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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 litt...

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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...

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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 ...

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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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Hẻm Gems: D5's Glorious Com Tam Is the Perfect Drunk Food

Saigon is a city of a million cơm tấm carts, meaning it is easy to pick one at random and chow down. But some stand out from the crowd.

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Hẻm Gems: 60 Years of Guangdong-Style Chinese Food in Chợ Cũ

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

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Hẻm Gems: Anh Tư's Dreamy Grilled Chicken in Binh Thanh

Around the Saigoneer office I've become the go-to scribe when it comes to chicken-related Hẻm Gems. Therefore, when a friend described a Binh Thanh-based restaurant with dozens of chickens hanging abo...

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Hẻm Gems: An Excursion to Tan Dinh's Secret Bún Hideout

Life is slow in the jungle of hẻms that branches out from Dinh Cong Trang Street. Here, a bún establishment offers noodles of northern heritage using recipes handed down through generations of family....

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Hẻm Gems: The Balanced Beauty of Bacon and Fried Rice

Our dining experience at A Lung was remarkably simple: there was no turning back when we saw bacon on the menu.

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Hẻm Gems: Chicken Noodles in Phu Nhuan's Flower Neighborhood

Located deep in the heart of Phu Nhuan District’s “flower” neighborhood, Mi Ga Lua Hong offers up a solid addition to Saigon’s host of chicken-centric dishes: a fried chicken drumstick with dry, green...

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Hẻm Gems: Anh Hoai, Master of Italian Cuisine (and Awesome)

You should know before you visit his establishment that anh Hoai is a consummate professional.

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Hẻm Gems: An Expedition to D2's Hole-in-the-Wall Mexican Joint

On the modest patio in front of Simple Place, a charming little hole-in-the-wall in District 2, my Spanish coworker Victor launches into a stirring speech about tacos.

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Hẻm Gems: A Bún Bò Breakfast in D3

Tucked away in a narrow storefront along District 3’s Nguyen Thien Thuat is a mean bowl of breakfast bún bò Huế.

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Hẻm Gems: Cô Khanh's Vegetarian Banquet and a Trip Down Memory Lane

On days when the thought of biting into a slab of greasy fried pork fills your gut with mild disgust, Saigon’s scores of vegetarian eateries are exactly what you need to cleanse your palate.

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Hẻm Gems: Grilled Chicken With a Side of Jet Fuel

In the pantheon of great street food locations in Saigon, many of my favorite places to chow down can barely even be considered restaurants. Is there really a need for four walls and real furniture wh...

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Hẻm Gems: Beef and Booze at Lau Bo Co Thao

The alley where cô Thao has set up shop isn’t worth remembering. A high concrete wall runs down one side, reflecting the sun that’s sapping our energy on this hot, dusty Friday afternoon, while the ot...

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Hẻm Gems: Loriekot’s Filipino Fare in the Heart of Saigon

In Saigon, there are plenty of places you don’t see when you’re breezing by on a motorbike. If you are (hopefully) focused on the road ahead, the narrow shopfronts and modest quán lining most Saigon s...

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Hẻm Gems: A Perfect Plate of Cơm Trưa by the River

In Saigon, cơm trưa is more than just a meal: it’s also a cultural trait, a community and, at times, a serious business, all wrapped up in a plate of freshly cooked rice and perfectly caramelized chun...

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Hẻm Gems: Lunch Hour Gone Rogue at Oc Thao

In the vast and complex world of Saigon street food, ốc is generally classified as a staple of the fourth meal: nhậu. Its various forms, whether doused in garlic, drizzled with mỡ hành or swimming in ...

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Saigoneer’s 5 Best Hẻm Gems of 2016

We’ve done a lot of eating this year.

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