L'usine

Villa Song Unveils Tempting New Menu of Asian and Western Delicacies


Located on the banks of the Saigon River in Thao Dien, Villa Song is a world away from the perpetual chaos of downtown Saigon. Nothing is fenced off for metro construction, and you can walk around without getting run over by a motorbike.


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Hẻm Gems: Kickin' It at Kim Thao's Hột Vịt Lộn Hangout

In the thick of rainy season, afternoon snack spots are hard to come by. Street vendors make do with cement-weighted umbrellas and heavily used tarpaulin, carving out (relatively) dry patches on the sidewalk from which to operate, occasionally disrupted by a tide of rainwater rising to overtake their carts. For the most part, however, outdoor dining is not at its best in the monsoon months.

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Hẻm Gems: In Search of Saigon's Best Home-Cooked Char Kway Teow

Saigon’s street vendors are a special bunch. They come in various shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but all have one raison d'être: creating the most enticing and memorable dishes that leave patrons yearning for more after a visit.

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Hẻm Gems: The Bowl of Cao Lầu Worth a Run Across the City

Hoi An's cuisine makes a modest appearance in District 7's food paradise.

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Hẻm Gems: The D5 Beefsteak Joint That Means Business

There is no shortage of restaurants slinging beef-based dishes in Saigon, but every now and then one comes along and stands out from the pack.

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Hẻm Gems: Co Huoi and Her West-of-the-Border Delights

One of my favorite Saigon pastimes is wandering around strange neighborhoods. If you’re feeling lost or bored or lonely or just a little too comfortable, have someone drop you off in a district you don’t know and just walk around for a while. In this exercise, two things are guaranteed: 1) You will learn something new. 2) There will definitely be food.

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Hẻm Gems: The Life-Changing Beauty of Bánh Cuốn Trứng

If I have to drive eight kilometers across the city to get breakfast, it’d better be damn good.

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Hẻm Gems: Pasteur Street's Well-Hidden Cơm Trưa Mother Lode

Every once in a while, you come across a simple Vietnamese restaurant that absolutely blows you away.

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Hẻm Gems: On the Magic of Sidewalk Bánh Xèo

We rolled up to a lone bánh xèo cart on an empty, tree-lined sidewalk in District 1, not far from where DeciBel used to be. The traffic on Dien Bien Phu raced by at the far end of the street, but little else moved between the bland cement walls around us. Even by sidewalk eatery standards, the atmosphere was underwhelming.

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Hẻm Gems: D5's Bò Xào Sa Tế, a Feast for All the Senses

Saigon is changing at a dizzying rate, and so is its food scene: forget about your favorite café or restaurant for a few months and you can come back one day to find it replaced by a convenience store. Thankfully, such is not the case with this week’s Hẻm Gem, Nam Ky.

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Hẻm Gems: Quan 249’s Wondrous Cơm Chiên Emporium

It’s 6pm on a Thursday, and I’m up to my eyeballs in cơm chiên. Page after page, Quan 249’s excessively handled menu features a laundry list of fried rice combinations, some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. There are other options – a bit of mì xào, a smattering of hủ tiếu, but no other dish on the menu manages to take up so much space or venture quite so far into the realm of foreign cuisine.

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Hẻm Gems: To Chan's Noodle Soup Offers Comfort in a Bowl

If you turn up to a hủ tiếu spot anywhere in this city and there is not a hand-painted, wooden noodle cart taking up one corner of the venue, you may want to think twice about sitting down.

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