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The First Annual Saigoneer Golden Plastic Stool Awards for Best Hẻm Gems

As the planet-wide dumpster fire that was 2018 comes to a close, we’d like to take a moment to look back at the year in Hẻm Gems through our first-ever Golden Plastic Stool Awards. These will honor some of our favorite local eateries from the past 12 months across four categories: Best Vietnamese Food, Best Non-Vietnamese Food, Best Ambiance and Best Cafe/Bar. We’ll also take a moment to honor our favorite Hẻm Gems that were shuttered this year.

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[Illustrations] From Street Snacks To Homecooked Meals, Vietnam's Diverse Cuisine Illustrated

While bánh mì or cơm tấm are considered quintessential Vietnamese dishes, bowls of homecooked cà ri gà (Vietnamese chicken curry) or thịt kho tàu (caramelized pork and eggs) are also central to the country's eating culture. 

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Polish-Vietnamese Student Becomes Latest Winner of MasterChef Poland

Following in the footstep of the previous winner of MasterChef US Christine Ha, a Polish-Vietnamese student recently won the top prize of Poland’s version of the cooking show.

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Vietnam Officially Designates December 12 the Day of Pho

Vietnam has officially marked every December 12 the Day of Pho in celebration of the nation's most well-known dish.

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Hẻm Gems: Mexican Simplicity and Zen-Like Tacos in D3

Tacos, and the many meat-and-tortilla variations we often categorize as ‘Mexican cuisine,’ are having a bit of a renaissance in Saigon.

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Hẻm Gems: At Thương Library, a Shrine to Leonard Cohen and How the Light Gets In

At the risk of appearing like a pretentious prig, I will begin this Hẻm Gem review with the introduction of a foreign word: the weirdly specific concept of smultronstället.

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Hẻm Gems: Hear Us Out, Coconut Milk and Fish Sauce Are Actually Great Together

There are few problems and little mediocrity that can’t be improved with an unctuous ladle of coconut milk.

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Hẻm Gem: Spicy Phá Lấu Skewers Worth Suffering Traffic For

Saigon has a wonderful tropical climate with two seasons: dry and wet. As the cold weather approaches, chasing the blazing heat away, we all crave for some hot and steamy dishes to keep warm.

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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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