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APRIL 24, 2000 VOL. 155 NO. 16


An Intriguing Mix of Past and Present
With more than half of its residents under 25 years of age, Ho Chi Minh City is one of Vietnam's most youthful cities. Yet it's still making a career largely from its past.

Looking for a value-for-money meal in Ho Chi Minh City?

Hot Spot
There are many roads to sainthood, and not all of them lead through the Catholic Church.

Kitsch Report
More than just a phone number

Web Crawling
If you're seeking the offbeat side of Vietnam this is the site for you.

Looking for a value-for-money meal in Ho Chi Minh City? You always get twice as much as you expect at the Sinh Doi restaurant. The name translates loosely as Twins, which is the head-turning theme at this boisterous downtown eatery. You're guaranteed to be seeing double long before last call here. Identical twins seat and serve customers, who tuck into scrumptious Vietnamese meals while watching singing and dancing in a twin-bill stage show featuring--what else?--twins.

Wildly popular among locals, the year-old restaurant was launched by Phu and Quy Nguyen, identical twins who learned their culinary craft at their family's restaurant in the coastal city of Nha Trang. The brothers are as tight as can be, finishing each other's sentences and sharing a home and a single business card; it lists them both as Phu-Quy. "We're really the same person," says Quy. "People just call us Phu-Quy," adds his brother. On stage as masters-of-ceremonies, the pair are world-class jokers, bringing guests on stage and conducting impromptu talent contests. The shows are entirely in Vietnamese, and the restaurant has become extremely popular for weddings and birthday parties.

But what makes Sinh Doi unique--aside from homegrown appeal in an era of Hard Rock Caf imitations--is the food. Unlike theme restaurants that splurge on decor and skimp on substance, Sinh Doi offers great fare. These include Nha Trang's mouth-watering seafood recipes, fresh spring rolls, garlic shrimp, zesty noodle dishes and cha ca, or filleted fish dishes. Phu-Quy's Sinh Doi is at 203 Cach Mang Thang 8. Reservations are recommended. Tel: 834-1687.

By Ron Gluckman

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