Brian Letwin

in Travel

The Quiet Calm of Hiding From the Heat Under Phan Rang's Grapevines

The punishing mid-day sun dictates the pace of life in the corridor between Phan Rang and Cam Ranh, where locals escape to their living rooms or hammocks, and tourists seek the cooling breeze of the beach, seafood restaurants or resort pools. Perhaps one of the most underrated ways to take refuge from the heat is to duck into one of the nearby grape vineyards where winding vines create a natural oasis.

Paul Christiansen

in Travel

The Curious Case of Quy Hoà Leprosy Colony's Park of Busts

A delightfully bizarre place, Quy Nhơn’s Quy Hoà leprosy colony deserves exploration in full , but clustered in a grove of...

in Music & Arts

A Visit to Vụn Art, Where Disabled Artisans Turn Fabric Scraps Into Artworks

Fabric scraps, often considered industrial waste, are “revived” by members of Vụn Art cooperative by turning them into intricate silk artworks.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

'Longings' Brings 22 Stories by Vietnamese Female Writers to the World

Where are all the female writers?

in Film & TV

Monotonous Viet-Dubbed K-Dramas Were the Soundtrack of My Childhood

When I was growing up, my family owned a broken TV whose screen would unexpectedly go black while the audio continued to play. Turning it off and on again a couple of times would fix the problem, but it was such a hassle that sometimes we just let it be. It was stationed in our dining room, and my parents loved putting on Korean dramas when we were eating. So whenever I reminisce about my childhood, the sound of dubbed K-dramas always plays the background.

in Film & TV

On Returning to K-Drama, the Glue Bringing My Mom and Me Close Together

Before Squid Game became an international phenomenon and put K-dramas on the world map, audiences in Asian countries including Vietnam were enthralled by Boys Over Flowers, The Medical Brothers, Terms of Endearment, Dae Jang Geum — all of which are classics that we still look upon with nostalgic affection.

Khôi Phạm

in Rewind

For a Horror Film About an Ageless Portrait, 'Mười' Hasn't Aged Well

It’s undeniable that Mười: The Legend of a Portrait has left a lasting impression in the minds of a generation of Vietnamese, as the first collaboration between Vietnam and South Korea’s cinema industries. Watching this contemporary classic in 2024, however, made me realize that Mười has not aged well.

Back Arts & Culture

in Music & Arts

Local Illustrator Recreates Saigon's Convenience Stores as Adorable Cartoon Houses

In the early 2010s, convenience stores emerged as an affordable alternative for Vietnamese youths, especially those with limited disposable income, to chill. A decade later, the widespread mushrooming...

in Literature

Viet Thanh Nguyen Memoir 'A Man of Two Faces' Releases Today

A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial, the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen arrives from Grove City Press on October 3. 

in Music & Arts

How Richie Fawcett's Saigon Sketches Illuminate a Decade of Change

It’s been hidden right there in the heart of Saigon for over half a decade. 

in Culture

Phan Thiết's Vibrant Whale Worship Festival Reflects Vietnam's Rich Animist Traditions

Whale worship started from a folk belief harbored by fishermen seeking help from the gods to endure the arduous days spent at sea, but over time, it grew to become one of the most prominent spiritual ...

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

Shrimp Fishing in Thanh Đa Is Fun Even When You Don't Catch Anything

If it weren’t for shrimps, developing taste buds would have been an outrageous waste of evolutionary time and resources. Truly, without the potential for boiled, grilled, fried, baked or even raw shri...

Khôi Phạm

in Film & TV

Review: 'Bến Phà Xác Sống' Is the 2nd-Worst Movie I've Ever Watched. I'm Sad It's Over.

The day when the Saigoneer team organized a little get-together to watch Bến Phà Xác Sống in the cinema, I was running seriously late.

in Culture

On the Hunt for One-of-a-Kind Treasures in Saigon's Thriving Thrift Shops

In the summer of 2021, Hương Nguyễn decided to pivot away from her office job and launch an online thrift store called Vintage Hearts. She was motivated by how difficult it was to find clothing in Sai...

in Arts & Culture

Ocean Vuong Brings Vietnamese Text, Original Photos to Helmut Lang Collection

Peter Do, the recently named Creative Director of the storied fashion brand Helmut Lang, enlisted writer Ocean Vuong to provide text and photos for his debut collection.

Paul Christiansen

in Music & Arts

In Huế, an Interdisciplinary Exhibition Opens Literal and Metaphorical Doors

“I cannot stop opening doors,” Phan Lê Hà said in regard to the physical objects that reappear throughout her creative works.

in Culture

The Artist Preserving Saigon's Cultural Tapestry Through Hand-Painted Signs

"In the early 2000s, the market experienced an exodus of painters due to the shift to digital; it was difficult to retain customers otherwise. I didn't want my craft to be forgotten, so I started ever...

in Film & TV

Review: ‘Bên Trong Vỏ Kén Vàng’ Is a Soul-Searching Mission in the Lâm Đồng Mist

On the pastures of slow cinema where Andrei Tarkovsky, Tsai Ming-liang and Theo Angelopoulos reside, Phạm Thiên Ân's debut feature, Bên Trong Vỏ Kén Vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell), has made its...

in Music & Arts

A Mosaic of Vietnam's Landscapes Through the Windows of the North-South Train

Traveling on the Reunification Express from Saigon to Hanoi feels like a ride through history and time.

Khôi Phạm

in Rewind

1735 Km, the 2005 Road Trip Romcom That Could Have Been

In 2005, I was in middle school. I had never had a cellphone nor known what the internet was — our home didn’t have ADSL until ninth grade. Life as a fledgling pupil in Saigon revolved around homework...

Paul Christiansen

in Literature

In Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai's New Novel, Saigon's Rhythms Hum in the Background

“I’m always homesick for Vietnam. To write is to return home. That's why I had to bring Vietnam alive onto the pages. I had to hear the people speak, I had to listen to the music, to the language; I h...

in Culture

An Homage to Rastaclat, the Coolest Bracelets of Our High School Years

During my teenage years when a lot of us were trying new things, I can remember certain trending items affected our lifestyle. For me, amongst the most memorable was the Hypebeast culture that ca...

in Film & TV

Cannes Caméra D'or Winner 'Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell' to Hit Vietnam Theaters in August

Following its win at the latest Cannes Film Festival, Bên Trong Vỏ Kén Vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell) will officially premiere in theaters across Vietnam next month.

in Ton-sur-Ton

Chiecquanque Breathes Life Into Patchwork to Create Unique Handmade Clothing

Chiecquanque is an independent fashion brand presenting clothing items, backpacks and bags that were handcrafted. Each item that the store carries is a one-off creation that exists on its own due to t...

Khôi Phạm

in Film & TV

A (Non-Exhaustive) Ranking of 10 Vietnamese Queer Movies in History

How would you define a “queer” film?

in Music & Arts

Ukiyo Concert to Bring Iconic Scores of Makoto Shinkai Movies to Life This July

This month, fans of Japanese auteur Makoto Shinkai will have a rare opportunity to watch the soundtracks of his hit movies come alive during three concerts in Saigon and Hanoi.

Paul Christiansen

in Culture

Vignette: How Bình Định's Nón Ngựa Gave Me Hope for the Tourism Industry

In 1964, when Đỗ Văn Lan was only 14 years old, a group of American soldiers spent six months at his family’s Bình Định home learning how to make nón ngựa. Once he learned that I am American, he told ...