru
ong

m
gu

y
gu

MANN
G TH

nD
ye

Ch
inh

A NG

Huy

en
Tra
n

Du

Ng
Kh
oa

Hua

ong
u Tr
Ly T

inh

h
han
Le T

uy

Lu

hang

uc K

h Th

Le Cong Kieu

inh

HAM NGHI

en
Nguy

Don

Tru
Cong

Huynh Man Dat

NNEL
THU THIEM TU

Don
Van

uoc

H un
g

VinaExpress - The
Hydrofoil Service

N
Doan

i
hu Ha

g
Hoan

Dieu

Vung Tau

H
HA N

Van

ieu

Doa
nV
an B

u
D ie

u
D ie

inh

B en

Tr
Hai

oi

T
TAT

Le Q

V
Tan

ong

oD

Kh

e
cK

YEN

g
uon

oi
hH
an

Du

ng
Hoa
i
hoa

B en

ng
huo

Ng

To
ong
Tru

ng D
huo

Kh

t
ha

ghiep
uan N

Do
ng

HU
E

B en

ng
Hoa

nK
uy e

P
ua

Ho H

y en
Ng u

C
B en

N GU

Dan Sinh
Market
ru
g T Ky C
on
Con

Ng

Ch

UY
EN

o
Bu

r
teu
Pa s

en
guy

iB
Tha

Huyn

NG

iep

Th

i
Th

Du

am

I
LO
LE

t
ha

c
Ma

n Na m

nh
ha
hK

Nh

T
Ton

ang
nL
Va

Vinh

Cha
n

An

ng
Do

tD

Co

ac
h

Opera
House

on
hT

Saigon Bridge
& Highway 1
3km

Ton Duc Thang


Museum

u
Sie
en
uy Thi
g
N
S

Tha

n
G ia

an
Th

TR
UN
G

HU

Vin

Ba

st
eur

HIA

Ca
o

oi

Ngo V
a

Tha
iV
an
Lu
ng

Tra
i

Kh

BA

EN
UY

AN
UC

on
hT

in
Ch

Bac

n
ha
eT

NG

TH
AN
G

te

ian

HA
I

UC

Tri
nh

Du

et
lm
Ca

G
Co

Xu

en
guy

am

si
Yer

Ho

gG
Hon

uM
anh

TO
ND

ng
ro
uT
yL T

Tru
c

Ben Thanh
Market

hu

Ha
o

en

am
Th
De

Ho

en

DISTRICT 1

en
Tru
ng

Ton

C
HO

gu
ye
nK
ha
cN

Trinh
en Cu
Nguy

hi
eT

AI
TH

u
Da
ng

DA
NG
HU

Co

uy

Do
ng

Saigon
Bus Station

ien
Bui V

AN
TRN

Ng

EN
UY

Ph
a
Qu

Ng u
yen

ng
D

Th
u

PHAM HONG THAI

o
gu La
am N

uy

Du

Central
Post Office

Le

23/9 Park

ang

Dinh

Duc Ba

N
UA Cathedral
ED

rai
en T

Thai Binh
Market
Con
gQ
uyn
h

ho

Co
ng

NG

Le La

AN
DU

Zoo & Botanical


Gardens
UY
EN
BIN
HK
HIE
M

uc

nh

eR

s
de

Pa

Le La
y
Ng u

LE

Re-unification
Palace

Le Thi Rieng

Tun
g

HTV
Television

Ton

u
iX
Th

an

y en

NG

au
gM
Tun

i
Bu

Tra
n

Can
h

INH

AI
KH

Tru
o
Ngu

IM

Chi

L
30 Thang 4 yen
u
Park Han Th

Tan

Tao Dan
Park
nh

NG

TH

Ng

d
re
nd
xa
Ale

Labour Culture
Chu
HCMC
Palace
a
Conservatory
of Music

o
Ca

Ma
cD
inh

n
Va

EN
UY

I
HA

Ho

u
Ng

m
Tha
De

cC

ua

in

K
INH

st
eur

KH
OI
NG
HI

M
HI

Ch

Do

Cao T
hang

Kha

Quo

NG

E
UY

NT

Hoa Lu
Stadium

I NG
K HO

Huu

Na m

n
Va
Vo

n
Tra

KH
IEM

oD
Ph

Luo
ng

Th
at

cT
hao

hac

RU
N

OA
N

KY

g
on
Su

War Remnants
Museum

TAM
tA
ye

KY

ieu

N
Ba
Huy
en
ieu Than
D
hQ
hi

Tan

Ton

Quo

Ng
uy
en
Gia
Th
ieu

Din
h

T
en

iN
ho
o TL
Ng e Qu
yD
on

Pa

cT

BA
T

D
en
uy
Ng

hie
hC

BIN
H

NAM

n
Va
Vo

Tra
n

ng
uo
nH
a
u
oX

CAC
H

Tran

Ng
o

HA
I

en

hu
nT

Lu
u

District 7
& Nha Be

Kha
nh

DISTRICT 4
Ton D
an

IEN

HU
NP
BIE

Kh
ac
K

hoa

DISTRICT 3

ong
Xu

uy

NH

hi

inh

Saigon South
4km

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 187

Ch
ieu

AU
HI S
T
O

m
hie

Tu

Qu
yen

Ng

Va

TIE

eB

XO

Xo
m

DIN
H

P ha
nK

NG
UY
EN

Han

ANG

st
eur

AU
HI S
T
O

Ma
iT

H o an
g Sa

