in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Bud'mo, a Ukrainian Welcome as Warm as a Shot of Nastoyka

“O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself…You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we've no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, f*** your mother.”

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Café Slow Cultivates a Natural Habitat for Creature Comforts

It's incredibly challenging to set yourself apart in Ho Chi Minh City's overcaffeinated café scene. The city's narrow streets and hẻms are brimming with beans.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: The Secret Realm of Good Vibes Behind the Doors of Passengers Cafe

Like any person born after the year 1990, I am chronically affected by the condition of dawdling at a coffee shop for a supposed boost in productivity and “the vibes” when the clock strikes close to a due date.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Quán Ba Hí's Comfort Food Is Perfect for Eating Your Feelings Away

I've always found comfort food to be the most authentic passage to experience any type of global cuisine. Yet, when I try to find the word for it in my native tongue Vietnamese, the semantics just seem to fall flat.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: From Nam Định, a Piquant Bánh Đa With Golden Fried Fish

On Quán Thánh Street, a lovely couple enhances their hometown’s specialty, bánh đa cua, with a fishy touch. Adding fried fish to bánh đa cua is a rather uncommon combination, but it helps their restaurant stand out.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: The Peculiarity of a Coffee Sanctuary With No Menu and No Address

"SOLitude" — At first glance, the word conjures a sense of melancholic privateness in my ever-anxious soul. But not in a pessimistic way, fortunately.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: A Spicy Bún Lòng Cá From Hải Phòng That Takes Guts to Try

Út Hà Quán looks nothing like the kind of traditional Hanoi street food eatery that makes it to glossy magazines and world-famous food channels. There’s no grumpy grandma, no mold on the walls and no trash on the floor.

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Indonesia's Ayam Penyet Is a Smashing Celebration of Spices

The most straightforward definition by which to explain ayam penyet to the Vietnamese layperson is perhaps “cơm gà Indo.” It’s technically not wrong: the dish has rice and chicken, and originates from Indonesia. But once you've actually sunk your teeth into this special fried chicken, the translation seems unfairly reductive because ayam penyet is so much better than the sum of its parts.

Back Eat & Drink

in Food Culture

Ben Thanh is One of the World's Best Food Markets: USA Today

American newspaper, USA Today, just published their list of the "Best food markets around the world" in which Saigon's own Ben Thanh Market ranked 15th. Along with fake DVDs and tourist nik naks, the ...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

[Video] Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam

Gordon Ramsay isn't the only celebrity chef obsessed with Vietnam. But unlike Ramsay, New York chef, Anthony Bourdain, has a surprisingly close connection to Vietnam, cultivated over many visits since...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Video: The Perfect Cafe Sữa Nóng?

Yes, we know that Saigonese take their cafe sữa with đá (ice) and that the background music is from Thailand. Nonetheless, this playful video by food videographer, Eric Slatkin is well done and worth ...

in Food Culture

Free Food Tuesday 'Arancini' @ deciBel

It all started innocently enough. It was about 6 months ago when the deciBel guys and a group of friends, after complaining that it was often too complicated to match working schedules to arrange a di...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Video: Gordon Ramsay Explores Vietnam and its Cuisine

Gordon Ramsay has made it clear that Vietnamese cuisine is on the top of his list. His love was on full display in the most recent season of Master Chef US, where he tasked the final 5 contestants to ...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

London Restaurant Trademarks ‘Pho.’ Social Media Battle Ensues.

It may be hard to comprehend how a company can trademark a word as generic as ‘Pho.’ Apparently the British Intellectual Property Office disagrees as 6 years ago, they allowed a glitzy London chain, ‘...

in Food Culture

Free Barbecue Sunday @ Saigon Outcast

Sharing is in the air in Saigon and I like it, especially if the sharing in question is about food.  The crew at Saigon Outcast invites you on Sunday to a free BBQ (limited, first come first ser...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Vernissage @ Shop 100%

Shop 100% is a great new shop that just opened in D2. It prides itself on being able to trace the sources of its produce to ensure that they are 100% organic. In addition, they are supporting Vietname...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Snakes and Rats and Scorpions, Oh My! The Unique Offerings of the Mekong

During the typhoon season, the women of the West River hunt for bounty in the wildlife-filled swampland. For most of us urban dwellers, the idea of eating scorpion, rats and snakes probably isn’t on t...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Three of Saigon’s Oldest Banh Mi Shops

Banh mi has been an iconic Vietnamese staple since French colonization brought bread to the region in the 18th century. Though the French have come and gone (and come and gone again), the soft, airy b...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

A Look Inside a Saigon Rice Noodle Plant

Over the past month, the news has been full of reports about chemically-laced bun noodles. Though recent tests have shown a decrease in the cancer-causing additives, the issue is still top-of-mind fo...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Vietnam’s Development Through the Lens of Iron Chef

The Atlantic recently published a piece on Vietnam’s increasing development and westernization. Instead of looking at economic statistics and trends, they chose to examine this through the lens of one...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Can Coffee Save the Vietnamese Economy?

As inefficient state-owned business drag down Vietnam’s economy with bad debt, other sectors must pick up the slack. In times of economic stagnation, the country has one fallback - agriculture.

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Vietnam is Turning into a Country of Yogurt Addicts

At the rate yogurt is gaining popularity in Vietnam, it soon may be the preferred currency in the black market. According to VietnamNet, the Vietnamese yogurt market is expected to reach VN...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Phở-Flavored Cocktail Makes Its Debut. Seriously.

Pho is a universally adored dish (yes, even aliens love it), a melody of simple ingredients that yield abundantly complex flavors. Bottom line - it's goddamn delicious. So it's no surprise that people...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

For Foreigners, Eating in Vietnam not Always as Easy as it Looks

Vietnam is world renowned for its food, confirmed by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey who have dedicated entire TV specials to the country’s culinary soul. And for those of us who live ...

in Food Culture

Bugs & Flowers

On a typical day in Cai Lay District, about 90 KM outside Ho Chi Minh City, farmers toil in the field tending to their rice paddies. But today is special, and like any special day in Vietnam it will e...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Nuoc Mam: Ketchup’s Great-grandfather

Ketchup has an interesting lineage. Nuoc mam, or fish sauce, is a staple condiment in Asia where it has been used for hundreds of years. Its flavor-enhancing characteristics make it akin to ketchup i...

Brian Letwin

in Food Culture

Pho Real? Wassup Pham

Pho Life. When the masses of refugees from southern Vietnamese arrived to the US after the American War, they brought their traditions, music and food with them.