Now that the World Cup has finished, the world’s attention has left Brazil — but that’s no reason to forget the parts that don’t involve football, nationalism and ham-acting.

I’ve been trying to fix my life. Wake up at a regular time and exercise. Cut out the bad stuff. Eat better.

“I want to do a naked bike ride in Hanoi,” smiles Guim Valls Teruel.

As a westerner in Ho Chi Minh City it’s fairly easy to satisfy most food cravings: pizza, tacos, fish and chips, Sunday roast — you can even get late night McDonald’s. One cuisine that is lacking, though, is good ol’ fashioned American barbecue. Vietnam is fairly expert in grilled meats, but a rack of ribs smothered in barbecue sauce and accompanied by disgustingly unhealthy sides? That’s another beast entirely.

Once you enter through Ploughman’s Garden’s gate, you leave Vietnam. Or at least that’s how it feels. Tucked away in an alley, Ploughman’s Garden is easily missed, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from making the trek to District 2 in search of excellent vegetarian and vegan fare.

If you’ve got experience of dining overseas, you get used to people saying some dish or another is pretty good “...for Vietnam.” It’s easy to find varied and vibrant local food, but to worldly tastes the foreign cuisine scene could still use some improvement. Espy NY Style Pizza — Vietnam’s maybe-first pizza-by-the-slice restaurant — is helping that happen.

A new eatery is trying to bring its own version of healthy, home-cooked cuisine to Tay Ho. Our anonymous food writer checks it out. Photos by Francis Roux

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