HCMC Dining Guide

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Showing some love

As a form of media, blogging has always had plenty of critics. One of its biggest problems is that anyone with a computer and fingers to type with can set one up, resulting in millions of pages full of ranting, raving, and terrible writing. However, this easy accessibility is also one of the medium's greatest strengths - given the brutal nature of publishing, blogs allow truly talented people a chance to make their mark and be discovered, all by simply setting up their own page. Especially when it comes to living abroad, blogs have become one of the go-to forms of media for people looking for information on their potential new home, or for people already living there who want to see what others think about  a given city, country, etc.

There are a number of bloggers in Vietnam who I follow on a regular basis. Links to their pages can be found in the "My Blog List" box on the right, but I'd like to take a minute to highlight a few in particular.

1) The City That Never Sleeps In: Written by Tabitha, an Australian woman volunteering in Hanoi, this blog is probably my favorite from anywhere. One of the only blogs I've ever found that makes me laugh out loud with every post, Tabitha's deadly, dry sense of humor is a joy to read. She updates roughly once a week and has covered a wide range of topics on life in Vietnam's capital, including the experience of getting married Vietnamese-style. Her insights will resonate with any expat here, and even someone who has never been to Vietnam will enjoy what she has to say. Sadly Tabitha will be moving back to Australia soon, and she will leave a big hole in the Vietnamese blogosphere. Make sure you're not drinking anything while you read her posts, because you will probably end up spitting it out all over your screen once you start laughing.

2) HCMC Today: Alex, one of AsiaLIFE's photography interns, runs this picture-oriented blog. He has a keen eye and has captured some truly amazing moments on the bustling streets of Saigon. One of my favorites is the squirrel in this set from a couple weeks ago. Updated almost daily.

3) Our Man in Hanoi: Another blog from Saigon's misty northern sister, Our Man in Hanoi covers a wide range of topics on life in Vietnam's capital. The author has a Vietnamese wife, and there some interesting posts on visiting in-laws, etc. One of the most prominent blogs in the country.

4) SoJournaling Vietnam: Written by Kyle, a Vietnamese-American, this blog makes for an often entertaining read. Kyle and I are just about the same age, and he is a teacher, so we have a lot of similar views and have encountered some of the same pitfalls of life here. His blog is sometimes more personal than mine, and I find his insights and experiences as a Viet-Kieu fascinating. This post in particular, on the Vietnamese concept of who is Vietnamese and who isn't, is great reading.

5) Saigon Nezumi: Kevin, a former U.S. Marine, maintains this page that is simply packed with information. There are plenty of posts about trips around the area as well as tips on restaurant openings and Vietnam news.

6) Down the Street and Back Again: A completely food-centric blog written by a guy who is trying to eat 365 different Vietnamese dishes. Focuses on street food...proof that it is safe to eat on the street here, contrary to what many will say before you come over here.

7) Antidote to Burnout: One of my favorite blog names, this one is written by an American engineer who has relocated to Vietnam. A number of his posts focus on modern architecture and buildings design here in Saigon but don't worry, if that doesn't interest you there are plenty more topics that are covered.

There are a lot more blogs out there, and I didn't even include all of the ones linked on my blog list. Several of those were created by friends who don't post often, and I wanted to only include active blogs in this post. All of the sites above link to other blogs that I haven't listed here, so peruse as you wish and see what you can find.


  1. Just curious, have you met or social with some of these people especially the ones that are living in or near HCMC?

    BTW, have your family from America comes to VN to visit you yet? I wonder if they are worrying about you being so far away from home.

    We are reading your posts and some of posts from your blog lists. It is so fascinating and so additive. The world is definitely getting smaller and smaller. We are obtaining and exchanging informations without actually being there. So awesome ....thanks

    Take care.

  2. I've talked through e-mail and Twitter with a few, and I'm actually meeting the guy behind Saigon Nezumi today. We may have a Saigon blogger summit next month.

    My family hasn't been able to visit at all, mainly thanks to how expensive flights from the U.S. are. I'm sure they worry about me every now and then, but they've said that being able to read this blog comforts them a lot.

    Glad you enjoy all of the blogs, and thanks for commenting!

  3. Thanks for the mad props, Mike! Glad to see my post about HCMC didn't see me scrapped from your list. :)

    1. No problem! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, no matter how wrong they may be!

  4. Great to discover your blog today - The blogging community is surprisingly active in VN and some of the ones you have listed I have favourited to follow.

    Blogs seem to have become the number one source of information for expats in new countries... makes you wonder what we did in the pre-Internet world!!

    Thanks so much for including mine in your list, too!!

    Rob (www.SaigonRob.com)

    1. Yea I had no idea there were so many blogs here until I started looking a little harder a few weeks ago - definitely nice to see that there is a lot being written here. I agree that they've become the main source of information, probably because it comes straight from the horse's (or expats) mouth.

  5. Michael, thanks for your listing my blog as lucky number seven in your list above. You mention above that you and Kevin Miller Jr. might organize a Saigon Blogger Summit next month -- unfortunately I am going to have to be back in America all next month. I would enjoy meeting you and all my blogger friends here.
    -- Mel

    1. That would be great, if you'd like to meet up either before or after you're trip to the U.S. just send me an email!