Paul Christiansen

in Dishcovery

We Should Offer Gỏi Măng Cụt a Full-Time Position in Saigon's Food Scene

The mangosteen salad trend hit TikTok in 2023, creating a demand that led locals to quit their jobs and take on more lucra...

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.

Back Eat & Drink

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Xóm Hạ Hồi's 30-Year-Old Bún Thang Stands the Test of Time

If you peel through the peaceful residential areas around the Quang Trung and Trần Hưng Đạo crossroads, you might just chance upon Bún Thang 11 Hạ Hồi, a humble, household noodle spot.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Căng Tin Cafe, a Gateway to the Past for the City's New Youth

Hanoi’s café scene is saturated with cafés selling a vision of the past.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Blue Crab and Beer for a Bodacious Snack on the Hanoi Sidewalk

Of all seafood in Vietnam, ghẹ (blue crab) is among the most expensive. Even at wholesale markets, these crustaceans can fetch from VND300,000 to 400,000 a kilogram and any buffet deal that boasts the...

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: A Blissful Fish Feast at Bún Cá Sâm Cây Si

As hot as it gets, Hanoi’s scorching summer is no match for delightful fish rolls and refreshing sour soup.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Cozy up at Ẩn Cà Phê With Morning Coffees and Night Cocktails

In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai’s elegantly restrained movie about married lovers resisting adultery, offers up a delicious cocktail of emotions. At least, that is the concept behind the drinks men...

Paul Christiansen

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Cà Phê Sữa and Cơm Tấm With a Side of Espionage History

Kimchi is not a common cơm tấm accouterment. The extra helping of chili pepper heat, palate-cleansing bitterness and cabbage leaf crunch doesn't taste out of place beside a fully loaded plate of broke...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Tân Định's Tried-and-True Bánh Canh Cua for a Late Breakfast

Bánh canh, at times described as Vietnamese udon or even “mouse-tail noodles,” is a great mystery on its own. Etymologically speaking, bánh canh translates to “soup-cake,” and these thick, cylindrical...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: The Midnight Hủ Tiếu Only for Saigon's Most Patient Night Owls

As a Saigonese who has lived abroad for half of her life, I have a huge craving for hủ tiếu khô (dry noodles), my go-to breakfast meal and a dish my family always made sure to get on our way to my mot...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Tiệm Cơm Ninh Giang, a 'Secret' Hakka Feast Only for Those in the Know

I first heard about Tiệm Cơm Ninh Giang 寧江客家飯店  from some Hoa friends in the city.

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: From a Historic D5 Shophouse, An Duyên Serves up Tasty Chợ Lớn Classics

An Duyên Chợ Lớn transcends Chợ Lớn quán stereotypes of rustic mom-and-pops with rickety amenities to provide a comfortable dining experience, made memorable thanks to aesthetically pleasing décor and...

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Saigoneer's Picks of Saigon's 5 Best Cafes to Poop At

What brings you to coffee shops? Novelty beverages, mellow playlists, a feeling of home, proximity, or just simply convenience — all are valid attributes that have endeared me to many of my favorite c...

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: We Found Huế's Roast Pork Chè in Saigon, but It's Complicated.

When the parent ingredients are such top-tier performers in their respective categories, it’s natural to feel disappointed that the resulting combination is so subpar.

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: Okachan Shokudo, a Comforting Japanese ‘Cơm Bình Dân’ in Hanoi

If there is a restaurant that is the antithesis of the biting cold of Hanoi, it is Okachan Shokudo.

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Bún Bò Đà Nẵng Will Change How You Feel About Bún Bò in Saigon

Have you ever wondered who named our food? Oftentimes I do, and I daydream of traveling back in time to those monumental moments in the past when a famous dish or ingredient earned its title to slap s...

in Food Culture

Michelin to Release Vietnam Guide for Restaurants in Hanoi, Saigon Next Year

For the first time, Saigon and Hanoi eateries will be featured in a MICHELIN Guide in June 2023. 

in Vietnam Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: In Đà Nẵng, Dì Gái's Bún Chả Cá Is a Family Heirloom

Sometimes, for descendants of Central Vietnam, a bowl of steaming bún chả cá can even sooth the pain and misery of a storm-battered rainy season.

in Ănthology

A Singaporean-Vietnamese Couple Refreshes Hakka Offal Soup With Trứng Cuộn

When my mother, a native of Singapore’s oft-visited Chinatown, described a pork offal soup stall with meatballs that “tasted suspiciously like that vermicelli dish we had in Huế back in 2013,” I knew ...

in Hanoi Ngõ Nooks

Ngõ Nooks: The 'Tiny' Cafe That Contains Multitudes

Hidden down a quiet alley opposite the B-52 Victory Museum on Đội Cấn in Ba Đình District is the gateway to Tiny Cafe. Make sure you look carefully, as the sign is easily missed, and this isn’t somewh...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: A Cafe-Snack Bar Hybrid in Bình Thạnh Offers Portals to Japanese Nostalgia

Bình Thạnh’s Ward 19 is snuggled between Xô Viết Nghệ Tĩnh and Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh, creating a surprisingly quiet area just across from District 1. As a neighborhood, it offers an eclectic mix of local an...

Paul Christiansen

in Vietnam Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: In Đà Nẵng, Bánh Xèo Bà Dưỡng's Sauce Is Good Enough to Drink

The secret is the sauce. And the sauce is a secret. The owners of Đà Nẵng’s Bánh Xèo Bà Dưỡng refuse to reveal the recipe for the rich, meaty, and multi-faceted sauce that falls somewhere between hex ...