Paul Christiansen

in Food Culture

Into the Beguiling 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 Snack Attack

From a Blend of Cultures, Phá Lấu Became a Beloved Saigon Street Snack

When the word phá lấu is mentioned, two genres of dishes will appear in the mind of Vietnamese. One is a small bowl of orange broth that sings of coconut milk, another is slices of caramelized offal awash in a translucent shade of brown. Both these forms of preparations speak volumes about the growth of local street food through episodes of history.

in Snack Attack

Gỏi Đu Đủ Reflects the Mekong Region's Culinary and Cultural Wisdoms

As the cicadas begin to sing in the tamarind canopies along Pasteur Street after the first monsoon rain, vivid scenes from my formative years flash by in my mind. My cheeks became flushed and my eyes teary, but not from the harsh sun and wind, nor the frustration of losing multiple marble games; it was the sight, or rather, the scent of a papaya salad enveloped in Cô Ri pungent anchovy sauce.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: In D5, a Family Durian Xôi Xiêm Recipe Inspired by Cambodia

At first glance, xôi xiêm sầu riêng — or sticky rice with egg custard and durian — may appear plain-looking, but apart from being a tasty sweet treat, this simple dish also holds stories of life during Vietnam’s post-war period.

in Snack Attack

A Pilgrimage to Sơn La, Vietnam's National Mận Capital, as a Devoted Fan

There’s a kind of sweet, sour, and slightly tannic fruit that never fails to make our mouths water every summer.

Paul Christiansen

in Food Culture

Banana Is a Paragon of Neutrality. I Propose Using It as a Metric to Rank All Fruits.

Line up all the world’s fruits, best to worst, taking into account every rateable aspect imaginable including taste, appearance, price, reliability and seasonality — the banana rests at the exact middle. So I've personally used it as the ideal threshold to rank every fruit I've ever eaten.

in Snack Attack

An Ode to Dried Fruit, Vietnam's Parent-Approved Way for Children to Sugar Load

I first knew dried fruit as a category of munchy snacks that had my parents’ approval.

Back Eat & Drink

Brian Letwin

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Chu Se's 65 Years of Hủ Tiếu Mì by the Calmette Bridge

Saigon is home to a number of street food eateries that span generations, from a 100-year old vegetarian joint to a 70-year-old hủ tiếu Mỹ Tho restaurant right in the heart of District 1.

in Food Culture

Pandan, Southeast Asia's Humble Leaf Set to Take the World by Storm

Pandan, an aromatic plant native to Southeast Asia, could soon have its moment in the international spotlight thanks to British chef and food writer Nigella Lawson, who extolled its virtues in an inte...

in Food Culture

[Photos] Saigon's Forward-Looking Cafes on the Future of Coffee

  In the first part of our two-part photo project on Saigon's coffee shops, Saigoneer paid a visit to two old-school cafes with decades of heritage. In the second part, we're shining the limel...

Khoi Pham

in Food Culture

Milk Tea-Flavored Water Is Here. Is the Apocalypse Near?

The stark, clinical fluorescent lighting inside the convenient store casts an air of ominous dread all over the shop’s beverage section. With a glance, I find it. The blue package stares back at me me...

Michael Tatarski

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Fine Dining at a Budget Price in Binh Thanh's Mai Sen Bistro

When it comes to dining in Binh Thanh District, most Saigoneers probably think of street food, or perhaps the strip of Japanese establishments on Pham Viet Chanh Street.

in Food Culture

[Photos] Saigon's Old-School Cafes Hold Fast to Time-Honored Traditions

In a city of rapid change, there is no doubt that opinions on many subjects vary with passion and, sometimes, noticeable subtlety.

in Food Culture

Bangkok's First Michelin-Starred Street Stall Struggles to Keep up With Newfound Fame

Just a few weeks after the prestigious restaurant guide Michelin bestowed Jay Fai's street food stall in Bangkok a coveted star, she's already struggling to keep up with her business's newfound fame.

in Food Culture

Quan Ut Ut Acquired by Restaurant Operator Red Wok Cuisine

Saigon’s popular American BBQ chain, Quan Ut Ut, has recently been acquired by Red Work Cuisine.

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Hẻm Gems: In Thao Dien, a Modernist Building Houses D2's Best Bánh Canh Stall

For many Saigoneers, central Thao Dien is known for its plethora of high-end restaurants catering to the neighborhood’s large expat population. However, if one looks closely enough between the scores ...

in Food Culture

[Video] Japan's Maple Leaf Tempura Tastes as Beautiful as It Looks

Saigon officially has another reason to be jealous of regions that experience autumn: these dazzlingly colorful leaf tempuras that make for delicious snacks!

Khoi Pham

in Food Culture

Cơm Âm Phủ: Hue’s ‘Purgatory Rice’ That Tastes Like Heaven

Throughout the Vietnam’s decades of development from a war-torn nation to one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, rags-to-riches stories are a dime a dozen. This is especially true in the country’s c...

in Food Culture

Vietnam Spends $354m on Snacks in 2017: Report

We consumed a lot of snacks last year.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Saigoneer’s 5 Best Hẻm Gems of 2017

In 2017, Saigon certainly saw its fair share of the good, the bad, and the controversial, but it was without a doubt a wonderful year in eating. Across the city, we delighted in finding decades-old st...

in Food Culture

[Video] The Story of Japan's Only Sushi Restaurant Run by All Female Chefs

A group of intrepid female chefs has been defying the laws of tradition to combat sexism in Japan’s sushi community.

in Food Culture

Tracing the Lineage of Da Lat's Delicious Bánh Mì Xíu Mại

Every morning, the corner of Da Lat’s Hoang Dieu and Tran Nhat Duat streets is a mess of plastic tables and rubbish bins, bánh mì crumbs and bodies hunched over small bowls. This particular patch of s...

in Food Culture

A Street Food Stall in Bangkok Was Recently Awarded a Michelin Star

Bangkok chef Jay Fai has become Thailand's first street food vendor to earn a prestigious Michelin star.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Cocktails and Conversation at Saigon’s Classiest Sidewalk Spot

Editor's note: This review from 2017 was of City Beer Station's first location on Pham Ngoc Thach Street, which has since closed. Over the past years, the cocktail bar has moved numerous times. Recent...

in Food Culture

[Video] Ain't No Sunshine When Sai'Gon: The Cake Inspired by Saigon's Rainy Days

The Saigon skyline has been the muse for many an illustration project, and now you can also enjoy the towering Bitexco Financial Tower, but in fondant form.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

From the Bottom of the Barrel to the Top of the Heap: The Rise of Cơm Tấm

Swing by chị Hien’s street cart for dinner on any given day and you’ll find a cross-section of Saigon that covers all demographics: middle-class residents from the apartment blocks up the street,...

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: In Hẻm 284, O Thu Brings a Touch of Hue to Saigon With Cơm Hến

As the sun went down and Saigon’s throngs of workers ventured out of their office nests to fill local streets, I was perched on a red plastic stool in a hẻm in District 3 weeping and snorting like an ...