Thi Nguyễn

in Snack Attack

A Tale of Two Fruits: The Colonial History of Durian and Mangosteen

Although both durian and mangosteen are native to Southeast Asia, their reputation — especially from a western point of view — leads two very contrasting fates: the latter is considered a luscious delicacy while the former usually finds itself at the center of many insult-throwing contests.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: At Sakaba Sasuke Izakaya, Happiness Is Wrapped in Pork Belly and Grilled

It took a few visits before I noticed that the music at Sakaba Sasuke was always the same.

in Food Culture

From Won to Đồng, Bánh Đồng Xu Offers a Slice of Nostalgia in the Digital Age

There was a time when I substituted meals with bánh đồng xu.

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Sip on Mugwort Lattes, Make Ceramics, and Unwind at Haru Cottage

“I’m basically Demi Moore from Ghost,” this intrusive thought plagued my mind occasionally during our visit to Haru Cottage to participate in the cafe’s ceramic class.

Khôi Phạm

in Food Culture

What to See, Taste, and Do on a Late-Afternoon Walk in Phú Mỹ Hưng

There are probably Saigoneers who will grow old without ever setting foot in Phú Mỹ Hưng, just like how several of my relatives living in District 8 have never visited Nguyễn Huệ Walking Street. Having grown up in the southern district too, I’ve gone three decades without visiting Cần Giờ or District 12, though our proximity with District 7 means I’ve gotten a few chances to get to know Phú Mỹ Hưng.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Bingsu, Folk Crafts, and Hanboks at Hanoi's Hayoon Cafe

“What inspired you to open a Korean cafe?” I ask Giang, the manager of Hayoon Cafe in Nam Từ Liêm, a popular Korean district in Hanoi.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: At D7's Tía Tô, Home-Cooked Korean Comfort Food for the World-Weary

Growing up in South Korea's extremely competitive and high-stress education system, combined with strict Asian parenting, my relationship with my parents has never been easy.

Back Eat & Drink

in Food Culture

[Video] President Obama and Anthony Bourdain Bond Over Bún Chả in Hanoi

After just 24 hours in Vietnam, the internet is jam-packed with thousands of photos and videos documenting American president Barack Obama's trip so far. Though there are plenty of gems from whic...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

[Video] Hẻm Gems: D5’s Glorious Goat Curry

One of the benefits or writing this column is that it allows us to sample some of Saigon’s best local eateries. We may be well versed in the ways of street noshing, but once in a blue moon, we come ac...

in Eat & Drink

Why MSG Isn't Actually Bad for You

For decades, much of the western world has been skeptical of monosodium glutamate (MSG), better known as Ajinomoto to Vietnamese. However, as research has suggested time and again, there is actually n...

in Food Culture

KFC Releases Chicken-Flavored Edible Nailpolish

At long last, KFC has answered the call of your mid-afternoon snack cravings.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Saigon's Sủi Cảo Street

Saigon is, in essence, a giant food court. From District 1 to Binh Chanh, the city streets are pretty much a macro version of the cooked food section at your local market, spread out over miles of une...

in Food Culture

[Video] Korea's Foodporn Obsession Now Involves Cats

By now, you've probably heard tell of South Korea's considerable muk bang viewership. This unusual online craze, in which nationally famous foodporn stars can earn thousands of dollars a month by stuf...

in Food Culture

[Video] American Celebrities Try Durian on Live TV

Durian is a pretty polarizing topic. Either you have grown to love the thick, garbage-scented flesh of this Asian delight or you are nauseated by the thick, garbage-scented flesh of this Asian delight...

in Food Culture

Phở: The Next Great International Dish?

As Vietnam's culinary ambassador to the world, phở is a soup which needs no introduction. Some of us grew up with it, slurping the noodles for breakfast or breathing in its steamy aromas whe...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Saigon's Street Food Unicorn

Not only are unicorns real, they are edible. In fact, these beauties are an animal of such mythic deliciousness that you should count yourself lucky to even catch a glimpse of one, much less feast on ...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

[Video] Hẻm Gems: D5's Drop-Dead Delicious Xôi Mặn

Saigon street food tastes best when the whole experience feels like a secret. Head to some of the city's most successful street carts and there are no place names or proper business hours, no phone nu...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Eat Your Way Through Nguyen Hue's Secret Street Food Alley

Nguyen Hue's heritage has been badly degraded over the years. Thanks to the city's neverending development, its older buildings have either been torn down, used as air-conditioning unit pedestals or t...

in Food Culture

South Korea Just Opened Its First Insect Restaurant

Next time you're craving a healthy, protein-rich meal, don't reach for the read meat. Instead, curb you hunger with a helping of bugs.

in Food Culture

[Video] The True Story of 3 Bros and a Bánh Xèo Taco

For all the magic involved in Vietnamese cuisine, it's surprising how few of the country's dishes have made it abroad. Of course, you'll have no trouble finding foreigners who love phở or appreciate t...

in Food Culture

Chinese Restaurants Fire Incompetent Robot Staff

While human waitstaff are sometimes a disappointment – they forget your order, they punch in late, they expect a tip – three restaurants in China are finding out that our machine friends aren't necess...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: A Perfect Saigon Breakfast

Most days, I roll out of bed 15 minutes after my alarm has stopped ringing, stumble downstairs, brush my teeth and leave the house just in time to grab my morning dose of caffeine before heading to th...

in Food Culture

Cup Noodle to Release 'Luxury' Shark Fin, Softshell Turtle Flavors in Japan

For only the classiest of junk food consumers, Cup Noodle is rolling out a “premium” line of instant noodles.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: On Eating (Chicken) Ass

Let’s play a game. I tell you a word and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Here goes: chicken.

Brian Letwin

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

[Video] Hẻm Gems: D4’s Supreme Street Sushi

There’s no shortage of solid international fare in Saigon. From Italian to Japanese, Indian to Korean, local diners are well covered. However, since most options in this category are relegated to indo...

in Food Culture

The Shitty Reality Behind Civet-Poop Coffee

We love a good cup of civet-poop coffee just as much as the next person, but maybe it's time to let go.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

[Video] Hẻm Gems: D1's Not-So-Secret Snail-Grilling Operation

At first glance, Oc Dao looks like a factory. A giant, secret snail-grilling operation tucked behind several twists and turns along a narrow downtown alley, where plates of fresh crustaceans are churn...