The days when gourmands in Vietnam could only choose from expensive imported fare are pretty much over. Across the country, artisanal producers are crafting international-style foods that spotlight local ingredients, from chorizo to gelato. Here are nine of our favorites.

Henry Nguyen - Mr. McDonald's

If last year’s market entry of Starbucks can be viewed as a prototype, then by the time you read this piece there will have been extraordinary queues outside McDonald’s. Using the Drive-Thru model to enter the Vietnamese market, images of motorbike logjams trailing back down Saigon’s Dien Bien Phu come to mind.

The Philippines

When the most intense storm ever to make landfall ripped through The Philippines, Bea Nguyen, like many of us, tried to find how her goodwill would fit into the void left by Typhoon Haiyan.

Pulau Ubin

The ancient parable told by Lonely Planet as an introduction to the different neighbourhoods of Singapore keeps popping in my head when I make my visits to three of the offshore islands surrounding Singapore. The story goes that a group of blind men try to guess what an animal is as they are all touching different parts of an elephant. Their answers are completely different, depending on what part that they touch. The man who touches the leg says the elephant is ‘like a pillar’; the other touches the tail, and says the animal is ‘like a rope’; and so on.

Dai Phuoc Lotus Island

Growing numbers of urban residents are moving to the islands — not the islands
on the coast but those in the city. Derek Milroy and Hoa Le visit four urban islands. Photos by Francis Xavier and Francis Roux

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