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From gutter grub to gourmet tables. Noodlepie is a blog about scoff & swill in Saigon, Vietnam.

Last Build Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:19:50 +0200


More thoughts on Guardian Witness

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:19:50 +0200

A few of other points on Guardian Witness to add from earlier. Firstly on copyright and payment. From the FAQ, it appears Guardian Witness is quite keen on the syndication idea, but not so keen on saying outright that the witnesses would be paid, how much or exactly when. They might be paid "according to circumstances", Our Terms & Conditions also state that, by submitting content to us, you authorise the Guardian to allow third parties to use the content, and this may include re-distributing items of content on an individual or wholesale (i.e. as a content feed) basis. In...

A blast from a soupy past

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 15:54:42 +0200

I used to visit the Bun Mam stall in the picture above once per week for 5 or 6 years up until 2006. It was the single best soup I ever tasted in Vietnam. I've often wondered if the old lady, Ba Sau, was still there doling out her delicious muddy brown swamp. A few people have emailed over the years to ask where the stall is located. A few have even made it, and tried it, and liked it. However, I didn't have any photographic evidence of her continued existence until last week, when Brian Woo from Hong Kong...

The Guardian's citizen journalism boozer

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 12:09:15 +0200

There's a pub in Edinburgh where all the Hearts fans go to drink and natter before the match. It's the Hearts pub. Every football team has one. You'll never find a Hibs fan in the Hearts pub and you'll never find a Hearts fan in a Hibs pub. One day, someone had the bright idea of builidng a new pub. One for all football fans of all teams. A place where they could all come together, drink and natter before the game, the owner was disappointed that no-one came. The Guardian has just launched a user-generated content platform, "(It) will...

keeping in touch

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 09:49:01 +0100

When I first lived in Hanoi I had a regular Xe ôm driver. His name was Dương. He drove me on his ancient Honda 50cc all over the city over a period of months. I'd visted his home, had tea with his mother, we ocassionally shared Bia hơi together, he recommended street stalls for me and, most importantly, he knew my routine. I didn't need to book him, he always arrived on time, waiting there on the pavement ready to take me to work. Then one day, he didn't. The day after he didn't show up, I moved house, my...


Wed, 27 Mar 2013 15:39:06 +0100

I think I'm too messy a writer, make too many mistakes and alter too much as I go along to make working on paper my default option. Or maybe I just need to leave more space between each line? And use pencil? You do think slightly differently doing it this way. And the process of re-reading, editing and putting the words inside the computer probably makes the finished copy better. However, I'm yet to decisively swing one way or the other on this issue. The obvious benefit, of course, is that you don't get distracted by interesting web links on...

the famous ones

Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:41:41 +0100

Wherever you go to eat in Vietnam, you will soon learn about the "famous places" for this that and the other Vietnamese dish. In my limited experience, these famous places often become famously shit, through sheer laziness, complacency and an overdose of arrogance. Three lazy, past their prime cases in point in Hanoi: Phở Xào Phú Mỹ,45B Phố Bát Đàn Chả cá Lã Vọng, 14 Phố Chả Cá Bún Chả Hàng Mành, 1 Phố Hàng Mành I haven't been to Hanoi in ages and I'd love to be proven wrong on all of these. As far as I can tell,...

Digging up the Bun Cha

Tue, 26 Mar 2013 09:31:43 +0100

I was working on a short passage about a Bún chả encounter in the late nineties earlier this morning. I was reminded of a guide I wrote for myself and later distributed to friends and colleagues in Hanoi at the turn of the century (How old does that sound...) It was designed to help newbies in Hanoi choose where to go and eat. Here is the passage I wrote to introduce the ubiquitous Hanoi lunchtime marvel. You’ll find Bún chả served all over Hanoi from 11 am - 2pm(ish) lunchtime. Barbecue grilled pork balls in a spicy fish sauce with...

not so much as lifted a finger

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:05:29 +0100

There's one small scene I'm thinking of writing for the book. It's about when I decided to give up my job as a teacher and miraculously transform myself into someone who sold words and sometimes pictures for a living. It was over a post-work snackette, some time at the turn of 20th century, in the place above that I came to that decision. The picture was taken on a return visit in 2006. Take a good look at it. Now watch the very short video below filmed in the same place in 2013. Seven years later and the place has...

Iksan market panorama

Thu, 14 Mar 2013 13:40:20 +0100

The northern market in Iksan in Korea I like a good panoramic photograph. This one is of a market I visited, or at least strolled through, almost every day when I lived in the city of Iksan, South Korea. A rather embarassingly long time ago.