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Khôi Phạm

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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...

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Hẻm Gems: A Thai Feast on a Hẻm Pavement, With Vietnamese Fusion Twists

While Thailand and Vietnam have long been perpetual rivals in the football arena, at this streetside Hẻm Gem, the two cultures forge a harmonious relationship.

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Hẻm Gems: Hide From the Monsoon Rain at Đặng Thị Nhu's Lost & Found Cafe

Lost & Found Café is a newly opened sister establishment to the popular Lost & Found Bar. Both adopt a pre-1975 Saigon vibe that I, as a Gen-Z Saigoneer who is nostalgic for old Saigon, immediate...

Khôi Phạm

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Hẻm Gems: 60 Years of Guangdong-Style Chinese Food at Chợ Cũ's Chuyên Ký

Besides being the “it” place to obtain imported goods, Saigon’s chợ cũ, or Old Market, is also a treasure trove of hidden eateries.

Khôi Phạm

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Hẻm Gems: Eggs? On My Bánh Cuốn? It's More Likely Than You Think.

The simplicity of an egg is an underrated beauty that we often take for granted.

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Hẻm Gems: Just a Short Walk From Bến Thành, a Hearty Bún Chả for Lunch

In his essay collection Hà Nội 36 Phố Phường (The 36 Streets of Hanoi), Thạch Lam famously writes "Ngàn năm bửu vật đất Thăng Long / Bún chả là đây có phải không?" The couplet compares ...

Khôi Phạm

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: The Dream of the 2010s Is Alive at Pacey Cupcakes

Pick your favorite cupcake flavor; perhaps a pitcher of hot fragrant tea too. Ascend the dizzyingly steep flight of stairs. Mind your head. Tread gently on the wooden attic floor. There your friends a...

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Hẻm Gems: Cô Thủy and 25 Years of Breakfast Bò Né in D4

Historically, District 4 has been known for snail and barbecue restaurants. As a long-term resident, I suggest it should also be famous for having the most delicious bò né place as Bò Né Thanh Tuyền d...

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Hẻm Gems: In Warmth and Good Drinks, an Amiable Cafe's Spirit Lives On

How would you feel if everything about your favorite spot suddenly changed one day? Would the same attachment still stand? Those were the questions that popped into my head the afternoon I paid my vis...

Khoi Pham

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Hẻm Gems: Curry Shika and 12 Years of Making Memories in Saigon

Unlike a normal human, there is a chance that my body is not 70% water, but 70% curry; and a good 50% of that might actually be Japanese curry.

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Hẻm Gems: In Saigon, Go Mô Rứa for a Well-Crafted Huế Culinary Feast?

In the Huế dialect, mô rứa is a phrase one might encounter often in daily conversation. When a Huế resident asks “Mi đi mô rứa?” they might be wondering where you’re heading.

Khoi Pham

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Hẻm Gems: In D6, Oyster Omelette, Porridge and Bột Chiên for the Soul

“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster,” satirist Jonathan Swift wrote in the 1700s. Famously fearful of the now-prized bivalves, Swift eventually grew to appreciate their briny, ocean-forward es...

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Hẻm Gems: In the Mood for Lẩu? A Ngưu Offers Hong Kong Vibes and Tasty Bites.

I visit Tiệm Lẩu A Ngưu on a rare wintry Saturday evening in Saigon, the perfect occasion to fill one’s stomach with warm broth, noodles, and a host of other tasty accouterments.

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Hẻm Gems: One Bowl, Two Noodle Dishes, and Heaps of Hometown Glory

On the slope connecting Binh Thanh and Phu Nhuan districts lives a small pocket of Quang Nam culinary spirits — in the form of “two-in-one” noodles.

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Hẻm Gems: In a Converted Classroom Lives the Unique Open Space of Nhà Phạm

Having ventured into Saigon's food scene for a while, I have one guiding principle: the best spots are always the ones circulating via word of mouth. Quiet corners, culinary rarities and communities t...

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Hẻm Gems: 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.

Michael Tatarski

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Hẻm Gems: The Pandemic Kept Her in Vietnam, so She Opened a Thai Eatery

One of the joys of Saigon's F&B scene recently has been the expansion of international cuisine beyond the city center.

Khoi Pham

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Hẻm Gems: A Nasi Lemak in Saigon That Evokes Memories of Hawker Centers

As I gaze at the glorious eight-dish Malaysian banquet on our table at Makiucha, perfectly spaced by our photographer, popping with colors and wafting off aromas of rich spices, it becomes apparent to...

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Hẻm Gems: Xôi Khâu Nhục, the Cantonese Breakfast for Pork Belly Lovers

I first found out about khâu nhục where I find all my Saigon information: Facebook.

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Hẻm Gems: The Oldest Hủ Tiếu Bò Viên in Town

With only three dishes on the menu, this hủ tiếu spot has been running for more than five decades.