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» Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project

Sacked and Sorted /// BEN THANH MARKET
CINEMAS IN VIETNAM AS MUCH TOURIST AND SIGHTSEEING ATTRACTION, AS THEY ARE A PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE.

Stars of Vietnamese cinema near the tennis courts in the Cultural Park

Rạp is the Vietnamese word for "cinema". Go to the movies for as little as 60,000 Dong (250 Yen). 60,000 Dong seems to be the going price for adults to buy movie tickets at the modern cinemas in Ho Chi Minh City. That hardworking South Korean company Lotte controls much of the emerging cinema market in Vietnam.

Small cinema on the way to 3 Thang 4 Road in central Saigon

Bobby Brewer’s Movie Lounge 45 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 3610 2220. Email: info@bobbybrewers.com.
The cheapest movies in Saigon... actually they are free. For 55,000 Dong you can get a plate of calamari rings, vegetables and rice with popcorn and a Pepsi to complete the experience. At least one person has claimed the movies at Bobby Brewers are pirated, but that might be just a disaffected rumor. Back to back FREE movies all day long, the cinema is upstairs from the cafe. Start the day with Good Morning Vietnam! and The Killing Fields (the chronicle of genocide under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia). As well as Bui Vien, there are two Bobby Brewers with cinemas in Quarter 3.

Diamond Cinema Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 34 Le Duan Street , Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (map) +84.08.822.7897 Status: Open Screens: Triplex

Diamond Plaza viewed after rain in June 2010

Diamond Cinema opened in 2002. It is located on the 13th floor of Diamond Plaza, District 1, in Ho Chi Minh City. This theater is a joint venture between a South Korean film production and distribution company called Goodfellas and FAFILM Vietnam, the state-run film import and distribution monopoly. Goodfellas, which owns five multiplexes in South Korea, holds a 90 percent stake in the venture. The Diamond Cinema screens mainly English language films.
Vietnamese blockbusters seem to be the type of film shown at this popular downtown Saigon cinema

Galaxy Cinema 116 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: 3822 8533 www.galaxycine.vn All foreign releases are shown with Vietnamese subtitles at this large, modern theatre. Tickets are priced between VND30,000 and VND50,000. Lotte Mart Cinema Level 3, Lotte Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Q7 Tel: 3775 2521 www.lottecinemavn.com The second Lotte cinema is found in the enormous Lotte Mart mall in District 7. As with Megastar and Galaxy, Lotte Cinemas (including the Diamond Plaza screens) carry the newest Hollywood flicks with tickets starting at VND60 000. Check website for show times. Megastar Cinema 7th Floor, Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, Q5 Tel: 6222 0388 www.megastarmedia.net Recently opened cinema set in the largest shopping mall in Vietnam. Shows a mixture of movies in English and Vietnamese with subtitles five to six times per day on a number of screens. Check their website for movie listings, prices and details... Paragon Cinema Phu My Hung New City Center is a new urban area in District 7, Saigon, Vietnam. The new urban area covers an area of 600 ha, and unlike most disordered urban areas in the country, features good urban planning carried out by US/Japanese architecture company. Phu My Hung's urban design master plan received the 1997 American Institute of Architects Urban Design Award. The World Bank featured it as an example of a sustainable development project. The urban area is built in harmony with the surrounding areas, dominated by green trees, canals, and pools. There are c. 50,000 people living in the area. Aside from residential developments, companies such as Unilever and Manulife have also moved their Vietnam headquarters to this new city center. The Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center opened in Nov. 2008, followed by the Saigon Paragon Shopping Mall and Cinema. Phu My Hung New City Center was the first to be awarded with the "Model City" award by the Vietnam government. Phu My Hung is developed by a joint venture company between the city government and CT&D Group of Taiwan. Phu My Hung's founding chairman, Mr. Lawrence Ting, received the Friendship Medal from the Vietnamese government in December 2007. Phu My Hung has set a high standard for urban planning and development in Vietnam.

Đong Đa Cinema (not the one in Hanoi!)


Share Here you can get the beef phở with tai (fillet), chin (well done) and nam (fat brisket) cuts, phở with meatballs, phở with soft tendon beef cuts and tripe. Also on the menu is the underappreciated and delectable chicken phở, a soft and milky bowl indeed. You can even get phở without meat, which might appeal to vegetarians out there were it not for all the animal fat in the broth. All of these dishes should cost around 45,000 Dong. For 90,000 Dong you can go high class, and order the phở bo my (American beef noodles, with tenderloin cuts). On my last visit to a Phở 24 outlet in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City, just up from the river opposite the Sheraton, I opted for a basic beef soup.

The staff had to show me how to prune my greens correctly before dropping them into the soup, which goes to show how little I know about phở. The strange thing about Vietnam is that for such a poor country, they have such lousy skills in collecting (and enforcing) payment. It is like they don't even care about money. That could be because it is (at least nominally) a communist country, so employed staff have no real grasp of service in a capitalist style venture like a restaurant or bar...

Backpacker District: Pham Ngu Lao, Dist.1.

