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      Don’t be shy to use our top 20 Vietnamese language phrases when visiting Vietnam. Vietnamese people are really friendly and will be very impressed if you can speak Vietnamese (even a little). As a traveler, you can use a combination of verbal and body language to communicate better.

      Vietnam boasts a plethora of delectable street foods, and it’s truly remarkable that Vietnamese banh mi is ranked as one of the world’s best. The diversity and creativity in crafting banh mi have given rise to a unique flavor profile, warmly embraced and supported by friends worldwide.

      Hidden behind sturdy brick walls and colorful window, each house is a living entity, and it is these houses that truly embody the spirit of Saigon’s Chinatown.

      One morning, feeling somewhat disheartened as I had been wandering without capturing a satisfying shot, I sat down to have a coffee and contemplated heading back home. By chance, I came across Mr. Tư, who was taking his puppy named Mimi out for coffee. The adorable enthusiasm of Mimi and the excitement on Mr. Tư’s face filled me with great joy.

      Exploring Dimsum is like peeling an onion; the deeper you delve, the more fascinating it becomes. Dimsum encapsulates history, tradition, essence, and the philosophical principles of the East in a timeless and delicious dish.

      Don’t be shy to use our top 20 Vietnamese language phrases when visiting Vietnam. Vietnamese people are really friendly and will be very impressed if you can speak Vietnamese (even a little). As a traveler, you can use a combination of verbal and body language to communicate better.

      Vietnam boasts a plethora of delectable street foods, and it’s truly remarkable that Vietnamese banh mi is ranked as one of the world’s best. The diversity and creativity in crafting banh mi have given rise to a unique flavor profile, warmly embraced and supported by friends worldwide.

      Hidden behind sturdy brick walls and colorful window, each house is a living entity, and it is these houses that truly embody the spirit of Saigon’s Chinatown.

      One morning, feeling somewhat disheartened as I had been wandering without capturing a satisfying shot, I sat down to have a coffee and contemplated heading back home. By chance, I came across Mr. Tư, who was taking his puppy named Mimi out for coffee. The adorable enthusiasm of Mimi and the excitement on Mr. Tư’s face filled me with great joy.

      Exploring Dimsum is like peeling an onion; the deeper you delve, the more fascinating it becomes. Dimsum encapsulates history, tradition, essence, and the philosophical principles of the East in a timeless and delicious dish.

      Author

      NGOC TRAN

      I am a creative director, photographer, culinary lover. I love what I do and do what I love, I believe that whatever I choose to do for work, it is like a calling in my heart, my chosen profession.

      Sài Gòn is more than 300 years old, and for the past 13 years, this city has been my second home. I am but a small individual among the throngs of people drawn here by the bustling rhythm and rapid development of the city, a city full of enticing work opportunities.

      Sài Gòn encompasses many of Vietnam’s superlatives, always generous to all. One of these superlatives is its gathering of regional and international cuisines—a hub of connections, trade, and tourism. Living here, I’ve gained precious friendships, built my own business in creative and production, and so much more... including two treasured four-legged friends originally from Phu Quoc Island, named Ginger and Sicular, who have become highlights of my life and never leave my side.

      Despite the busy schedule, I often enjoy waking up early, hitting the streets to capture moments just as the day begins to break. At this time, the air is filled with the scent of grilled meat from a cơm tấm (broken rice) stall, the rich aroma of simmering pho broth... I swiftly compose the frames that, in a bustling crowd, require anticipation, waiting for the right moment. But with a simple click, it’s done! And life requires food to fuel the interactive brain, so I seek out a plate of cơm tấm and a cup of coffee to embrace the essence of Saigon’s lifestyle and start a new day.

      Tet in Saigon, there’s often a sense of simplicity, an absence of extravagance, yet it creates moments filled with vibrant colors and joy. During Tet, Saigonese folks take the time to go out for traditional Lunar New Year activities, seldom getting too busy in the kitchen. However, the Tet feast continues to radiate deep and meaningful significance.

      Tet in Saigon, there’s often a sense of simplicity, an absence of extravagance, yet it creates moments filled with vibrant colors and joy. During Tet, Saigonese folks take the time to go out for traditional Lunar New Year activities, seldom getting too busy in the kitchen. However, the Tet feast continues to radiate deep and meaningful significance.

      INTRODUCTION

      Saigon is too many things. It is flocks of chortling engines and singing digital devices, it is glistening glass towers filled with classy venues and modern offices, and it is pastel-blue bedrooms cooled by a single rusted fan. It is a labyrinthine reimagining of the streets of Paris and a warren of tightly packed homes; it is as much tired elderly folks squatting on stools listening to chanting monks on YouTube as it is hormone-fueled youths modeling for their front-facing cameras while vacuuming boba pearl tea through thick fluorescent straws. Saigon is an urban jigsaw on a riverside wetland, it is a parade of cafés and shophouses, it is heat and swelter and all the delicious vapors of cooking, and for close to ten million people, it is home.

