October is both National Disability Employment and World Blindness Awareness Month. This year’s NDEA theme is #InclusionWorks, which refers to how an inclusive workplace can be more productive than a less diverse one. In honor of this awareness month, I helped co-develop an online course entitled Introduction to Inclusive Talent Acquisition with Perkins School for the Blind for Harvard University’s Extension School, EdX. Intro to Inclusive Talent Acquisition is for hiring managers and anyone interested in diversifying their company by recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding employees with disabilities. Today, the

The first time I had green mango salad (or goi xoai xanh in Vietnamese) was only last December. I was in Danang, and my food guide, Lena T., took us to a small family-run shop serving snacks like grilled rice paper topped with pâté and a fried quail egg. This is where I had green mango salad dressed in a sweet, syrupy fish sauce. It was simple yet bursting with flavor, and I knew I’d have to try recreating this dish back home. That’s what I love about traveling—to be

There is a word in Vietnamese, nhau, that describes the act of getting together, drinking beer or spirits, and eating. To nhau is to partake in an age-old Vietnamese tradition where men gather to primarily socialize and drink, and secondarily eat foods that are mostly small bar bites, often exotic (think goat, snails, duck tongues, chicken tails (aka butts). Now in modern times, women also nhau, although not as frequently—go to any nhau establishment, and you’ll mostly find groups of men. I’m always one to break tradition, so I personally

The banh xeo (which translates into English as “sizzling crêpe”) at Ba Duong in Danang was one of my most memorable meals in Vietnam. Lena T., my food guide for Danang, showed us the proper way to eat Madame Duong’s banh xeo, which is to wrap a portion with some nem nuong (grilled pork sausage) and fresh veg in rice paper, and then dip the roll in the “miracle sauce” (as dubbed by locals, according to Lena). The sauce reminds me of the addicting accompaniment to nem nuong rolls from

For a quick getaway, the hubs, BIL, and I took a weekend trip to Danang, a relaxing beach town in the central region of Vietnam, where the streets are less crowded, the air breezier—a welcomed change to the sticky, saturated streets of Saigon. We hit up the beach in the morning, located right across the street from our hotel. Because most Vietnamese people prefer to be out of the sun (fairer skin indicates higher social status, as in you’re wealthy enough to not farm the fields yourself), we pretty much

YouTuber Kyle Le was the official winner of my Saigon food guide contest, but I couldn’t resist reaching out to another couple who had submitted an entry video. Pinky and Chuck (their self-selected English names) are a young, vibrant couple, and the hubs, the BIL, and I spent an afternoon snacking around HCMC with them. Pinky and Chuck took us to eat banh xeo (turmeric and coconut crêpe typically stuffed with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts), goi con (summer rolls), and a snack shop serving small bites often frequented by

Ben Thanh Market (or <em>Cho Ben Thanh</em> in Vietnamese) is perhaps the most famous market in Ho Chi Minh City. Its central location in District 1 makes it accessible to many of the hotels and other tourist destinations.  During the day, vendors sell souvenir t-shirts, cell phone cases, kitchenware, fabric, fruits, sugar cane juice, durian smoothies, and (my favorite)

While there is so much more to today’s landscape of Ho Chi Minh City, for many foreigners, the Lunch Lady experience is still the quintessence of Vietnam food culture. I talk about the Lunch Lady a lot, but that’s because I like her noodle soups a lot. She cooks up a different noodle soup every day of the week, and although I haven’t had every single one of her noodle soups, the four or five different bowls I’ve had were all delicious. She’s only open for a few hours mid-day,

It was my bro-in-law’s first time to Vietnam, so naturally, I took him to the Lunch Lady so he could have the quintessential Vietnam street food experience. Both he and the hubs loved the noodle soup, which happened that day to be bun Thai—Thai-style rice vermicelli with seafood. As a first-timer, the BIL was also taken to Ben Thanh Market where cheap goods abound. It’s not my favorite place, but it’s usually a must-see for first-time visitors. The BIL loves noodle soups, so that evening, we have it again; except

Before coming to Vietnam, I ran a contest for a food guide in Ho Chi Minh City, and the winner was Kyle Le, a Vietnamese-American YouTuber now living in HCMC. As expected, we did a lot of food-hopping, from chao via (duck congee) to banh con (steamed rice rolls, which I should add is John’s favorite Vietnamese dish) to (cuc chien bo (butter-fried quail). For the record, the duck congee with offal was excellent, the rice rolls were pretty fantastic, and the quail was decent, except for the fact that

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