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Hẻm Gems: Home-Cooked Taiwanese Comfort Food for a Cold Saigon Day

District 5, Saigon’s Chinatown, is full of delicious eateries serving Cantonese food. For something new, try Va Thanh, an unassuming restaurant with top-notch Taiwanese home-style cooking.

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Hẻm Gems: A Thai Raw Seafood Salad That Consolidates the Merits of Sauce

The first role I ever took in my home kitchen was to prepare sweet fish sauce with chili and garlic to pour over rice and noodles. As simple as this may sound, I still can’t master the art after years...

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Hẻm Gems: Bánh Đập Dập, an Indelible Reminder of Vietnam's Austere Eras

Although stories, photographs and artifacts may allow a child to visualize their parents’ childhood, these couriers of memory distinctively belong to the former generation and remain locked in the pas...

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Hẻm Gems: The 'Stink' of Bún Mắm Nêm Is My Childhood Aroma

Every time I depart from Vietnam to study abroad or travel, on the way to Tan Son Nhat International Airport I stop by the Bau Cat area in Tan Binh to stuff myself with at least two bowls of bún mắm n...

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Hẻm Gems: The Best Cao Lầu Outside of Hoi An Is in Tan Binh

Years ago, the first time I ate cao lầu, I committed a cardinal sin. As I gazed upon my freshly assembled bowl of noodles, without much thought, I asked the waitress for more sauce.

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Hẻm Gems: At D5's Sủi Cảo Đại Nương, a Song of Chives and Fire

One night after my meal at Sui Cao Dai Nuong, I find myself in a mystifying dream about chives.

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Hẻm Gems: The Crispy Duck Noodles for When You're Feeling Fancy

Right in the middle of frenetic hospital crowds, imposing pharmacies and peak-hour traffic, Hue Ky Mi Gia stands out, its indoor dining area seemingly unaffected by the commotion that’s going on just ...

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Hẻm Gems: Khoai Bistro Serves up a Mother Lode of Ribs and Breakfast Skillet

Praise be to those who bring the hearty wholesomeness of the breakfast skillet to every hour of the day.

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Hẻm Gems: The Unbearable Lightness of Eating Bò Lá Lốt Alone

There are certain activities that are best not undertaken alone: karaoke, barbeque, watching football and feasting on ốc. The consensus, however, is still out on bò nướng lá lốt mỡ chài, so I decided ...

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Hẻm Gems: Tasty Char Kway Teow and Sisig Where You Least Expect It

"They have bak kut teh. And what do you call that...Singaporean Hokkien fried noodles? The Korean businessmen go there for gatherings too," a friend told me during a casual chat at a craft beer joint ...

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Hẻm Gems: A Delicious Journey on the Caribbean Clipper at Jamaica Jamaica

By this stage of my life in Saigon, I'm not particularly surprised when an outpost of some unexpected cuisine appears in the unlikeliest of places.

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Hẻm Gems: At Sara Ethiopian, a Chicken Stew for the Soul

Before the existence of Sara Ethiopian Restaurant in Saigon, my knowledge about the African country could fit squarely in a child’s palm: its capital, Addis Ababa; the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash ...

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Hẻm Gems: An Ancient Chinese Meat Sandwich, 3,000km Away From Home

In the landlocked Chinese city of Xian, the legendary Terracotta Army of more than 8,000 soldiers with distinct facial features, weapons, chariots and horses finds their eternal home. This article, ho...

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Hẻm Gems: The Greasy Extravaganza of Deep-Fried Bột Chiên and Egg

Bột chiên is a familiar comfort food for many Vietnamese people.

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Hẻm Gems: It's a Pagoda, It's a Restaurant, It's Superb Vegetarian Food

The revered 92-year-old Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh sums up his teachings on food and the first meal of the day like this: “I asked some children, 'What is the purpose of eating breakfast...

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Hẻm Gems: For the Love of Hanoian Snacks and Streetside Iced Tea

During the day, the dining area at 89 Nguyen Du houses a bún bò restaurant, but once the afternoon comes to an end and the sun starts to set, the area turns into a boisterous nhậu spot filled with nor...

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Hẻm Gems: A Direct Flight to Taiwan Through Your Taste Buds

One of the great benefits Vietnam's budget airline boom is the ease with which Saigoneers can now travel directly to wonderful destinations like Japan and South Korea without breaking the bank.

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Hẻm Gems: The Comfort of Slurping Vegetarian Noodles on the Pavement

Tien, who’s been up since 4am, stops for a moment, lets out a small sigh of satisfaction and wipes the sweat from her brow with the well-used towel around her neck. It’s now 7:45am on another hot, hum...

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Hẻm Gems: Nhậu and Forming Friendships the Laotian Way in Saigon

“Here we go, I’m gonna do it,” I proclaim to a table of eight friends. On the tip of my chopsticks is a single ant egg, the “pearl of the forest” as some call it. Instead of ending in a dramatic burst...

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Hẻm Gems: Finding Your Path at a Downtown Vegan Buffet

Peaceful music that chimes with joy, monks that greet you with smiles, and a delectable donation-based vegan buffet — it's a little heaven on earth. Well, heaven underneath a derelict building on Ton ...