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‘Little Seoul’ in Saigon
Hoang Phong
Monday,  Aug 28, 2017,21:22 (GMT+7)

‘Little Seoul’ in Saigon

Hoang Phong

A buslting sight at the Sky Garden area in Phu My Hung urban area in HCMC’s District 7 is captured in this photo - PHOTO: HOANG PHONG

Those with an insatiable desire to gain a deeper understanding on Korean culture and gastronomy but unable to afford a trip to the northeast Asian country should drop by the Sky Garden area in Phu My Hung urban area in HCMC’s District 7, which is often dubbed as “Little Seoul” in the heart of the city. 

Unlike the crazy and noisy atmosphere of other quarters for foreign communities in town like the backpackers’ area surrounded by Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien and De Tham streets in District 1, the Sky Garden which encompasses Pham Thai Buong, Pham Van Nghi and Nguyen Duc Canh streets in District 7 may give tourists a feeling of being lost in the quarter characterized by skyscrapers, high-end shopping malls along with a tranquil ambience and a modern and civilized lifestyle. 

According to local residents, there are more than 90 Korean-style restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets, billiards, karaoke, spas and coffee shops with signs in both Korean and Vietnamese along the streets in the area, creating a vivid picture about the busy life of the Korean community there. 

It would be a mistake for those who visit the area without spending a little time to explore the diversified Korean gastronomy and experience the true taste of its signature dishes such as Kimbab (Korean-style sushi), bibimbab (mixed rice with egg, meat, vegetables and sauce), fried chicken, barbecue or Tteokbokki rice cake. 

Aside from restaurants, a wide variety of services to meet the demand of the increasing Korean population at the Sky Garden are springing up like mushrooms such as laundry services, convenience stores, clean vegetable stores, drugstores, hospitals, and centers for taekwondo and yoga and music teaching.

During a weekend evening at the Sky Garden, many Koreans are seen walk together or with their dogs, gather for chat, drink wine, play chess or sports while the kids play around their parents.

Most Korean people in the quarter say they are satisfied with their lives. However, language barrier remains the biggest obstacle they face because many of them cannot speak Vietnamese and not many can communicate in English.

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