Hip To Be Square

Conquering Novotel Saigon Centre’s Seafood Buffet There are two kinds of people in life—those who plan and those who embrace the spontaneity of the unexpected. I fall into the first category and on a warm Friday evening, find myself mapping out a strategy to conquer the wonderfully formidable seafood buffet at The Square, Novotel Saigon Centre’s signature restaurant (167 Hai Ba Trung, D3). The Square

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Rice is Life

Highlighting the pure, delicious simplicity of rice and comfort food In Vietnam, rice is life. Even a map of one of the world’s top rice-exporting countries looks like two rice baskets hung on a long pole, anchored by the rice-growing regions of the Red River Delta in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south. Much more than a staple, a Vietnamese meal

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Luxury Lunches

The perfect excuse to skip work and while away a Saigon afternoon For any foodies in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll definitely want to check out Saigon Kitchen located in the beautiful Hôtel des Arts Saigon (76-78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3; www.hoteldesartssaigon.com). Saigon Kitchen focuses on serving authentic, high quality dishes in an upscale, yet cozy atmosphere. Shortly after arriving I realized that this

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Hanoi, Haiphong in Hong Kong

In search of the flavors of Vietnam within the bright lights of Hong Kong You’ll find little Saigons and Little Hanois all over the US, Europe, Australia and Singapore, but not in Hong Kong. A punishing immigration policy that favors those who will contribute significantly to the economy, coupled with the lack of space mean that the Vietnamese who came to Hong Kong were somewhat

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Hybrid Haven

Saigon’s newest restaurant dishes up the best blend of French and Vietnamese cuisines Local childhood friends Phuong and Long have teamed up to introduce Saigon’s latest fine dining restaurant The Haven (37A Tran Khanh Du, D1), an experimental French/Vietnamese fusion venue inspired just as much by Long’s former experiences at Stoker’s (where he studied under Head Chef Julien Thibault) as it is by the

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Buon Appetito

Come for the wood-fired pizza, stay for the barbecue ribs and wings Italiani’s Han Thuyen (17 Han Thuyen, D1) is just a short walk from the tourist and selfie mecca of Notre Dame. The un-prepossessing exterior belies an achingly cool interior—the bare brick cladding, exposed lightbulbs and a smattering of faux-pop-art posters, coupled with a ‘lounge’ bedecked with slatted mirrors is reminiscent of a NYC

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Crazy for Crustaceans

Outbound to District 11 for possibly Saigon’s biggest and most succulent lobsterfest It takes a lot to drag cuisine lovers out of their comfort zones and steer them toward venues far from the central districts, but sometimes that long Uber ride across town is richly rewarded. This is one of those times and places— out in one of the more

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Dine by the Waterside

A rustic riverside restaurant that majors in delicious Vietnamese barbecue. Perched conveniently on the northeastern shore of the Thao Dien peninsula, The River Restaurant (199 Nguyen Van Huong, D2) is District 2’s newest Vietnamese riverside eatery. With a fully-stocked bar and an expansive menu of Vietnamese classics (along with some new favorites), The River Restaurant is

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Northern Comfort Food

Rice Fields brings regional Red River Delta dishes to Saigon Across the street from Bitexco Tower, up two flights of stairs and behind a curtain of hanging beads is Rice Fields – Homecooked Vietnamese Cuisine (75-77 Ho Tung Mau, D1). Here, in the heart of the city, hides a peaceful countryside oasis complete with murals of pre-1975 Vietnam and bordered by literal

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A Gesture of Goodwill

Blanc’s hearing impaired staff combine gestures with gastronomy I usually bristle when my requests directed at Vietnamese service staff fall on deaf ears, but for once, I don’t mind. I’m at Blanc, the five-month old restaurant that features almost all hearing-impaired waiters. Co-owned by Vu Anh Tu and Germ Doornbos, the proprietors of Noir, Dining in the Dark (the two restaurants share the same entrance

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