On a quiet Hanoian street in an unassuming green restaurant, Giang Nguyen surveys her little diner from behind the serving hatch. She is the type of restaurant owner who loses sleep if a customer is less than satisfied. At May Taste (18C, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho), however, this rarely happens.

An interesting touch to the recently opened Spice Temple is that the whole ground floor is reserved for motorbike parking, which is rare in the golden area of Saigon. Just a few metres off Nguyen Hue walking street and set in a three-storey building, Spice Temple oozes modernity and elegance through the use of subtle lighting, high windows and wooden geometric wall decorations.

Sancho Cantina on Bui Vien in District 1 has given itself the tag of king of Mexicali food in Ho Chi Minh City since opening earlier this year. But if co-owner Calvin Bui has his way, Sancho’s will soon be the king of Mexicali food in all of Asia. They already make one of the best margaritas in Vietnam.

Located in a secluded alley in Tay Ho, this is an excellent place to chill out on a sunny afternoon while enjoying a Moroccan tajine or French flammekueche and a Brazilian coffee.

Miyama means ‘beautiful mountain’ in Japanese, and that’s perhaps the reason why this café is located at an ideal corner on floor three of Saigon Centre, where you can feast your eyes on busy Le Loi or on a sea of green from the trees on Pasteur.

 

At MAD House in District 7, the follow-up to the successful MAD House in District 2 started by Danish couple Camilla Bailey and Casper Gustafsen, the name of the game is simplicity. What they show is minimalist, but what it tells is know-how.

Pop-ups are becoming all the rage, and the particular style of eatery is likewise popular with the growing Vietnamese middle class. Combine the two, and what do you get?

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