Hẻm Gems: Grilled Chicken With a Side of Jet Fuel

In the pantheon of great street food locations in Saigon, many of my favorite places to chow down can barely even be considered restaurants. Is there really a need for four walls and real furniture when the food is amazing?

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Hẻm Gems: Beef and Booze at Lau Bo Co Thao

The alley where Thao has set up shop isn’t worth remembering. A high concrete wall runs down one side, reflecting the sun that’s sapping our energy on this hot, dusty Friday afternoon, while the other is lined with modest storefronts half-obscured by tattered awnings.

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Hẻm Gems: Loriekot’s Filipino Fare in the Heart of Saigon

In Saigon, there are plenty of places you don’t see when you’re breezing by on a motorbike. If you are (hopefully) focused on the road ahead, the narrow shopfronts and modest quán lining most Saigon streets start to run together, blurring into a mess of awnings and neon signs, plastic furniture and noisy, fearless touts.

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Hẻm Gems: A Perfect Plate of Cơm Trưa by the River

In Saigon, cơm trưa is more than just a meal: it’s also a cultural trait, a community and, at times, a serious business, all wrapped up in a plate of freshly cooked rice and perfectly caramelized chunks of sườn nướng.

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Hẻm Gems: Lunch Hour Gone Rogue at Oc Thao

In the vast and complex world of Saigon street food, ốc is generally classified as a staple of the fourth meal: nhậu. Its various forms, whether doused in garlic, drizzled with mỡ hành or swimming in a sea of tamarind, represent a collection of highly snackable, bite-sized morsels that pair well with evenings on the sidewalk, long, extended periods of eating, and ice-filled glasses of Saigon Red.

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Saigoneer’s 5 Best Hẻm Gems of 2016

We’ve done a lot of eating this year.

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Hẻm Gems: Getting Your Fried Chicken and Noodle Fix in D4

“When in doubt, have chicken.” – Saigoneer proverb

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Hẻm Gems: Cô Hong’s Killer Late-Night Cơm Tấm

In the 16 years she’s spent selling cơm tấm on the District 4 side of the Calmette Bridge, Hong has seen some things.

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Hẻm Gems: Phu Nhuan's Beef Inferno

It might take more than a few Hẻm Gem reviews to chronicle all the things I have gone through for good food in Saigon.

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Hẻm Gems: Striking a Balance With D10's Chè

If life is all about balance so, too, is food.

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Hẻm Gems: D1's Rainy-Day Cháo Mực

“A cháo a day keeps the cold at bay.” – Saigoneer proverb

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