Over the month-long fast of Ramadan, life takes on a certain rhythm for those who observe. Words by Ed Weinberg, photos by Kyle Phanroy
I’ve been known to ‘wing it’ from time to time, but even this one had me scratching my head a bit. Do we make this a typical “who’s got the best wings?” write-up, or do we make it a little bit more competitive — and nationalistic? Nothing like national pride to get tongues wagging.
Monosodium glutamate is used extensively in Vietnamese cuisine. But is it really all that bad for you? Words by Nick Ross
Mankind has known of the connecting nature of food for millennia. For thousands of years we have held lavish banquets in honour of our victories, and feasts marking the most important dates on our calendars. Food connects us to one another, and in doing so it connects us to moments of love, passion and joy. It could even be said that food is love made manifest.
If last year’s market entry of Starbucks can be viewed as a prototype, then by the time you read this piece there will have been extraordinary queues outside McDonald’s. Using the Drive-Thru model to enter the Vietnamese market, images of motorbike logjams trailing back down Saigon’s Dien Bien Phu come to mind.
In Saigon, eating com tam is an obsession. The dish — bitty rice and barbecued pork with untold variations — can be found everywhere. Yet, this is a dish with such character that no place does it quite like the next.
So, time to leave the comfort zone and meet the many faces of this uniquely Saigonese stomach-filler.
When the beer house Vuvuzela opened up in April with its Hooters-style uniform for the female staff, it sparked a change in the city’s drinking culture. With a growing urge for professional workers to forge a scene of their own, a scene that falls somewhere in between top-end bars and street-side quan nhau, they spotted their opportunity.