Khôi Phạm

in Natural Selection

10 Species of Lesser-Known Fruits to Get to Know Vietnam's Biodiversity

In the Vietnamese language, the suffix “cỏ” — meaning “grass” in the literal sense — is often used to signify that something is locally grown, no frills, and charmingly rustic; grassroots, if you will. Chó cỏ is the general term for the adorable mutts, usually mixes between Vietnam’s native dog species, born without the prestige of named breeds, while gym cỏ and net cỏ denote the casual gyms and internet cafes in one’s neighborhood. In the same vein of logic, may I put forth a new name for a special genre of Vietnamese fruits: trái cỏ?

Khôi Phạm

in Natural Selection

Trái Thị: The Fruit of Heavenly Smell and Infernal Taste

If you had to pick a national smell that represents Vietnam, what would it be? There are a host of strong contenders: durian, lotus-scented green tea, fragrant pandan sticky rice, that enticing aroma of shallots crisping up in hot oil. It’s hard to say no to tasty things, but for me, that honor unequivocally belongs to trái thị, the golden apple of Vietnam.

in Ẽplain

A Brief Primer Into the History of K-Pop Chế in Vietnam

My middle school memories are often peppered with the honking voices of adolescents chanting some silly chorus about household cleaning.

in Development

Saigon Metro Line 1 Announces July Launch Date, Free Rides in Phase 1

Will 2024 be the auspicious year when our legs could finally step on the metro platform for the first time?

in Health

Sweating out My Sadness on the Canal's Exercise Machines

We're all unlucky in love sometimes. When I am, I go jogging. The body loses water when you jog, so you have none left for tears.

Paul Christiansen

in Environment

Charting the Flow of the Nhiêu Lộc Canal From Start to Historical Start

When I fall in love with an album, I seek out the artist's first mixtapes and demos. When I come to admire a poet, I hunt down their early poems and chapbooks. I even linger over the old highlight reels of my favorite football players' college games. Understanding where something starts allows me appreciate it more. So it is with the Nhiêu Lộc–Thị Nghè Canal.

Khôi Phạm

in Society

Nhiêu Lộc Canal Hosted Trudeau's Night Run. Why Is It Not as Famous as Obama's Bún Chả?

You know how much Vietnamese culture revolves around food by the fact that one of the first questions we pose to any foreign visitor is “What’s your favorite Vietnamese dish?” Asking about other aspects of the country could invite honest opinions that some of us might not be prepared to hear. Deep down, more than anybody else, we know that our air quality is subpar and our urban cleanliness leaves much to be desired, but our food is the one thing every Vietnamese can trust to make us proud. What easier way to foster diplomacy than to center the conversation around deliciousness?

in Architecture

In Hanoi, a Family Home Balances Commercial Hustle With Spiritual Haven

If many Vietnamese families often opt to reserve one room in their house plan for ancestor worship, this household in Hanoi decided to dedicate an entire backyard to their family altar.

Back Society

Brian Letwin

in Tech

Vietnam Delays Introduction of 4G Service

Even as Vietnam becomes increasing connected by mobile devices, don’t expect 4G service any time soon. According to Vietnam News, the government wants to maximize the existing investments made by...

in Tech

Asia's Social Media Boom

A macro-economic expert could view social media as a good economic development indicator. Social media fever is fading a bit in the US after the mini-bubble, encouraged by the highly criticized purcha...

Brian Letwin

in Development

Massive Changes Approved for Saigon's City Center

Sometimes wishes do come true. The city government has approved a plan that will completely redefine the layout and borders of Saigon's city center. The highlight of the plan will see the conversion o...

Brian Letwin

in Development

As Thu Thiem Stalls, City Rushes to Lure Investors

Development of Thu Thiem was supposed to be the crown jewel of Saigon’s urban expansion. Since 1996, plans have been in place to turn this green swath of land, directly across from District 1, into th...

Brian Letwin

in Tech

"Fucking Ugly" Websites Plague Vietnam

Design is subjective; ‘good’ design changes by region, city and individual. Design elements that may seem antiquated to one, may be fresh or reinvented by another so we try not to judge - except when ...

Brian Letwin

in Health

Forget Motorbikes. Smoking is Vietnam's #1 Killer

No matter where you’re from, smoking cigarettes is a killer. While Vietnam has started to feel the effects of this long-ignored but serious public health issue, perhaps a recent report from the Ho Chi...

Brian Letwin

in Tech

Could This Vietnamese Startup Overtake Dropbox?

Dropbox has long been the biggest player in the cloud storage game, but this may soon change. Local startup, Kleii, has just secured its first round of seed funding and has its eyes on the internation...

Brian Letwin

in Tech

Apple Returns Millions of Substandard iPhones to Foxconn

According to sources in a China Business report, Apple has returned up to 8 million iPhones to manufacturer, Foxconn, on the grounds that they were not fit or sale. The gaffe could not only result in ...

Brian Letwin

in Development

The Ghost Town of Thu Thiem

As we’ve written about before, there are big plans to re-develop Thu Thiem into Saigon’s new business and finance center. For the last few years, the city has demolished entire neighborhoods to clear ...

Brian Letwin

in Tech

With $100 Million in the Bank, CocCoc Looks to Unseat Google in Vietnam

There’s no doubt that Google is the global leader in search engines, owning a 67.5% global market share. But if the tech behemoth has one 'chink in the armor', it’s the inability to effectively h...

Brian Letwin

in Development

Massive Transportation Plan for Saigon Revealed

We’ve heard a lot over the last few years about proposed improvements to Saigon’s transportation infrastructure. These include the new Long Thanh International Airport and expanding the city center in...

Brian Letwin

in Development

Pullman Saigon Center Tops Out

The concrete skeleton  at the corner of Tran Hung Dao and Nguyen Cu Trinh topped out just before Tet and is set to open later this year.

Brian Letwin

in Health

Organic Vietnam: A Step in the Right Direction

Organic produce has gained massive popularity in the West over the last few decades. Given the importance of agriculture in Vietnam – both from economic and health standpoints – there are those who ar...

Brian Letwin

in Development

Skyline Update: Eximbank Tower

Rendering of Eximbank Tower. Get ready for a major addition to the Saigon skyline – the Eximbank Tower. On December 17th, Eximbank announced the 40 story project, led by Turner and Nikken Sekkei desi...

Brian Letwin

in Development

Skyline Update: Eximbank Tower

Rendering of Eximbank Tower. Get ready for a major addition to the Saigon skyline – the Eximbank Tower. On December 17th, Eximbank announced the 40 story project, led by Turner and Nikken Sekkei desi...

Brian Letwin

in Development

As the City Stretches – Part 1 - The Pursuit of Sustainable Development

Over the past decade, Saigon has outgrown its traditional boundaries, forcing development not only vertically but horizontally. As the sky above District 1 becomes increasingly crowded and land scarce...

Brian Letwin

in Development

Power Players: Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectric plant. This is the first article in our series “Power Players” which examines the different paths Vietnam is pursuing to feed its power-thirsty cities and industrial centers.

Brian Letwin

in Development

Bringing Back the Green

Green bedroom. Source: New York Times The idea of “going green” is gaining popularity in our fair Vietnam, and while the government talks about it on a national level, there are plenty of good exampl...