It’s hard to do contemporary well in Hoi An, as the seventeenth century central region UNESCO recognized world heritage site positively reeks of the good old days, with schoolgirls floating by in white traditional ao dai on bicycles, merry jewel coloured lanterns hanging from roof eaves, and obligatory bas (grandmothers) hawking fruit from backbreaking carrying poles or selling local street food specialities worth dying for.
The news came to us early Thursday morning, the way news often does here on the bay — as scuttlebutt. But the news didn’t persist as rumor for long, and soon we knew the horrible truth: A tourist boat moored off Titov Island had sunk, drowning 12 passengers.
It’ll be some time before we know how this could have happened. News reports suggest the boat was listing in the evening, and that a plank ripped loose at five o’clock in the morning, flooding the hold and sinking the boat.
Following last week’s fatal sinking of a tourist junk in Halong Bay, the repercussions are now being felt. Currently no overnight cruises are allowed on the Bay, 2 of the ship’s crew have been arrested, and the local authority have announced that “We are going to examine the safety of all the tourist boats in Quang Ninh and Halong Bay after this accident”, which implies that such examinations have never previously taken place.
The name of bar reminds me of the late 70s and early 80s, when the Czech Babetta motorbike leisurely ran on the roads of Hanoi. At that time, only a rich family had enough money to buy these bikes, with the remainder making do with bicycles. Young men in white shirts and black trousers, a pretty girl bashfully leaned on this back, traveling down a road full of falling dracontomelum flowers. So the image of the Babetta belongs to nice memories past.
I try to find the answer for my curiosity why foreigners can live in Vietnam for more than ten years, and when I met him, Chef Didier Corlou, I got it
You are well known for hating being interviewed. Why is that?
Who said that? I don’t think it’s true. I don’t like interviews very much. I like to speak, to cook, to talk and … I like people follow my steps through the market, in the kitchen.
Can you speak Vietnamese?
Not very much but when I go to the market it’s OK.
Ian Paynton looks for everything luxurious during a 24-hour pit-stop visit in Hoi An. Photos by Aaron Joel Santos
An American-style steakhouse run by a couple of French foodies was always a mouthwatering prospect and so it has proved. Nick Ross pays homage to our newcomer of the year. New York Steakhouse. Photos by Quinn Ryan Mattingly and Khoa Tran.
Earlier in the year we ran a feature on New York Steakhouse. Here was a new 1940s-style Hollywood themed bistro and diner selling arguably some of the best steaks in Saigon and yet it was both set up and run by two French guys. It was an anomaly but it seemed to work.
With its cutting-edge line-up of mini movies from Vietnam and elsewhere, Future Shorts has established itself as one of city’s coolest events. Duncan Forgan talks to Sophie Hughes, the driving force behind the Saigon installment of the global film festival, about a momentous twelve months.
“Can we go inside where it’s cooler?” asks a flushed looking Sophie Hughes as she pulls up outside the restaurant in Binh Thanh District that both of us call our local. “I’ve been running around like a madwoman all day.”
Ngo Bau Chau’s groundbreaking work in the field of mathematics has elevated him to hero status in Vietnam this year. Duncan Forgan casts an admiring, if uncomprehending, eye over the academic’s achievements.
With his rimless glasses, standard issue haircut and quiet and meek demeanor, he is the antithesis of the glamour figures venerated by many young Vietnamese. Nevertheless, the elevation this year of Ngo Bau Chau to national hero is a heartening reminder that substance can still triumph over style.
It is hard to believe that nice cloth hangers, colourful plastic chairs and small dustpans are made from empty plastic bottles, worn-out plastic sandals, and broken toys. But almost anything with a recyclable use is being put back into action at Trieu Khuc village, Tan Trieu Commune, Thanh Tri district, Hanoi.