UC TH

Tru
ong

uc

Le Van Tam
Park
U
PH
IEN
B
Phu
N
ng
DIE

uo
c

nQ
Tra

Pa

uy
Tu

INH
E TPhan Van

TON D

Toa
n

Cua

hanh

nH

GH
TN
E
I
V

TON DUC T
HANG

c Chan
a
Tran Kh
Ca
u
uu

on
hC
Di n

Thi
T

uy e

g
on

ng
ra
gT

Ng

u
Ph

RUN

Ph

Truonng Sa

Hoang Sa

c
go

AT

an

Phan Va
Vann Ha
Han

N
en

Ly
V
Thac
h

5
BINH THANH

U
PH

uy

inh

n
Va
en
uy
Ng

Hi AI
a
B

DIE

N
BIE

Ng

hT

Tran Quang Khai


Nguyen Phi Khanh

Tran Quang Khai


Tan Dinh
Market

NG
HA
HT

N
CHI
LY Huyn

Duat

uy
en

Ng
uy
en
H

Ng

Tran Nhat

an

DINH TIEN HOANG

Ng
uy
en
V

Du
Tran Khannhh

Gia Dinh
Hospital
1.5km

The Final Say

188 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

THE FINAL SAY

NATIONAL

Food Poisoning
We all like to eat well, but what happens when you get on the wrong side
of the food chain? Words by Sin Kavanagh

t all starts with a sudden gurgle,


somewhere deep within your stomach,
as a film of sweat develops over your
body. You dont think too much at
first, until you immediately know that
the only place youre going to be for the
next couple of hours is the bathroom.
Get your phone charged and limber up,
youre going on one of the most common
adventures in Vietnam; food poisoning.
Its not fun, and its certainly not
glamorous, but its a very real part of living
in Vietnam. Food poisoning occurs when
you have ingested certain pathogens that
cause disruption to your digestive system,
also known as Travellers Diarrhoea (even
when you are a native or local to the country
where you contract it).

The Source
There are three types of micro-organisms
that can cause common digestive trouble;
viruses, bacteria and parasites. Each microorganism affects the body and must be
treated accordingly, and it is more often than
not impossible to self-diagnose which of
these is affecting you.
Depending on the source of the digestive
trouble, the pathogen that has caused these
symptoms could have been incubating for
any period of time from a few hours to over
a week, and infections with pathogens that
take longer to manifest symptoms make up
10% of all food poisoning cases, according
to the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC).
Here are the top tips for understanding
and recovering from food poisoning:
1) KNOW YOUR SYMPTOMS. The two most
common symptoms of food poisoning are
diarrhoea and abdominal pain, though these
two symptoms are not exclusively indicators
of food poisoning, says Dr. Masato Okuda,
the gastroenterology specialist at Family
Medical Practice. Other frequent symptoms
of food poisoning include fever, nausea
and vomiting. There are some extremely
infrequent symptoms of food poisoning,
including body paralysis caused by GuillainBarre syndrome or bacterial reactive arthritis
or severe joint pain, also identified as
Reiters syndrome.
2) FIND YOUR BALANCE OF CAUTION AND
ADVENTURE. Unfortunately, there are very

