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Khoi Pham

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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...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Coconut Coffee and Banana Bread in a Quiet Corner of Thao Dien

Thao Dien is known to some as a quiet neighborhood, despite its ongoing development projects. Upscale restaurants and fancy cafes are plentiful, serving a range of gourmet food and drinks. Yet, in bet...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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 ...

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: When a Saigon Cafe Gets Its Hanoi Quirks Just Right

There are three H’s that best encompass Vietnam: Hanoi, the capital; Hue, the ancient capital; and Ho Chi Minh City, the economic center. While I am still struck by Hue’s vibrant culture, my memories ...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Authentic French Pastries in an Unexpected Part of Town

Perhaps a story not too unfamiliar to many: Tom Nguyen grew up in France as a French-Vietnamese. Any similarity in background with other Viet Kieu, however, ends rather quickly. About two years ago, N...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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 wr...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

Paul Christiansen

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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 exactl...

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: While the Day Away Under the Green Canopy of Cỏ Cafe

Under a thick canopy of verdant vines and minuscule pink flowers, it’s easy to indulge in the cooling comfort of a glass of iced tamarind juice and while the day away.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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 nothi...

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: A Bowl of Hanoi's Southern-Style Bún Bò in the South

Fabien from France and Trang from Hanoi led a very different life just a year ago. They were running a Vietnamese restaurant nearly 12,000 kilometers away from Saigon, in Morocco.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Lost in the Half-Childlike, Half-Adult World of 'The Little Prince'

Remember the tale about a little boy who travels planet to planet on a quest to discover and retrieve lessons about the adult world? This cafe is yet another untold chapter of that story.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: At Thương Library, a Shrine to Leonard Cohen and How the Light Gets In

At the risk of appearing like a pretentious prig, I will begin this Hẻm Gem review with the introduction of a foreign word: the weirdly specific concept of smultronstället.

Khoi Pham

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

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.

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gem: In D5, 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.

Michael Tatarski

in Saigon Hẻm Gems

Hẻm Gems: Come for the Architecture, Stay for the Architecture

In an age when seemingly every building in Saigon has been knocked down for redevelopment at least once, it's rare to be able to spend time in a truly unique architectural gem.

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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...

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Hẻm Gems: On the Road to Ruin, From Budapest to Binh Thanh

The southern edge of Binh Thanh is one of Saigon’s most fascinating areas. More cosmopolitan than the district would have you believe, its maze-like streets hold a heady mix of different influences. W...