Hanoi vs. Saigon

September 25, 2006

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CAFES
Hanoi:
Jam packed, with two couples sharing one table.
Saigon: Chairs in rows like bus seats.

NOODLES
Hanoi: Brought to you with the waitress’s thumb as a free extra.
Saigon: A bowl of noodles comes on a plate.

PHO
Hanoi: Seldom without MSG and bread.
Saigon: Must include herbs, bean sprouts and red (or black) chilli.

STICKY RICE
Hanoi: Good and sticky, wrapped in banana leaves.
Saigon: Terribly dry, sold in boxes or nylon bags.

GOING FOR A BEER
Hanoi: Bia hoi (local draught beer) with peanuts, back home by 9pm.
Saigon: Must include herbs, bean sprouts and red (or black) chilli: Bottled beer with lots of rice, a hot pot, home after midnight.

SNACKS
Hanoi: Not much choice, but tasty.
Saigon: Good variety, cheap and acceptable but nothing special.

SET LUNCH
Hanoi: Small pieces of sweet and sour stir-fried pork ribs.
Saigon: Giant lumps of unskillfully grilled pork ribs.

DRESS
Hanoi: Xe om drivers around Hoan Kiem lake wear suits.
Saigon: People go to the best hotels wearing shorts and sandals.

SHOES AND SOCKS
Hanoi: Women can wear socks without shoes.
Saigon: Men can wear shoes without socks.

TRAFFIC
Hanoi: You can cut across a car, but make sure to turn right only on a green light.
Saigon: You can ignore red lights, but don’t stray into the car lane.

WHEN THE LIGHT IS RED
Hanoi: You can’t turn right.
Saigon: You can even turn left.

PARKING AT SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS
Hanoi: Free.
Saigon: “VND2,000, please”.

VEHICLES
Hanoi: Obsolete models rarely seen.
Saigon: Like a museum, where ancient models are still going.

SAVOIR FAIRE
Hanoi: You are shocked if someone says, “Thank you”.
Saigon: It’s normal for a receptionist to bow when you walk in.

TWO WOMEN CHOOSE THE SAME PRODUCT
Hanoi: “Let’s get one each”.
Saigon: “If you take it, I’ll go for something else”.

A MAN ASKS A WOMAN IF SHE LOVES HIM. SHE ANSWERS:
Hanoi: “What if I say no?”
Saigon: “Why not?”

YOU ARE RICH
Hanoi: If you have a lot of money.
Saigon: If you spend a lot of money.

MOBILE PHONE RINGS ON THE STREETS
Hanoi: Stop and chat in the middle of a busy intersection to let the whole world know how important you are.
Saigon: Stop, get onto the pavement, and keep a look-out in all directions in case someone tries to steal your phone.

RAIN
Hanoi: Similar to its females, smouldering and persistent.
Saigon: Like its girls, attractive but soon over.

BOOKSHOPS
Hanoi: The staff are rude and surly.
Saigon: A comfortable place for a free read, especially for kids.

PAGODAS
Hanoi: A quiet and uplifting place where you leave daily concerns behind.
Saigon: Noisy and secular.

LAKES
Hanoi: Immense and romantic.
Saigon: No bigger than a pond.



STUDENTS AND CALL GIRLS
Hanoi: Prostitutes pretend to be students.
Saigon: Students dress like prostitutes.
 

Hanoi vs Saigon [Myspace]

[Photo: J Catlett]

Previously: Cafe Lung, Pork Soup Shack, Restaurant Bobby Chinn, A Chinatown in Vietnam, Goat Fetii and Unlicensed Doctors, Hanoi-Style

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6 Responses to “Hanoi vs. Saigon”

  1. omih Says:

    I can honestly say, after two years here, I have never seen a xe om driver in a suit in Hanoi.

    And as for vehicles, this must have been written by a Viet Q, someone who has not been here for a while. There are some very swanky, very new cars in Hanoi these day. Wish they’d go somewhere else, it doesn’t half slow down the traffic.

  2. ltb Says:

    i think the thing i fear most about vn is the traffic and the water. but i think i will adapt when i do go back.

  3. Hung Says:

    Perfect!

    I was born and schooled in Hanoi and start career in Saigon. Then I see our points are precise.

    If somebody does not accept some points, this is because he can see only the mixed culture, not the aboriginal one

  4. Hung Says:

    Sorry, I mean your points are precise

  5. Will Says:

    Hahaha…..spot on! I love this post it put a smile on my face.

  6. joseph Says:

    I am in ho chi Minh, lots of new cars on the road, lots of wealthy people here.


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