Urbanist Hanoi

A History of Rice Wine, Part 1: Family Stills, Prohibition and Colonial Bloodshed

Fight or flight: to ball fists, rally rag-tag villagers clutching canes, staffs, shovels, sampan oars and bamboo staffs to ward off the bayonet-wielding officers invading your home intending to ransack your cabinets and storerooms, aiming to whisk you off to prison based on the scantest of evidence; or to scoop up your ceramic pot of illegal alcohol, slip out the back door and flee far into the rice fields, where you hide for hours until the rising moon signals safe passage home, hunched deep in the cold muck, shaded by growing stalks and comforted by cricket song. 

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Bánh Pía: The Dreamy Mooncake Alternative With a Side of Teochew History

From sweet treats such as yam paste, chè bạch quả (ginkgo soup) and bite-size pastries to savory staples such as lotus root soup, bánh củ cải (radish cake), cốn xại (pickles) and xá pấu (salted radish) eaten with rice congee, links to my family's Teochew roots were made and consumed through food, both in everyday life and during festive occasions. 

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Foreign Fast Food Chains Report Consecutive Financial Losses in Vietnam

Are foreign fast food brands falling out of favor among locals, or are there other reasons behind their losses?

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De-Shelling Vietnam’s Love of Eating Snails

Snails prove a divisive delicacy in many countries, but in Vietnam, they are perhaps more misunderstood, and arguably more refreshing, than anywhere else in the world.

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Seoul's Museum Kimchikan Takes Visitors Deep Into the World of Kimchi

In 1988, in the same year Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics, even though it had nothing to do with sports, kimchi shone on the international stage for the first time.

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Delving Into the Life Journey of Japanese Grandmas During World War II Through Home-Cooked Food

Grandma's Recipes is a 10-part Japanese documentary series that features the stories of ten different octogenarians and their relationship with cooking.

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The Wild, Wondrous History of Lychee

Treacherous rebels were amassing support in the outskirts while licentious interlopers lounged in teahouses and corruption lurked in every alleyway and courtyard in the capital. The 8th-century Tang Empire’s unparalleled prosperity could have continued for centuries but Emperor Xuanzong instead had allowed it to crumble. Incredibly, lychee fruits lie at the center of the story.

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[Video] Taiwan's Stinky Tofu Is Not a Dish for the Faint-Hearted

Like Southeast Asia’s slew of durian desserts, Taiwan’s stinky tofu dishes are an acquired taste.

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[Video] A Virtual Tour of Malaysia's Top-Notch Durian Plantation

Most people around here are familiar with the durian fruit and its unique smell; however, not many have actually been to a durian plantation.

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Opinion: Anthony Bourdain Made Me Proud to Be Vietnamese-American

I landed Friday night in Saigon just in time for the news of Anthony Bourdain’s passing lighting up my phone in a jumble of tweets, texts and news alerts. As details emerged about the chef-turned-travel show host’s apparent suicide at 61, an outpouring of grief and shock flooded the internet. I’m sure many of us will remember exactly where we were at the moment we learned of his death.

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American Chef Anthony Bourdain, Who Introduced Bún Chả to Obama, Passes Away at 61

Anthony Bourdain, the chef, writer and travel show host, has passed away at 61.

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