What an eventful year it’s been. In the face of a global pandemic, we at Vietcetera have aimed to keep you informed of the latest news, engaged with future trends, and entertained as you spend more time at home. Whether you’re reading Vietcetera from Saigon or San Francisco, we hope you’ve enjoyed our content as much as we’ve enjoyed writing it.
Now, more than ever, we appreciate your readership. And, since we’re curious to know which stories resonated most with our audience, we’ve rounded up the 21 most-read stories on Vietcetera International in 2021. From daily news coverage and COVID-19 updates to features on Vietnamese food and first-person essays from diasporic Viet Kieu returning to Vietnam, here are the stories our readers loved most this year.
1. Seven Vietnamese Words That Can't Be Translated Into English
Analyzing a language will often tell you what expressions are most important to its speakers. Between languages — and cultures — there's not always a direct translation. Here, we reveal 7 Vietnamese phrases that can't be translated exactly in English. Read the article here.
2. A Taste Of Home: 5 Vietnamese Foods That Remind Me Of The Philippines
We're also interested in the experiences of expats who call Vietnam home. Here, editor Agnes Alpuerto shares 5 Viet dishes that remind her of Filipino foods. Adobo and bo kho? Pho and batchoy? Food tells us a lot about what our cultures have in common. Read the article here.
3. Six Vietnamese Billionaires On Forbes 2021 World’s Richest List
As Vietnam sustains rapid economic growth, six billionaires have emerged from the country, according to this year's Forbes World's Richest List. These include Vingroup founder Pham Nhat Vuong and the lone woman, Vietjet CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao. Read the article here.
4. Stricter Labor Policy Is Making Expats Rethink Their Future In Vietnam
When COVID-19 finally hit Vietnam, it did so swiftly. In May, Vietnam's Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs announced a sweeping policy aimed at cracking down on foreign visas. We reported on the news, which lit up expat groups on social media. Read the article here.
5. How Huy Fong’s Sriracha Hit $150 Million A Year In Sales — With Zero Marketing
Created in 1980 by Vietnamese-American entrepreneur David Tran, Sriracha is an immigrant success story for the ages. We explored how the cult-beloved sauce does a whopping $150 million a year in revenue — without any marketing, advertising, or sales team. Read the article here.
6. Vietnamese Women in 2021: Inspiring, Empowered, Influential
On International Women’s Day, we spotlighted five influential women who are shifting business and culture across the global Vietnamese community, from disability rights activist Van Thi Nguyen to Hollywood actress Kelly Marie Tran. Read the article here.
7. A Beginner’s Guide To The Vietnamese Pop Punk Scene
"When I stumbled across Vietnamese pop punk one day in 2020, the nostalgia of my middle-school emo phase merged with my yearning to know more about modern Vietnam — and how young Vietnamese Gen-Zers are making global music trends their own." — Claire V. Tran. Read the article here.
8. Up Close And Personal With U.S. Ambassador Dan Kritenbrink
Yes, we got the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam to rap one of Vietnam's music pioneers. We hung out with Ambassador Dan Kritenbrink as he strolled down the streets of Saigon, drank cà phê on the Hanoi sidewalks, and spit some verses about his years in Vietnam. Read the article here.
9. 5 Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Who Are Championing Sustainable Living
From creating Zen spaces for recycling and used battery drop-off to manufacturing a stylish electric vehicles for eco-friendly commutes, these Vietnamese entrepreneurs encourage mindfulness about the environment. Read the article here.
10. 12 Vietnamese-Owned Food & Drink Brands To Try In America
There's never been a better time to try Vietnamese food at home. Today, you can find Vietnamese-owned brands selling everything from traditional fish sauce and pre-mixed nuoc cham to Vietnamese coffee and Vietnamese gin you can order straight to your door. Read the article here.
11. Hanoi Ranked Among Most Stressful Cities In The World To Live In
Measured in four categories — governance, city, finance, and health — Hanoi was ranked 70th on a list of the world's most stressful cities. Still, it's ranked as "less stressful" than over major Asian metropolises like Taipei, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur. Read the article here.
12. Got A Vaccine Passport? It Won’t Work In Vietnam
In March, the Vietnamese government declared that vaccinated foreigners holding vaccine passports would still need to undergo a 14 day quarantine and test negative for the virus at least twice after entering Vietnam. (They've since changed it to 7 day). Read the article here.
13. Quarantine Creativity: These Young Entrepreneurs Turned Their Hobbies Into Business
Lockdown saw tons of folks around the world turning hobbies into profitable businesses. In July, we spoke to three budding young entrepreneurs who launched home businesses — including fashion, jewelry, and pet clothing — amidst pandemic-era Saigon. Read the article here.
14. 4 Vietnamese Startups Make It To Forbes Asia 100 To Watch List
Four Vietnamese startups made it onto Forbes' inaugural 'Asia 100 to Watch' list, including the real estate marketplace Hoozing and healthcare startup Health247. Notably, all four startups are technology-driven and funded by foreign investors. Read the article here.
15. Anan Saigon Bags A Win For Vietnam At Asia's 50 Best Restaurants
In a joyous moment for the food scene in Saigon (and indeed Vietnam), Chef Peter Cuong Franklin's beloved Anan Saigon nabbed a spot on the Asia's 50 Best list — marking the first time Vietnam has been represented on the list in 8 years. Read the article here.
16. When Studying Abroad Doesn’t Turn Out The Way You’d Hoped
As part of our Study Abroad series featuring student essays, Melbourne-based staff writer Jenny Phan describes how some Vietnamese international students deal with homesickness when they travel. Read the article here.
17. Vietnam’s Craft Chocolate Movement Is At A Crossroads
After years of a Vietnamese chocolate boom, a trailblazing entrepreneur passed away during COVID, and demand is down — where does it go from here? Chocolate expert Megan Giller reports on a pivotal moment for Vietnam's bean-to-bar chocolate industry. Read the article here.
18. Hanoi Offers Better Quality Of Life, But It’s Also More Expensive Than HCMC
According to a new report, the relatively strong pandemic response in Asia allowed its cities to function "more normally" than others, which has in turn made them more expensive than cities in other regions. Here's how Hanoi and Saigon rank on the list. Read the article here.
19. A Beginner’s Guide To Vietnamese Gen-Z Internet Slang
Born after 1996, Gen Z is coming of age and shifting culture all over the world. Vietnam is no exception. An extension of speech, Internet slang is a dynamic dialect of its own. Here are 7 terms to know if you want to text like a Vietnamese Gen-Zer. Read the article here.
20. Lukas Graham On His Musical Collab With Vietnamese Artist Vu
In July, Vietcetera had the chance to speak with globally successful Danish music group Lukas Graham about Happy For You, an emotionally charged single released in collaboration with the band's Vietnamese labelmate Vũ. Read the article here.
21. What I Learned Partying With The Rising Stars Of Vietnamese Streetwear
In this essay, California-based Vietnamese-American photographer and art director Victoria Loi looks back on her year living and partying her way through Saigon — alongside some of her original photography. Read the article here.