Long referred to by expats in Ho Chi Minh City as the ghetto, this enclave in the centre of town offers a small taste of Japan in Vietnam
words: MATTHEW COWAN | photos: OLGA ROZENBAJGIER
It’s the stuff of B-grade Hollywood martial arts films from the 80s — a Japanese enclave in the heart of a heaving city in the Far East with dark alleyways lit by flickering neon lights, dingy little noodle shops and seedy massage parlours open till the wee hours of the morning. Not quite that good but close enough is Saigon’s own Japan Town hemmed in by Thai Van Lung, Le Thanh Ton and Ngo Van Nam streets in District 1. By day it’s a sleepy hollow. By night, it’s an energetic above ground warren of food, drink and entertainment options catering mostly for Japanese clientele who miss the comforts of home. We present The Ghetto. Dozo!