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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...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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...

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

Khoi Pham

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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 ...

Khoi Pham

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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.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: A Japanese-American Time-Warp on Binh Thanh’s Backstreets

Imagine a world where the 1950s never ended. Where Daddy-O’s race muscle cars all day and Peggy Sue’s dance the night away. Where it’s all one big small town of neon-lit diners and all-night gas stati...

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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 ...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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 ...

Michael Tatarski

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

Khoi Pham

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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: Hiding From Influencers in an Old-School Saigon Cafe

"Saigon in its golden age was a time to be remembered and passed down to younger generations. The vintage aesthetic trend in Vietnam has been around for a couple of years now and for me, it is a cause...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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...

Khoi Pham

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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...

Michael Tatarski

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

Paul Christiansen

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Hẻm Gems: On the Nguyen Du Sidewalk, Connoisseur Coffee at Pavement Prices

Contemporary coffee culture in Saigon is largely one of extremes. On one end, enthusiasts at trendy shops source, grow, roast and meticulously prepare some of the finest beans in the wo...

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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: In Saigon's First Shots Bar, Usain Bolt and Princess Peach in Test Tubes

Pham Ngu Lao Street, along with its sister street Bui Vien, has been known for almost two decades to foreigners as the perfect place to drink, bunk-in and conveniently repeat. In other words, a booze-...