Saigoneer

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.

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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.

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Hẻm Gems: Where Chay Alter Egos of Vietnam's Everyday Soups Reign

My first-ever vegetarian dish, long before I followed a plant-based diet, was hủ tiếu chay, and since then it has been my go-to order when trying a new restaurant. Besides, you definitely cannot go wrong with a Vietnamese soup dish.

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Hẻm Gems: One Family's Unexpected Outpost at the Foot of Langbiang

Lac Duong, a township 12 kilometers north of central Da Lat, isn't exactly a place where one would expect to find some international comfort.

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Hẻm Gems: Making Good Life Decisions With Midday Rice Wine and Hanoi Deep-Fried Food

The Subcommittee for Sustainable Fishing? The Office of Dipterocarp Record-Keeping? The Directorate of Synthetic Rubber Quality Control? Ride-Share Hygiene Board? It was difficult to assess who exactly our fellow lunch diners were. Were they filling their table with empty beer bottles to escape the monotony of work or fuel creative ideas for more efficiently managing the allocation of hand sanitizer for cable cars? Unclear. What was certain, however, was the Saigoneer team had scampered up Pasteur Street to enjoy a few glasses of rice wine accompanied by northern fare with the hopes that we’d return to the office not too buzzed to actively report on the nation’s latest developments in cracking down on illegal seahorse smuggling.

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Hẻm Gems: A Masterful Osaka-Style Okonomiyaki in Binh Thanh

An honest-to-god Japanese izakaya is a beautiful thing. Dark and smoky, often decked out in wood furnishings and yellowing travel posters, its flawless blend of bar and restaurant often involves nothing more than a simple countertop to indulge in ice-cold draft Sapporos and small-plate comfort dishes.

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Hẻm Gems: Mexican Simplicity and Zen-Like Tacos in D3

Tacos, and the many meat-and-tortilla variations we often categorize as ‘Mexican cuisine,’ are having a bit of a renaissance in Saigon.

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Hẻm Gems: Hear Us Out, Coconut Milk and Fish Sauce Are Actually Great Together

There are few problems and little mediocrity that can’t be improved with an unctuous ladle of coconut milk.

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Hẻm Gem: Spicy Phá Lấu Skewers Worth Suffering Traffic For

Saigon has a wonderful tropical climate with two seasons: dry and wet. As the cold weather approaches, chasing the blazing heat away, we all crave for some hot and steamy dishes to keep warm.

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Hẻm Gems: In a D1 Corner, a Heated Battle Between Yellow Noodles and Red Noodles

At the northernmost end of Saigon’s bustling District 1, the end of Hai Ba Trung Street leading to Phu Nhuan District is known best for heavy rush hour traffic. But a curious textbook case of an Asian phenomenon is underway around the corner on neighboring Tran Quang Khai Street: a noodle shop with red shirt-wearing staff just moved in...five meters away from a noodle shop with yellow shirt-wearing staff.

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Hẻm Gems: At Madam Oyster, Two Brothers Prove that Taiwanese Food Is More Than Just Milk Tea

Arguably one of the most underrated cuisines in Asia, Taiwanese fare has remained under the radar in Saigon for a long time, even though Taiwanese business owners were among the first foreign business arrivals after the enactment of Doi Moi in 1986. When one queries an average Vietnamese or foreigner about Taiwanese cuisine in Saigon, most answers likely revolve around items such as fried chicken, milk tea or castella cake (a sweet sponge cake of Japanese-Portuguese origin), reinforcing the cliché that Taiwanese snacks have a greater prominence than their mains.

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