Saigoneer

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.

Read more...

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 in March; and its national dish, injera.

Read more...

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, however, has very little to do with China’s rulers or dynastic history. Almost 3,000 kilometers away, one of Xian’s most popular street snacks has somehow found itself reborn in Saigon. 

Read more...

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

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

Read more...

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?' One boy replied, 'To get energy for the day.' Another said, 'The purpose of eating breakfast is to eat breakfast.' I think the second child is more correct.”

Read more...

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 northern fare and jug after jug of bia hơi.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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, humid morning in Saigon. Business has been brisk and she’s just served her final customer of the day with a generously filled bowl of bún măng chay (vegetarian vermicelli noodles with bamboo shoots). 

Read more...

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 like Japanese salmon roe, the egg deflates on my tongue with a distinct rich taste. The flavor of the protein is neither as pronounced as fish roe nor as unfathomably fatty as a coconut worm, but it’s without a doubt something unique.

Read more...

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 That Dam Street, to be more exact. This vegan Hẻm Gem is well-hidden (I lived in this building for three months before I first tried it!), but it’s easy to find your way back once you've discovered it.

Read more...

Hẻm Gems: A Bowl of Tripe Noodles That Takes You Straight to Hong Kong

In the public discourse surrounding beef and its culinary application, more often than not there’s barely any space for tripe.

Read more...

Video »

BUDX HCMC