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

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: D5's Bò Xào Sa Tế, a Feast for All the Senses

Saigon is changing at a dizzying rate, and so is its food scene: forget about your favorite café or restaurant for a few months and you can come back one day to find it replaced by a convenience store...

in Food Culture

[Photos] Sushi Chef Fuses Sneakers and Sushi to Create 'Shoe-Shi'

An artist and chef based in Italy has elevated the art of sushi to a new level by creating "shoe-shi."

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Quan 249’s Wondrous Cơm Chiên Emporium

It’s 6pm on a Thursday, and I’m up to my eyeballs in cơm chiên. Page after page, Quan 249’s excessively handled menu features a laundry list of fried rice combinations, some you’ve heard of, some you ...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: To Chan's Noodle Soup Offers Comfort in a Bowl

If you turn up to a hủ tiếu spot anywhere in this city and there is not a hand-painted, wooden noodle cart taking up one corner of the venue, you may want to think twice about sitting down.

in Food Culture

Australian Chain Gloria Jean's Coffees Exits Vietnam After 11 Years

On the heels of homegrown restaurant chain The KAfe’s exit from the local market, Australian coffee franchise Gloria Jean’s Coffees is the next to go.

Michael Tatarski

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: D5's Glorious Com Tam Is the Perfect Drunk Food

Saigon is a city of a million cơm tấm carts, meaning it is easy to pick one at random and chow down. But some stand out from the crowd.

in Food Culture

Vietnam Has the Third-Most Expensive Starbucks Drinks in the World: Survey

While getting a drink from Starbucks in the US might not be a big deal, in Vietnam, it’s something of a luxury.

in Food Culture

Homegrown Startup The KAfe Disappears From Saigon, Hanoi

Just a year after making national headlines for successfully attracting US$5.5 million in foreign investment, Hanoi-based fusion food chain The KAfe has ended its operations in both the capital and Sa...

Michael Tatarski

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Anh Tư's Dreamy Grilled Chicken in Binh Thanh

Around the Saigoneer office I've become the go-to scribe when it comes to chicken-related Hẻm Gems. Therefore, when a friend described a Binh Thanh-based restaurant with dozens of chickens hanging abo...

in Food Culture

Bangkok to Remove All Sidewalk Vendors by End of Year

While Saigon debates the future of street vendors in the city, officials in nearby Thailand are working to remove all vendors from Bangkok's pavements by the end of the year. 

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: An Excursion to Tan Dinh's Secret Bún Hideout

Life is slow in the jungle of hẻms that branches out from Dinh Cong Trang Street. Here, a bún establishment offers noodles of northern heritage using recipes handed down through generations of family....

in Eat & Drink

Tokyo Restaurant Dishes Out Insect Ramen

Saigon's recent In-N-Out pop-up has nothing on a ramen restaurant in Tokyo which served up an unorthodox version of the popular dish last Sunday.

in Food Culture

America's Favorite Condiment, Sriracha, Is Not So Hot in Vietnam

After making its name in the United States, the rooster-branded hot sauce is trying its luck in Vietnam.

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: The Balanced Beauty of Bacon and Fried Rice

Our dining experience at A Lung was remarkably simple: there was no turning back when we saw bacon on the menu.

in Food Culture

Popularity of Coffee Fuels Strong Profits and Rapid Expansion for Coffee Chains in Vietnam

It’s a good time to be a coffee chain owner in Vietnam as the country’s appetite for a cup of Joe has never been more intense.

in Food Culture

Vietnamese-American Chef Andrea Nguyen Creates Eclectic Pho Cookbook

Vietnamese-American chef Andrea Nguyen's latest book, The Pho Cookbook, is an ode to Vietnam's national comfort food: phở.

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Chicken Noodles in Phu Nhuan's Flower Neighborhood

Located deep in the heart of Phu Nhuan District’s “flower” neighborhood, Mi Ga Lua Hong offers up a solid addition to Saigon’s host of chicken-centric dishes: a fried chicken drumstick with dry, green...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

In-N-Out Burger Pop-Up Hits Saigon for One Day

A few lucky Saigoneers were able to enjoy some coveted In-N-Out munchies this afternoon as the American regional burger chain opened a pop-up shop in District 1.

in Food Culture

D1 Launches Facebook Page to Help Street Food Vendors Evicted From Sidewalks

In the midst of Saigon’s sidewalk-clearing campaign, officials in the downtown area are aiming to help street vendors through the power of Facebook.

in Food Culture

[Illustrations] The Art of Saigon Street Food

There is a lot to love about Saigon street food.