few foolproof ways to ensure you never


fall victim to digestive troubles, but there
are measures you can take. Dr. Masato
recommends being aware of where you
consume food and drink, and how it is
prepared and handled, as most cases of
food poisoning are caused by poor hygiene
practices.
3) PREVENTATIVE SELF MEDICATION. Depending
on the type of antibiotic used, it is possible to
successfully prevent some forms of Travellers
Diarrhoea but it is not recommended to do
so without consulting a medical professional
first. Even so, bacteria evolve and develop
different characteristics over time. This means
that bacteria can become resistant to certain
antibiotics, especially when they are selfprescribed, overused, or used to treat another
issue such as a viral infection or parasite. It is
also possible to prophylactically take PeptoBismol, as the key ingredient is bismuth
subsalicylate (BSS). When taken daily in
either 2oz of liquid or two chewable tablets,
four times a day, BSS has been known to
reduce the occurrence of Travellers Diarrhoea
by 50% from studies based in Mexico.
4) VIRAL VS. BACTERIA VS. PARASITES. By
understanding exactly what microorganism
has made its way into your body you can
also help determine the best routes for
medical follow up.
Viral infections will typically result in
relatively mild symptoms compared
to other types of infection, and the
body will likely heal by itself. Viral
infections are typically less common,
only causing about 5% to 8% of
reported cases.
Bacterial infections can cause more
severe symptoms than viral infections,
especially abdominal pain and
diarrhoea, but the symptoms should
last only last about one week. Bacteria
are one of the most common causes of
Travellers Diarrhoea and food
poisoning, accounting for 80 to 90% of
cases reported.
Parasitic symptoms can vary from mild
to severe, but the key difference for
seeing if you have a parasite is the
amount of time you are ill, as parasites

can cause pain and diarrhoea for


anywhere from two weeks to months
at a time.
5) BEST ROUTES FOR RECOVERY. Recovery from
food poisoning or Travellers Diarrhoea
again depends on the type of pathogen that
has caused you to become ill. Hydration
is the key to a successful recovery from
diarrhoea, and if you are passing enough
urine there is no need to worry about
hydration, recommends Dr. Masato.
Sufficient hydration is doubly important for
young children. If you have been in severe
pain or experiencing symptoms for over a
week, then it is time to consult a medical
professional about how to further aid
recovery back to full health. Remember the
following:
Viral infections can only be treated by
allowing the body to heal itself, and
alleviate the symptoms themselves
such as using fever reducers or
painkillers. Imodium can be used;
however diarrhoea is a defense
mechanism of your intestines to help
them repair, and to overuse Imodium
can be just as disruptive as letting your
body use its own mechanism.
Bacterial infections can be treated with
antibiotics though there is no guarantee
that the bacteria that has infected your
digestive system isnt resistant to
the drugs. It is also possible to treat the
symptoms for a bacterial infection
as well.
Parasitic infections are a lot less
common than bacterial infections and
demand treatment on a case-by-case
basis.
Statistically speaking at least 70% of us
will suffer from some form of Travellers
Diarrhoea (yes even if we live here) or food
poisoning, and its not the end of the world.
Though there are reported cases of parasites,
which are somewhat frequent in Southeast
Asia, and other severe diseases, the best
course of action is to talk to a medical
professional. If its your run-of-the-mill
diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, make sure
to stay hydrated, have plenty of rest, and
know that this too shall pass.

