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Hẻm Gems: Making Good Life Decisions With Midday Rice Wine and Hanoi Deep-Fried Food

The Subcommittee for Sustainable Fishing? The Office of Dipterocarp Record-Keeping? The Directorate of Synthetic Rubber Quality Control? Ride-Share Hygiene Board? It was difficult to assess who exactly our fellow lunch diners were. Were they filling their table with empty beer bottles to escape the monotony of work or fuel creative ideas for more efficiently managing the allocation of hand sanitizer for cable cars? Unclear. What was certain, however, was the Saigoneer team had scampered up Pasteur Street to enjoy a few glasses of rice wine accompanied by northern fare with the hopes that we’d return to the office not too buzzed to actively report on the nation’s latest developments in cracking down on illegal seahorse smuggling.


Hẻm Gems: While the Day Away Under the Green Canopy of Cỏ Cafe

Under a thick canopy of verdant vines and minuscule pink flowers, it’s easy to indulge in the cooling comfort of a glass of iced tamarind juice and while the day away.


The Distinctly Da Lat Comfort of Bonding Over Coffee Beans

After a two-year stint as an English teacher in Saigon, Nick Melhuish decided that it was time to call it quits. He moved to Da Lat with his partner Brianna and his dog Sausage to open a bed & breakfast and roastery called the London Saigon Coffee Company.


Hẻm Gems: A Masterful Osaka-Style Okonomiyaki in Binh Thanh

An honest-to-god Japanese izakaya is a beautiful thing. Dark and smoky, often decked out in wood furnishings and yellowing travel posters, its flawless blend of bar and restaurant often involves nothing more than a simple countertop to indulge in ice-cold draft Sapporos and small-plate comfort dishes.


Hẻm Gems: A Bowl of Hanoi's Southern-Style Bún Bò in the South

Fabien from France and Trang from Hanoi led a very different life just a year ago. They were running a Vietnamese restaurant nearly 12,000 kilometers away from Saigon, in Morocco.


Da Lat, the Unlikely Home of El Salvador's Rare Pacamara Coffee Beans

In a previous life, Nguyen Van Son was an auto parts salesperson. As a gift of appreciation for his wife, he acquired a seemingly trivial plot of land in Da Lat and made it a place where the family could cultivate flowers as a summer hobby. But things changed when he was approached by some cunning businessmen who convinced him to grow coffee for quick cash: he was sold trees that never produced cherries.


[Photos] Into the Backyard Rice Wine Distilleries of Long An

The highway eases into sand and gravel the way history descends into myth and legend when traveling towards Long An. A mere 27 kilometers outside of Saigon, the province feels a world away: the difference between a cocktail made with 18-year-old scotch, jackfruit-infused rum, seven types of bitters and brandy-soaked organic cherries and a plastic water bottle of homemade rượu nếp. The latter was the reason we were going there: for information, interviews and anecdotes to complete Saigoneer’s two-part investigation of the history of rice wine.


In Saigon, a Quest for Sustainable, Healthy Coffee Consumption Is Brewing

The first moment I spotted the crisp blue door on Truong Dinh Street in District 3, I was drawn to it. I wanted to go in. And so I did, not knowing that I was opening the door into the world of sustainable Vietnamese coffee.


A History of Rice Wine, Part 2: A Traditional Craft Slowed to a Trickle

Rose-tinted shades and long swept-back hair tickling the collar of a half-unbuttoned maroon shirt that revealed a dangling peace-sign pendant: at age 27, Minh was the epitome of 70s Saigon cool. More than that, though, he was one the most famous rice wine producers in Long An, a province renowned for its traditional liquor production. After Minh moved from the big city to his wife’s home village, her family discovered his natural talent and passed on their distilling knowledge which he spent decades perfecting.


Hẻm Gems: Lost in the Half-Childlike, Half-Adult World of 'The Little Prince'

Remember the tale about a little boy who travels planet to planet on a quest to discover and retrieve lessons about the adult world? This cafe is yet another untold chapter of that story.


The Unexpected Delight of Italian Baked Tarts in Misty Da Lat

As Da Lat’s wet season comes to a close, cool weather and sunshine greet local and foreign visitors on a daily basis. People from colder cities such as Hanoi appreciate Da Lat’s comfortable average of 18°C, while dwellers of notoriously warm places such as Saigon plan weekend retreats to escape the heat.


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