Pho 2000, fit for a President, Vietnam, 2010

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a lot of pizza on sale in the backpacker district of Ho Chi Minh City (Pham Ngu Lao ward). There is also a lot of Mexican food and Indian, but that don't mean it is any good. It is more expensive than the rest of the city too. The photo sitting right above was taken across the narrow lane from Le Pub. They also have pizza at the Boston Sports Bar at the end of the same narrow alley; they hit the spot but you have to deal with the staff hitting on you. That could be okay if you are a man and the staff member is a hot young female, but all I ended up with an amorous gay man. His name was Thong and he wouldn't leave me alone.
Pho 2000, fit for a President, Vietnam, 2010

This location, in District 1 near the backpacker area, was quite crowded. The food there was so so. Pho 24 is actually a much better restaurant."

Jon Dillingham does a pretty mean guide to the noodle shops of Ho Chi Minh, and regarding this particular chain he says: "Phở 5 Sao (224, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3, Tel: 930 1713) has a similar layout and design to Phở 24 but has expanded the menu to include 150 Italian dishes alongside dozens of other Vietnamese, pan-Asian and western foods. 39,000. Its 3 locations serve regular pho between VND20,000 and VND25,000 a bowl and they even deliver."

Pizza Roma: Stall 1004, Ben Thanh Market, Dist.1.

Vietnamese coffee dripping and ready to get iced, along with some of the add-ons for the pho bowl which was on its way.

Another recommendation from the godlike Noodlepie, this is one of three or four pho stalls in Ben Thanh Market. Said Noodlepie during one of his visits there: "I ordered the Phở Tai (Raw Beef noodle soup), the beansprouts were pre-thrown in for me, and a 2 leaf herb plate (Basil & Cilantro) was plonked stallside together with a dish of lemon slices and chili slivers. Ha's broth has Hanoian aspirations, but lacks those all important meat thick juices. However, Ha also gives you a nifty little sauce - a ready mixed oyster sauce and chili sauce number - and her soup needs it. Sauce added, your intestines can kick back, relax and enjoy. Without it this is second rate soup - great if you knocked it up yourself at home, but not what you expect from a professional purveyor on Vietnam's finest.
"This retails for 10,000VD. There's a decent market life view from Ha's stall and Banh cuon, Cha gio and Mi Quang are all within arms reach at neighbouring stalls, and can be ordered to your seat as required."

Phở Hoa: 260C Pasteur Street, Dist.1.
According to Saigon legend Noodlepie, this "is possibly the largest and most popular pho restaurant in Saigon. Probably the most popular in Vietnam, at least with southerners. Locals slurp in this two-storey institution alongside busloads of Asian package tourists, backpackers and expats. Downstairs tacky paintings of the family adorn one wall, a bonkers-big photo of a bamboo forest is pasted along the length of another wall. This place is always busy and cleaner and more expensive than yer average pho joint. Beware of the team of beggars, shoeshiners and sellers who stalk the front of this restaurant. Better to get a seat away from the front, out back, or upstairs if you want peaceful dining."
Take it from Noodlepie -- he knows his pho, he is the go.

A little pizza shack on the way to the monument of the Burning Monk

Ut Nhung: 109/7 Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, Dist.3.
Jon Dillingham from the What's On Guide to Ho Chi Minh City claims this is one of the best phở shacks in the city: "This tiny phở shack doesn't have a menu," he writes. "The little hole-in-the-wall doesn't even have tra da, drinks are supplied by neighboring vendors. All Ut Nhung does is make one kind of pho: phở bo tai nam (pho with rare beef and well-done beef flank). They serve one of the best versions of this dish in town for VND11,000. In a hem off Guitar Street where Districts 1, 3, 5 and 10 meet, Ut Nhung has no sign. Just look for the tiny house with a huge cauldron of broth tended to by a bald lady surrounded by hungry pho eaters.
"The broth here is extra fatty and marrow is served in your soup. The raw meat is healthy and red before thrown into your bowl. The taste of the rare beef is likely to be some of the freshest you'll ever have in a city.
"Pho in Vietnam is a lot like burgers and fries in America or fish and chips in the UK: hundreds of places do it well, but special places like Ut Nhung make it nearly perfect.
"Phở comparable to that sold by Ut Nhung is found at Phở Dau (288/M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3, Tel: 846 5866), where they dish up leaner meat and lighter soup. Not quite as hearty as the Nguyen Thien Thuat shack, the soup is still a very tasty, sweet and sour broth. The phở is served with parsley garnish, but no other additions are on the table. Itfs just beef noodle soup, straight. And it's good.
"Phở Dau has possibly the best pho location in town amidst some alleys where four hems meet and open up into a charming little square in the center of a city block. But the nice neighborhood has its price at VND24,000 to VND30,000 a bowl. The shop serves a selection of five pho bo choices: Tai (rare flank), nam (well-done flank), chin (well-done brisket), gau (beef fat) and gan (tendon)."
For the complete Jon Dillingham guide to the best phở shacks in Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City, click here.



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