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 189

The Final Say

THE FINAL SAY

NATIONAL

Vegetarian Hanoi
With over 50 restaurants in the capital now catering for vegetarians and vegans,
binning the meat in Hanoi is more than a passing fad. Words by Eduardo Culbeaux

s a vegetarian all my life, I was


interested in learning about
Hanois burgeoning vegetarian
scene. I met with Phong Van Doan
at my favourite vegan restaurant on Au
Co. We sat at the large community table
while I sipped on my bowl of bun rieu chay
and crispy nem chay cooked in coconut oil.
Doan wasnt always a vegan. Her mom
used to call her Mongolian because she
mostly ate meat and drank milk. Doan
recalls the times when she would make her
mom cook her favourite meat dish, thit kho
tan, a type of fried crispy pork, every night.
She had dietary problems since
kindergarten, but it culminated this summer
when her Mongolian diet made her
bed-ridden for weeks. Like any teen she
found refuge in YouTube videos where she
stumbled upon Freelee the Banana Girl, a
YouTuber who promotes a vegan lifestyle.
After a month of being vegan she started
noticing improvements in her health. After
two months, she was able to go off her
medication.
The dramatic change in her health, and an
accidental meeting with a vegan Vietnamese
teacher altered the course of her life. She
now is a vegan activist and has started a
Facebook group called Vegan Hanoi that
already includes over 300 members. Its
not all perfect she understands that the
Vietnamese community is still struggling to
understand a vegan diet.

Life Without Meat


Quyen Vo, an employee at Bo De Quan (164
Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi), a vegan restaurant
in Tay Ho, said: When we first opened, two
years ago, we were really struggling. Some
Vietnamese customers would come to our
shop and say can I have a bowl of beef pho?
We would say sorry; we are vegan, and they
would say sorry, I cannot eat it because I
cannot live without meat. I eat meat every
day, if I dont eat meat I die.
On any given weekday there is now a

190 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

steady stream of westerners who pop into Bo


De Quan for a quick bite to eat or food to go,
and many other Hanoi vegetarian business
owners have recently seen growth in the
demand for vegetarian food.
Dan Ni, a waiter at Daluva, a more
upscale restaurant that offers a meatless
Monday special agrees: I think the number
of vegetarians among the Vietnamese
population will grow more slowly. A lot of
people think that meat is crucial and that
you cant substitute meat for other things.

It Takes All Types


Matador Network, the worlds largest
independent travel publisher, put out a
report last year stating seven reasons why
all vegetarians should travel to Vietnam. The
number one reason is you probably wont
get diarrhoea. It also claimed the word for
vegetarian in Vietnamese, chay, is pretty easy
to pronounce even without intonation.
In Hanoi I found various types of
vegetarians. First, the Buddhists. Some
people may assume that because of
Buddhism there would be a lot of
vegetarians in Vietnam. The reality is only
about 12% of Vietnams population describe
themselves as Buddhist. There are even some
reports that claim Buddha himself may not
have been vegetarian. These Buddhists still
eat a little meat from time to time, but try to
eat mostly vegetarian.
There are Hindus who follow a more strict
vegetarian diet, abstaining even from foods
like onions and garlic. These vegetarians
believe that you shouldnt eat anything that
you cant offer to Krishna. They also believe
that consuming certain vegetables and spices
will stimulate the central nervous system,
and may increase passion and ignorance.
The most common type of vegetarians I
met in Hanoi are not absolute vegetarians.
I stopped eating meat five days of the week
after watching the documentary Cowspiracy
the effects that eating meat has on the
environment is devastating, said Jolie Lamb.

The environment and chemicals found in


meat represents a concern shared by a lot
of people. The animals are fed hormones
so they can grow big and fat, then people
eat these animals and so are eating all those
hormones, said another person I spoke to,
Charline Rieffel.

