18.05.11 As previously reported, we served as a consultant on Gordon Ramsay's Great Escapes TV show for the BBC, convincing Gordon's team to visit Phan Thiet, and assisting them in pre-production of the show. At the end of the clip above, Gordon visits Phan Thiet (and Mui Ne) and goes on a late night fishing trip. After the clip he cooks the squid they caught with a guest chef from out-of-town. The show is now running on Channel 4 in the UK.
17.06.10 British Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey visited Mui Ne this week to film segments for his new travel-adventure-food-series, "Gordon's Great Escape: Southeast Asia". Visit the Mui Ne blog "Fish Egg Tree" to read about how we were involved with pre-production for the show.
04.12.09 Luke Nguyen, Restaurateur, Chef, Author, and Television Host, has launched a new series called “Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam,” which is currently being broadcast on Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) television network. This year’s series follows Luke’s culinary journey, starting in Saigon, winding through the Mekong, up the coast with an episode in Dalat, and then on up through Hanoi to Sapa. Episode 5 finds Luke in Phan Thiet (and Mui Ne), where he visits family and explores local cuisine, like razor-clam salad, fresh prawn and pork spring rolls, various soups, and glimpses of banh xeo and be tuoi. In the episode Luke visits several spots around town including the Phan Thiet Port’s seafood market and the Mui Ne’s fisherman’s market in Mui Ne. This well-rounded and in-depth episode and others can be freely viewed in their commercial-free entirety on
the show’s website once they have aired.
Luke Nguyen was born in Thailand in 1978, after his parents escaped Vietnam as boat people. He spent time in a Thai refugee camp before his family eventually settled in Sydney, Australia. Luke is the chef and owner of the award-winning Vietnamese restaurant, Red Lantern, and is the author of “Secrets of the Red Lantern” and “Songs of Sapa.” In 2009, Luke Nguyen and Suzanna Boyd founded the Little Lantern Foundation in Hoi An, which provides disadvantaged youth with a hospitality training program in Little Lantern’s hotel, restaurant and bar.
Looking for a cooking class in Mui Ne? We have one now! Get info here.
18.11.07 Nguyen Viet Vui of Phan Thiet was recently recognized as the record-holder for the largest butterfly collection (more than 7,000 specimens) in Vietnam. "Butterflies have a character that mirrors mankind," says 80-year-old Nguyen Viet Vui. "Some like hot weather, some like it cold, some fly low and some are as graceful as women."
His hobby began in adolescence, at about age 18. "While friends were interested in sports and various school subjects, I spent my time wondering about butterflies." After reading books by Henry de Monestrol, the French hunter who wrote "Saigon Geography and Hunting in Vietnam," Vui wanted to learn more. After establishing a friendship with the ageing Frenchman, Vui learned how to press and dry the butterflies, and how to carefully classify them. With this crucial knowledge, Vui also learned to dry tiger, wildcat, stag, deer, fish and birds (some of which still decorate his home), but most of his time and energy went into catching butterflies in the jungles throughout Vietnam. Vui continued gathering specimens and educating himself on endemic and international species throughout the war, despite great risks. He taught himself a number of foreign languages through his scientific study, including French and Russian. Eventually he became the foremost expert on vietnam's butterflies (and the only living person with knowledge of many extinct vietnam species), but few outside of Vietnam have heard of him because he has received so little recognition for his work.
From the time he catches a butterfly to the time he encases it in the final display, it take Vui about 15-20 days of work and waiting. Larger ones take between two and three months. His first step is carefully drawing out the specimen’s intestines with a knife, like chefs do with prawns. "If a buyer can see an incision", Vui explained, "then that butterfly is worthless." Next a substance is injected to stiffen the wings for maximum wingspan. Because of the butterfly’s delicate nature, all contact must be light to avoid crushing it under a heavy hand. A butterfly that is dried and preserved well can be maintained for more than one hundred years.
With no formal retirement in sight, Vui often spends time happily catching butterflies with his grandson – the only family member who’s taken an interest in Vui’s rare profession. Vui can often be seen sitting in front of house on Trung Trac Road along the Ca Ty River in downtown Phan Thiet, where he warmly welcomes visitors who come to see some of his collection. One butterfly in his exhibit, called La cay kho (Kalima inachus inachus), a gift from his old French teacher, is over 100 years old and worth an estimate US$20,000, but Vui refuses to sell it because of its sentimental value. In spite of any attachment Vui might feel toward his specimens, need for daily income keeps him selling the others off whenever possible. The average cost for one of his butterflies in a frame runs from VND40,000 ($2.50) to VND50,000 ($3.10). "I never earn that much though because I must pay around VND20,000 ($1.20) per box to put the dry butterfly in," Vui said. "But holding the national record for collection size is special to me."
