This past July was the most successful month yet for website traffic at The Bureau since we launched back in January 2018.

Our numbers are on the rise after having taken a hit for three months this year starting back in February when the growing threat of COVID-19 was realised by the general public.

It was almost like our traffic mirrored the feelings and emotions of everyone at the time – down.

But, once the end of April rolled round and the Vietnamese Government lifted the social distancing measures that were in place, it brought about an uptick in mood that reflected in traffic to The Bureau as our followers looked to shake off their cabin fever blues and begin their search for somewhere to escape for the first time since Tet holidays.

Or at the very least, pull up a bar stool somewhere for a long stiff drink to forget everything, albeit for a night.

In the month of July, the “happiness index” pointed to a surge upwards with more views and visitors to our site than ever before.

But, like a big night out on the boards, their are consequences and COVID-19 is proving similar with the way it’s meddling with our emotions.

So it’s with some apprehension that we wait as the so-called “second wave” of COVID-19 threatens to crash upon our shores and wash away everything that we’ve built.

But for now, let’s revel in the positives and take a look back at the most popular stories of the month with satisfaction.

Yes, another fork in pasta listicle, but hey, people seem to like them.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one, nor have we ranked them “YouTuber” style from best to whatever, or cheapest to whatever, or craziest whatevers.

We’ve just done a bit of research and woven in some good old time-honoured local knowledge (and humour?) to give you one of those listicles we all love to hate but somehow go desperately in search of when that friend from out of town drops in unannounced, or you just need a break from the local stuff.

Did you hear the one about the time a Spaniard and an Englishman walked into a pub? If you’d like to, read on.

When Tê Tê Brewing started putting foamy smiles on the faces of punters with their beer back in 2015, the pioneering phase of craft breweries in Vietnam was just getting underway.

Four years later, the lads at Tê Tê Brewing opened their first tap house and now they’ve joined forces with a local fish and chip shop to come up with a collaboration with a difference that sees calamari banh mi, fish and chips and other quintessential Vietnamese dishes happily sitting side-by-side on one of the most eclectic menus around.

This piece written by our man in Cebu, Jigs Arquiza, quickly became one of our most popular posts in late June and kept on getting hits throughout July.

“Pinoybaiting” is a term that’s risen to prominence in the Philippines since reaction videos have become popular on YouTube.

A reaction video is when a host or YouTuber “reacts” to something unusual while the camera is rolling.

And according to Jigs, his fellow countrymen and women (Pinoys) are falling for the “bait” set by foreign vloggers who’ve cottoned onto the fact that jingoistic Pinoys are suckers for anyone who says nice things about their beloved Philippines.

But Jigs thinks it’s got out of hand and asks his fellow Pinoys, “Are we so stupid that we’d let these foreigners treat us this way?”

Another piece from the 7,000 (or so) isles.

Jigs Arquiza reports on a couple of enterprising young kids from Manila who after being encouraged by their dad to read the self-help book The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone, they decided to go into business and Soop Kitchen was born.

What do they serve up and how’s it going?

Take a peek at one of our most popular stories for July to find out.

In this travel feature, we look closer to home for an interesting place to have some time out.

COVID-19 has forced everyone in Vietnam to travel domestically at the moment and, fortunately, we are blessed with many amazing places to visit.

While we’re in the midst of a new “wave” of outbreaks, perhaps it will signal a new and different wave of travel preferences, including staycations.

Only time will tell.

This neighbourhood we feature is in Saigon’s District 1 and is rarely mentioned as somewhere worth visiting, but it’s coming up and it’s flush with culture, food, history and nice places to stay.

Well, we’ve finally ventured into producing some videos.

In this first video of a three-part series, Matt throws a leg over a motorbike and hits the tarmac for Sadec in the Mekong Delta, approximately 140km southwest of Saigon and around 100km east of the Cambodian border.

Early on the first morning, he wakes up hungry as usual and goes looking for something great to eat for breakfast.

At Sadec’s central market, he finds something to tide him over until…ooh…at least morning tea.

Everyone gets a smile on their face when Aussie celeb chef Luke Nguyen is in town.

And we break out into even bigger ones when we’re lucky enough to attend one of his events.

This time round he teamed up with another Aussie legend, the diminutive in stature but giant in the international fashion industry, Betty Tran.

They conjured up one of the events of the year with a little bit of help from The Reverie Saigon.

Usually we try to keep our food and what we’re wearing a safe distance from each other, but on this occasion they happily came together in style. 

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