A Growing Fad
There are currently over 50 establishments
listed as vegan or vegetarian on happycow.
net in Hanoi alone. There is also a very
active Facebook group with over 700
members called Vegan Organic Hanoi.
Once you are connected, finding amazing
vegetarian food all across the city is no
problem. There are fresh vegetables and
tofu everywhere, as well as a growing
number of shops selling fake meat.
Although, most people I talked to are
still weary of fake meat and see it as just
another processed food to avoid.
It is not just vegan/vegetarian
restaurants that are cashing in on
vegetarianism. Veggie burgers, burritos
and falafels are among other things that are
peppering the menus of most restaurants
in Hanoi. If you are feeling really hard-core
about your devotion to a vegetarian planet,
people in Vegan Organic Hanoi will even
help you facilitate creating vegetarian food
for your pets.
Veganism has found adherents in
big business, as well. Asias richest
businessman Li Ka-Shing recently invested
US$23 million in Hampton Creek Foods,
which makes vegan mayonnaise.
Globally, the vegetarian food market
is rapidly increasing, as people become
more aware of the positive effects reducing
meat consumption has on the body and
on the environment. And in Vietnam, the
vegetarian population is definitely growing,
even if it may be led by westerners for now.
For a full list of vegan and vegetarian
restaurants in Hanoi, click on happycow.net/
asia/vietnam/hanoi

wordvietnam.com | May 2016 Word | 191

The Final Say

Ten10

Despite being surrounded by Vietnamese eateries, the multiple award-winning Song


Que is probably the most successful Vietnamese restaurant in London. Yet it remains
very down to earth. Its owners, Luoc and Anh, tell their story. Photo by Nick Ross
When did you arrive in the UK?
Luoc: A long time ago. I arrived in 1979. I
come from Saigon.
Anh: I came in 1989. We didnt know each
other before I arrived. We met in the UK. I
come from Ben Tre.

What did you do before you


opened Song Que?
Luoc: When I first arrived, my English
wasnt good. So I ended up washing dishes.
But after a few years I knew I had to move
forward, so I started learning English. Once
I had a better grasp of it, I got work as a
waiter for a Singaporean restaurant.

Why did you decide to go into the


restaurant business?
Anh: We wanted to do something for our
family and also to do something for the
Vietnamese community. We were focused
on having Vietnamese customers, not on
foreigners. But once we opened, all sorts of
people came to try out the food.

How did you get yourself such a


good name?
Three months after we opened without
us knowing a magazine wrote an article
on us. Prior to the piece, the restaurant was
really quiet, but suddenly, one Tuesday, loads
of people phoned up to reserve a table. We

192 | Word May 2016 | wordvietnam.com

didnt understand at the time we only


had one person working the floor and three
people in the kitchen. That day it was raining,
and suddenly there was a long queue outside
the restaurant. This was 2003. We realised
that our service wasnt up to scratch and
that the food was coming out of the kitchen
really slowly, but the customers were really
understanding. After they ate that night, they
started chatting to us, and it was only then
that we realised wed been written about in a
magazine it was Time Out London.

What happened after the article?


Anh: Loads of people came to the restaurant
to interview us, and then nine months later
we won the Time Out award for Best Cheap
Eats in London, 2003. We were so surprised
and never imagined in our wildest dreams
that wed get such an award.

When you make your food, do you


adapt it to the taste of people in
the UK?
We cook it as if we are cooking for
Vietnamese people. From when we first
opened, we have never changed this. Our
food is exactly what youd get in Vietnam.

How do you manage to attract all


the customers?
Anh: Were just lucky. But were like a tree.

If you look after a tree, water it, treat it


well, youll get fruit. Thats how we see it.

In the past, people from the UK


didnt know that much about
Vietnamese food. How did you
deal with this?
Anh: It was so difficult. So for example,
bun. People didnt understand. They said,
But the noodles are cold. How can we eat
them? They would complain. Someone
else said that eating our bi cuon, rice paper
rolls, were like eating rubber bands. But
now, we sell bi cuon a lot.

You also sell a few dishes that are


not Vietnamese, like for example,
crispy duck. Why is this?
Anh: When we opened, not so many
people were able to eat Vietnamese
cuisine. So, we added in a few Chinese
dishes like the crispy duck. But now,
because its so popular, we cant take it off
the menu

How do you manage to maintain


such consistency?
Anh: I marinate all the meat and fish
myself. I also make all the sauces. I dont
let anyone else do it, even the head chef.
Im starting to show my oldest daughter,
but otherwise, I do all of this myself.

Sch Chuyn Qung Co - Not For Sale