10.09.07 Adam Bray, author and owner of this site, has an article featured in this month's issue of Transitions Abroad Magazine. Read the article online HERE. Adam is also noted as a contributor in the new Lonely Planet Vietnam, 2007, and this site is recommended on page 300 in the Mui Ne Section.
31.07.07 Christopher Rose arrived in Saigon, South Vietnam at the end of July 1965. He had previously been working under contract to
the U.S. Navy on the Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre in the Bahamas. An employee of Decca Navigator Systems he would now work for the US Army. In
Vietnam Decca was a British technical system being used for the navigation of the army helicopters.
Mr Rose was to spend nearly ten years in South Vietnam until the communists took control of the country in 1975. Any absences were due to sickness and leave. Illness would take its toll and was an inevitable consequence of too long a stay. At the end of his contract and the abandon by the U.S. army of the Decca Project in July 1969 he stayed on in Vietnam in a private capacity.
He travelled extensively by road. He had first experienced this when he had been working up country for the Americans. His trips then had been unauthorised but gave him a chance to see aspects of the country not possible in a military camp. Often hair raising he learned to discover the meaning of fear and his own reactions to it.
He also saw the devastation at first hand, particularly in Phan Thiet during the fighting of 1968. There is a large selection of photos devoted to the events in that town. Living and working with the United States army and the South Vietnamese he came to know war and the destruction it brought to people’s lives.
Settling down in Saigon where he married he took up teaching. This, after various other interesting but minor activities. He now had a chance to get to know the
people better and gained a deep insight into their character and customs and habits. He also developed a very close personal relationship with the country, it’s
inhabitants and their hopes and fears.
After a delay of thirty years Christopher Rose is now putting his notes and photos into a blog. In it he tells the story of the events he experienced in a series of 160 posts as they happened at the time. From before he arrived in South Vietnam till the end of the war. These are accompanied by a selection of about 150 photos,
most personal, relating to the people he knew and the events he witnessed. He also tries to look back at the past in as dispassionate a way as possible.
14.01.07 American Chef Martin Yan, known for his award-winning cooking show "Yan Can Cook" and "Martin Yan’s Chinatown," will be in Phan Thiet January 17-18. Yan will be traveling with 69 members from the Hong Kong Cinema Association and will be producing video promotions, photographs, and posters to be taken at sites around the city.
Martin Yan is a Chinese-born American chef and actor. He is a certified and highly respected food consultant, a cooking instructor and a prolific author with 26 cookbooks, including the award winning "Martin Yan’s Feast" and "Martin Yan’s Asian Favorites." He has hosted more than 2,000 cooking shows broadcast world-wide.
08.05.06 Earl Woods, father to the world-renowned golfer Tiger Woods, died last wednesday due to cancer. Mr. Woods served in Phan Thiet during his second tour of duty. His son, Tiger, was given the nickname of Earl's close friend and comrad, Lieut. Col. Vuong "Tiger" Phong, the ARVN Province Chief. Tiger Phong died shortly after the war, in a re-education camp in Hoang Lien Son Province.
08.04.06 Actors, directors, singers, comedians, athletes, record-holders and revolutionaries have all found themselves in our community at different times. Read below to see who you may share beachside memories with and didn't know it.
Disney child actor Kevin Corcoran (Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson) served at the LZ Betty in Phan Thiet and received the RVN Gallantry Cross.
See photo here.
Vic Morrow, who's career as an actor spanned 30 years in television and film, visited the LZ Betty in Phan Thiet while touring with the USO. He was probably best known for his roles in the television series "Combat!" as well his role as Coach Roy Turner in "The Bad News Bears" (1976) He was tragically killed while filming "The Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1983).
The New York Times (August 2005) reported that director Marek Kanievska ("Less Than Zero") spends about five months a year in Mui Ne.
Earl Woods, father of the world-famous golfer, Tiger Woods, served in Phan Thiet during his second tour of duty. His son, Tiger, was given the nickname of Earl's close friend and comrad, Lieut. Col. Vuong "Tiger" Phong, the ARVN Province Chief. Tiger Phong died shortly after the war, in a re-education camp in Hoang Lien Son Province.
Read more at vva.org or golfdigest.com.
Singer Vikki Carr and actor Danny Kaye lifted the spirits of American troups at the LZ Betty, Phan Thiet with a visit and performance during the war. See photos here.
Actor Sabaston Cabot (Family Affair) made his way through Phan Thiet during the war.
Actor Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) has received a few sightings in Phan Thiet.
The father of moden Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, spent time as a teacher at the Duc Thanh School in Phan Thiet. A museum and reconstructed school are open to visitors near the central market.
Do you know of a famous or important person who's life has been intertwined with Binh Thuan Province that we may have forgotten? Please contact us and let us know.