Riding the blow wave of Chicano-style culture in Ho Chi Minh City
words & photos: MATTHEW COWAN
Liem Barber Shop in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3 is one place that has to be seen to be believed. No less than 10 tattooed barbers dressed right out of the 1920s complete with vintage tweed caps shape a new Chicano-style cut on their clientele (overwhelmingly Vietnamese 20-somethings) from 11am to 7pm daily.
Sundays the shop is packed and humming, and not just to the sound of hair clippers. Bi, the owner, says his salon knocks out about 120 haircuts a day at VND60,000 a pop, so expect to wait in line for a while.
The walls and benches are covered in photos, memorabilia, caps, boxing gloves, bulls horns, and traffic cones among other blokey barber shop paraphernalia, while the floor leaves no doubt as to the amount of heads that get shorn in a day — a lot! Black hair lies everywhere; it’s quite a scene.
Liem’s is a little tricky to find being down an alley barely wide enough for motorcycles to pass, but it’s not too far from Pham Ngu Lao Street and just a few streets parallel from Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. If only to see the place, Liem’s is well worth a visit.
Liem Barber Shop is at 79 Nguyen Son Ha, District 3, HCMC. For more info, go to facebook.com/liembarbershop or liembarbershop.com