Welcome to The Bureau Podcast!

Vietnam’s food and beverage scene is evolving in so many delicious ways, from street food inspired tapas to coconut worm shots to organic produce from the highlands.

Each fortnight, join The Bureau Chief Matt Cowan and guests as they share industry insights, discover bars and restaurants, and chat to people in the know.

If you’re a foodie, traveller or just wanting to discover the best places to eat and drink in Vietnam and the region, The Bureau Podcast is for you!

Episode 3 – Saigon's changing skyline, cocktails named after the city's historic streets, all on location at The Studio Saigon

In this episode, we're at Saigon-based British "bartist" Richie Fawcett's, The Studio Saigon, a studio at the front and speakeasy at the back! We chat about what's got us excited in F&B in Saigon since our last episode, Richie steps in for Mike who seems to have gone MIA in Danang and tells us about his Cloud 9 Project, while we chat with architect Dr Hoanh Tran about Saigon's rapidly changing skyline and its gentrification.

Episode Highlights

Show Intro (0.00) – Richie slips into the hot seat to replace Mike who appears to have gone MIA. We chat about some of the events we went to in the past week or so.

Segment 1: Get Excited! (4.53) – It's a segment where we tell each other what bar, restaurant, cafe, drink or food we should all be getting excited about.

Segment 2: Dr Hoanh Tran & Richie Fawcett (10.12) – In this segment we bring in the big guns of architecture and mixology and talk about Saigon's rapidly changing skyline and its much-maligned gentrification and "unfranchising" – a phenomenon that has seen a number of global fast food brands pack their bags and leave Vietnam after failing quite spectacularly. Dr Hoanh expands on what's happening about the city in relation to heritage preservation and Matt gives the gentlemen a couple of gifts in appreciation for their time.  

Dr Hoanh Tran, a champion of Saigon's architecture & heritage 

The "bartist" Richie Fawcett at his studio/speakeasy in Saigon

Segment 3: Who Are You Following At The Moment? (37.31) – It's a segment where we introduce to each other the social media accounts we're following at the moment and give them a shout out.

Melanie suggests we get onboard foodie, passionate traveller and design buff Thuy's @traveleatsaigon Instagram account, Mike shouts out to a friend of his, accomplished eater and girl-everywhere, Chau Dang at @sochaudchannel, while Matt pumps up our Cebu contributor Jigs Arquiza's account at @eatssogood

---END---(43.15)


Episode 2 – Beyond Burgers, Beers & Sustainability in F&B

In this episode on location at Fresh Catch Vietnam, we chat about what's got us excited in F&B in Saigon since our last episode, we sink our teeth into Beyond Burgers, then catch up with serial Saigon restaurateur Albin Deforges to talk about seafood sustainability, we "sip test" two beers about to be released on the market, and we ask, what ever happened to the Strawpocalypse? 

Episode Highlights

Segment 1: Get Excited! (1.20) – It's a segment where we tell each other what bar, restaurant, cafe, drink or food we should all be getting excited about.

Melanie

What? Furbrew Beach Beer Cream Ale

Why: "It tastes like the beach!"

Burp Rating: 4/5

Where Can You Get It? Furbrew Beer Bar, Hanoi

Address: 8b/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Mike

What: The Beer Fridge 

Why: "It has a great selection of local & imported beers"

Burp Rating: 4/5

Where Can You Get It? District 2

Address: 97 Hanoi Highway, District 2, HCMC



Matt

What: Qui Cuisine & Mixology New Menu

Why? "It's elevated Qui into a "destination dining venue" for sure!"

Burp Rating: 5/5

Where Can You Get It? District 1

Address: 22 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, HCMC


Segment 2: (6.40) – We chat to self-proclaimed "serial restaurateur" Albin Deforges of Fresh Catch Vietnam about his latest venture, sustainability in Vietnam's high seas, his eye-opening experience at Saigon's biggest seafood market, and we "sip test" a couple of beers he's helping launch onto Vietnam's ever-growing craft beer market.  


(8.10) – Albin tells us how Fresh Catch Vietnam came about.

(9.27) – Albin describes his eye-opening experience during a visit to Saigon's biggest seafood market. He also tells us his strategy for lessening his restaurants' impact on fish stocks and the environment in and around Vietnam.

(14.12) – We conduct a "sip test" of two beers from India that Albin is helping launch onto the Vietnam craft beer scene – and we like what we taste! 


Segment 3: W.T.F.A.T.B.A.O.F.N. (18.24) – It's a segment where we chat about what's ticking people off on one of Saigon's most popular social media pages dedicated to food.

