Moving to Vietnam

Moving to Vietnam with my wife is an experience I have been preparing for, for more than a year. I thought about it briefly when we were dating, early on, and decided that if we ever got that far that it would be an amazing way to expand my experience of this world. Then we visited Vietnam a year ago and I fell in love with the food and the scenery and the feel of this place, at once both foreign and also very welcoming. Since we both wanted to be able to spend time working on her blog and to live in a place that allowed access to amazing ingredients, moving to Vietnam made a lot of sense for us.
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Impressions of Vietnamese Cuisine – Meet Thao-Nguyen Le

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Her name, Thao-Nguyen, means “prairie” in Vietnamese. Non-Vietnamese sometimes mistake her name as Thao but her name is properly Thao-Nguyen or Nguyen. I met Thao-Nguyen in New York three years ago, when I volunteered to teach in a Vietnamese language school in Manhattan where she worked as a co-director. We met at lunch to discuss the school curriculum but ended up talking mostly about Vietnamese cuisine and our love for cooking. Thao-Nguyen told me she hosted regular weekend dinners where she cooked traditional Vietnamese dishes for friends. Then she invited me to her bánh xèo party that Saturday. It was some of the best bánh xèo I’ve ever had in my life -no less delicious than the most authentic bánh xèo place in Southern Vietnam where the dish originated. It was hard to believe it was cooked in a small New York City apartment by an overseas Vietnamese who moved to America at the age of ten.
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A Saigon Office Apartment

And so we moved back to Vietnam in late June and Saigon was our first stop. On our first day there, we met up with my good friend Trong, who’s a copywriter and partner of an advertising agency. He took us to a small street noodle store where we had the best crab noodles in the world, then he asked if we wanted to have coffee at his office, which is an apartment in a small old building in downtown area.

I’d love to work in an office like his. It’s both traditionally Vietnamese and urban at the same time. Here are some pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about.

My grandfather used to have a couch like this back in the 80s.

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