      Ngoc Tran’s photography and eye for beauty amid this maelstrom of detail – not to mention her penchant for all the fine and humble dishes that represent this city – serve as a unique guide to readers of Saigon: the Lifestyle & the Food. Those who (like Ngoc herself) have been based in Saigon for many years will see something of themselves on its pages, while newcomers will find themselves immersed in a landscape that stands defiantly between international culture and a forgotten time.

      Through her lens, Ngoc poignantly captures both the radiating energies and the private moments of Saigon life, the particular draw of its unique flavors and the enthusiasms of its people. If each photograph tells a story, then the stories they tell belong to a city that can never quite be contained, and of a taste that is always something fresh.

      Turning each page in this volume is to court temptation. For those who have yet to discover Saigon’s cuisines for themselves, Ngoc’s photography provides a visual exploration of its signature dishes that lie deliciously in wait. Beyond the food stands, they will observe the textures and hues of an extraordinary place that welcomes all visitors with surprises and contrasts that celebrate Saigon’s spirit – resilient, vibrant, and ever-evolving.

      Throughout Saigon: the Lifestyle & the Food, Ngoc Tran invites us into her world—her own daily journeys that gracefully bridge the gap between tradition and modernity, taking readers on a traveling and gastronomic adventure that is as rich and varied as the city itself. Her book is a doorway to experiencing Saigon with fresh eyes and a hungry heart.

      MICHAEL ARNOLD

      CEO & Executive Editor Mero Writers

      GUEST ARTISTS

      Artist. Đình Trung

      His talent will be featured impressively during the section on China Town where you will immediately recognize the drawing style of an architect, but the colors reveal the soul of an emotional artist, whom I am honored to introduce.

      Artist. Thanh Huỳnh

      As an independent artist, Thanh Huỳnh freely expresses her talent and passion through beautiful images, evoking the delicious flavors of exquisite dishes, much like the emotional stories you place into each stroke.

      GUEST ARTISTS

      Artist. Đình Trung

      His talent will be featured impressively during the section on China Town where you will immediately recognize the drawing style of an architect, but the colors reveal the soul of an emotional artist, whom I am honored to introduce.

      Artist. Thanh Huỳnh

      As an independent artist, Thanh Huỳnh freely expresses her talent and passion through beautiful images, evoking the delicious flavors of exquisite dishes, much like the emotional stories you place into each stroke.

      CONTENTS

      BANH MI SAIGON SAIGON MORNING COMBO SAIGON COFFEE RICE OR PHO DESSERT THE GREAT LOVE FISH SAUCE DRIED SHRIMP - DRIED SQUID - DRIED FISH WARP THE GREEN GREEN FOOD TO KEEP FIT STREET FOOD HAVING A NIGHT OUT AUTHENTIC SOUTHERN TET DISHES CITY BY MOTOBIKE INDOCHINE ARCHITECTURE SAIGON CHINA TOWN

      CONTENTS

      BANH MI SAIGON SAIGON MORNING COMBO SAIGON COFFEE RICE OR PHO DESSERT THE GREAT LOVE FISH SAUCE DRIED SHRIMP - DRIED SQUID - DRIED FISH WARP THE GREEN GREEN FOOD TO KEEP FIT STREET FOOD HAVING A NIGHT OUT AUTHENTIC SOUTHERN TET DISHES CITY BY MOTOBIKE INDOCHINE ARCHITECTURE SAIGON CHINA TOWN

      BANH MI, BANH MI Oi

      The call of banh mi vendors has become a melodic part of the old streets and alleys of Saigon. Steaming hot banh mi, wrapped in canvas bags and placed in bamboo baskets to maintain their crispness and warmth until they reach the last customer ...

      ART OF STREET DELIVERY

      In the vibrant marketplaces, when your desired dish is at one end and you’re sitting at the other, the helping hand of a food deliveryman becomes your savior. These delivery heroes are often the loving husbands or dedicated family members of the food vendors ...

      STARTING A NEW DAY

      Awakening from tranquil dreams, everyone yearns to linger a bit longer in the warm embrace of their bed before summoning their senses, still somewhat drowsy, with a miraculous cup of coffee to kickstart an inspired day...

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      VIETNAM THE LIFESTYLE & THE FOOD

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      VIETNAM THE LIFESTYLE & THE FOOD

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