Family Garden. Photo by Kyle Phanroy 

If you live in Saigon and are the complaining type, one of the things you’ve probably complained about, and with some justification, is the lack of green space in this city. It’s hardly a new debate.

Open since November 2014, North End first came into being as a village ‘providore’ of sorts, starting life supplying hungry Thao Dien expats with imported gourmet meats and produce.

In among the bustle of downtown Hoan Kiem lives Highway 4, an elegant yet laid-back setting with a knockout menu and an impressive selection of award-winning traditional rice liquors, all under the roof of a renovated French villa dating back to the 1950s; yellow brick with an inviting sign hanging over the door, nestled in green ivy.

Is “wannawaffle?" a rhetorical question? The obvious answer is, yes, of course I do. But the real question here is, what kind of waffle do you want? Chocolate, matcha, raisin? Do you want it covered in raspberry gelato or nutella or butterscotch sauce? Would you like it as a pizza? Maybe what we’re really being asked here is, do you want to waffle? Because it might take you a bit of waffling to decide on all these options.

Starting life as a café serving coffee, drinks and pastries, Eleven Café last year revamped itself as a dining destination by hiring a chef from a five-star hotel, promising vibrant, creative fusion cuisine.

Padma de Fleur is already known in town, and behind this name is the owner Quynh Anh, who has put her heart and soul into this flower shop. Her ambition has led her to move into a new sphere. Now she’s serving lunch — with style, of course.

Judging by their internet presence, you’d think Salmonoid was the work of an established restaurateur, with years of experience crafting culinary brands. “Homing like a salmon,” says their website; a motto with a more literal interpretation than I’d expected. Because it’s not some flashy commercial enterprise after all, but rather, a family passion project.

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