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What We Talk About When We Talk About Bánh Mì

Bánh mì is without a doubt a Vietnamese staple. Versatile, convenient and affordable, the sandwich has gotten so popular in recent years in Vietnam and elsewhere that phở shouldn’t be complacent, as its reign as the country’s most iconic dish could be toppled soon.

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Hẻm Gems: Come for the Architecture, Stay for the Architecture

In an age when seemingly every building in Saigon has been knocked down for redevelopment at least once, it's rare to be able to spend time in a truly unique architectural gem.

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Hẻm Gems: In a D1 Corner, a Heated Battle Between Yellow Noodles and Red Noodles

At the northernmost end of Saigon’s bustling District 1, the end of Hai Ba Trung Street leading to Phu Nhuan District is known best for heavy rush hour traffic. But a curious textbook case of an Asian phenomenon is underway around the corner on neighboring Tran Quang Khai Street: a noodle shop with red shirt-wearing staff just moved in...five meters away from a noodle shop with yellow shirt-wearing staff.

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How the Popularity of 'Durian Tours' Is Threatening the Survival of Malaysia's Tigers

In order to meet rising demand for durian, Malaysia plans to convert a large area of the Malayan tiger’s natural habitat into durian plantations.

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A Saigon Pop-Up Fuses Mexican and Vietnamese Fares, One Pun at a Time

More romantic than the season's first snow dusting a trampled field of post-harvest corn husks; more inspiring than stars strewn across a cloudless night sky; more alluring than fragrant pollen drifting off a wind-tickled sunflower: the cheesy, spicy, deliriously delicious coating of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is a transcendent substance.

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A History of Rice Wine, Part 1: Family Stills, Prohibition and Colonial Bloodshed

Fight or flight: to ball fists, rally rag-tag villagers clutching canes, shovels, sampan oars and bamboo staffs to ward off the bayonet-wielding officers invading your home intending to ransack your cabinets and storerooms, aiming to whisk you off to prison based on the scantest of evidence; or, to scoop up your ceramic pot of illegal alcohol, slip out the back door and flee far into the rice fields, where you hide for hours until the rising moon signals a safe passage home, hunched deep in the cold muck, shaded by growing stalks and comforted by cricket song. 

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Japan to Release Pringles-Flavored Instant Noodles and Ramen-Flavored Chips

Have you ever been ridiculed for dipping chips in ramen broth? Do your friends scrunch up their nose when you sprinkle instant noodles seasonings on your Pringles? Well, you can tell them to suck it because eating chip-ramen hybrids is all the rage now.

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Hẻm Gems: On the Road to Ruin, From Budapest to Binh Thanh

The southern edge of Binh Thanh is one of Saigon’s most fascinating areas. More cosmopolitan than the district would have you believe, its maze-like streets hold a heady mix of different influences. Wet market stalls and quiet cafés, tucked-away Japanese eateries and quaint low-rise apartment blocks.

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Hẻm Gems: At Madam Oyster, Two Brothers Prove that Taiwanese Food Is More Than Just Milk Tea

Arguably one of the most underrated cuisines in Asia, Taiwanese fare has remained under the radar in Saigon for a long time, even though Taiwanese business owners were among the first foreign business arrivals after the enactment of Doi Moi in 1986. When one queries an average Vietnamese or foreigner about Taiwanese cuisine in Saigon, most answers likely revolve around items such as fried chicken, milk tea or castella cake (a sweet sponge cake of Japanese-Portuguese origin), reinforcing the cliché that Taiwanese snacks have a greater prominence than their mains.

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Hẻm Gems: Cam Cam Kafe and the Fujian Pagoda That Inspired Its Name

I wish I could claim that I discovered Cam Cam Kafe by myself. Tucked away in a corner unit up the second floor of a nondescript apartment in District 5, the coffee shop seems mostly undetectable from a pedestrian’s perspective. And that’s by design.

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Bánh Pía: The Dreamy Mooncake Alternative With a Side of Teochew History

From sweet treats such as yam paste, chè bạch quả (ginkgo soup) and bite-size pastries to savory staples such as lotus root soup, bánh củ cải (radish cake), cốn xại (pickles) and xá pấu (salted radish) eaten with rice congee, links to my family's Teochew roots were made and consumed through food, both in everyday life and during festive occasions. 

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