Highlight: One of the leaders of craft beer in Vietnam, Biacraft, announced on Facebook the arrival of the Beyond Burger this month – Vietnam's first "meatless beef patty burger". While the thread was inundated with mostly positive comments, some took umbrage with the idea that something without any meat in it can be called "meat". Grrrrr! 

Highlight: Mike confesses that he's a "Selectarian" (Is that an actual thing?) after it becomes apparent that he's been struggling to maintain is 100% Vegetarian status!



Segment 4: What Ever Happened To...? (25.28) – It's a segment where we ask what ever happened to people, trends, places, restaurants, bars, habits or whatever in Saigon.

Earlier this year an art installation by internationally-acclaimed artist Van Wong in collaboration with Saigon-based non-profit Zero Waste Saigon and sponsored by Starbucks Vietnam attracted a phenomenal amount of local and international media. 

The installation – The Strawpocalypse: The Parting of the Plastic Sea – was created with 168,000 plastic straws to raise greater awareness of the scourge of plastic on our oceans.

It remained in situ inside a Saigon shopping mall for quite some time until it was dismantled and moved.

But where to? 

Nothing has been seen or heard of The Strawpocalypse since and the social media trail leading to its final destination has gone cold.   

Segment 5: Who Are You Following At The Moment? (31.22) – It's a segment where we introduce to each other the social media accounts we're following at the moment and give them a shout out.

In this episode, Mel comes good on her promise from last episode to let us know who she's following on Instagram at the moment. She's following Myanmar-based @britishgirlabroad, while Mike gives a shoutout to an ex-colleague Zoe Osborne @zoe.m.osborne, Albin follows the founder of Rhum Belami @m.a.a.dmoonshiner, and Matt gives us the lowdown on fellow scribe and cocktail bar crawler @cavestagram.

---END---(36.55)


Episode 1 – The Bureau Podcast Pilot (29.25)

In our very first episode we chat about what's got us excited in F&B in Saigon the past week or so, we wonder whether we actually care if food is "authentic" or not, the meaning of W.T.F.A.T.B.A.O.F.N. is revealed, and we wonder what ever happened to celebrity chef Bobby Chinn? 


Episode Highlights

Segment 1: Get Excited! (1.00) – It's a segment where we tell each other what bar, restaurant, cafe, drink or food we should all be getting excited about.

Matt

What: Malt South's Nashville Chicken Sandwich

Burp Rating: 5/5

Where Can You Get It? Malt South D7, HCMC

Address: 35 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7, HCMC

Map:

Mike

What: Village Grill's Smash Burger

Burp Rating: 5/5

Where Can You Get It? Village Grill D2, HCMC

Address: 94 Xuan Thuy, D2, HCMC

Map:

Mel

What: Saigon's newest Ethiopian restaurant

Burp Rating: Untried. Burps pending.

Where Can You Get It? Sara Ethiopian Restaurant D1, HCMC

Address: 283/45 Pham Ngu Lao, D1, HCMC

Map: 




Segment 2: W.T.F.A.T.B.A.O.F.N. (10.00) – It's a segment where we chat about what's ticking people off on one of Saigon's most popular social media pages dedicated to food.

In this episode we shine the spotlight on the online comments of a Saigon resident who blasts the apparent inauthenticity and taste of the corn tortillas served up by the city's Mexican/Tex-Mex Restaurants, labelling them "disgusting" and suggesting they are way over-hyped! 

After watching the recent Netflix series, the Taco Chronicles, the resident it seems is now an expert on corn tortilla chips (I know what I like goddamnit!) and is adamant he's not wrong in his assessment. Aye caramba!   


Segment 3: What Ever Happened To...? (19.20)  It's a segment where we ask what ever happened to people, trends, places, restaurants, bars, habits or whatever in Saigon.

In this episode, we wonder what ever happened to celebrity chef Bobby Chinn?

And, Mike and Mel fail the quiz!


Segment 4: Who Are You Following At The Moment? (25.25) – It's a segment where we introduce to each other the social media accounts we're following at the moment and give them a shout out.

In this episode, Matt suggests we follow executive chef at the Park Hyatt Saigon, Heath Gordon, on Instagram @heath.gordon (let's help him reach 1K followers!), while Mike suggests Vietnamese-American chef and foodie Minh Tam @tam_le 

As for Mel, she's promised she will follow someone other than Ru Paul and will report back!

---END---(29.25)


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