The stories on the following pages are based on interviews with bar and restaurant owners operating in two suburbs of Vietnam’s two major cities.

The first, Thao Dien, in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2, has now become a destination, a hub for people going out to eat and drink. It’s taken almost 30 years to get to where it is now.


The second, West Lake in Hanoi’s Tay Ho area, has been on a gradual upward spiral since the road around the lake was completed about seven or eight years ago.


Yet, this is a story that starts many years before.


A Tale of Two Suburbs


In Thao Dien it commenced in the late 1980s when the petroleum giant, BP, moved its employees into the APSC Compound by the river. With the opening of two international schools, over time, more expats chose to move into the area. Then in 2005, Buddha Bar opened up. Not too long after, Mekong Merchant.


In Tay Ho it started with the gradual relocation of NGO workers and UN staff moving out to Xuan Dieu. In the early 2000s Vine Restaurant and Wine Bar opened its doors, while the United Nations International School (UNIS) relocated to a campus in nearby Ciputra. Then in 2009, Don’s Bistro burst onto the scene.


From humble beginnings to an eating and drinking scene that attracts people from other areas of the city, we give you Stories from The Strip, restaurant and bar stories from businesses in both these areas. Businesses located on Xuan Thuy and Thao Dien Streets in Saigon; Xuan Dieu and Quang An Streets in Hanoi.


It’s not all a process of ‘build it and they will come,’ though. As one restaurant owner told us, “It’s easy to open a restaurant, but it’s very difficult to keep it open.”


To read the other articles in this series, click on the following links:

Rarely do you get a tiny, street-side eatery that has made itself into a photo opportunity. But ...
Indian restaurants have had their place in Hanoi for many years, serving up all sorts of treats —
Eating Thai food in Vietnam in a street food setting just got easier with the opening of Thai ...
The concept behind MAD Society — Modern Asian Dining, is to take traditional Vietnamese dishes,
Established in Hong Kong back in 2013, and landing in Hanoi two years later, Linguini Fini ...
Tay Ho’s first dedicated sports pub, Republic, made its mark on the capital a few years back after
When Lubu opened just under five years ago, it was the only restaurant on the Lang Bao Chi end of
Some people go to extreme lengths to hire the right staff. In the case of Peter Holdsworth, ...
Chops is one of those success stories that restaurateurs dream about. Established in 2015 by
Revellers drinking at the recently opened Q Bar on Ngo Quang Huy will find themselves in an ...


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