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Longread: Vietnam: Beyond the stereotype

Vietnam is awash with antiquated and orientalist fantasies. Travel media outlets manufacture nostalgia for a colonial heirloom with crowded street kitchens and conical hat-wearing hawkers. Foreign travel companies overrepresent Vietnam’s beaches as if the country exists to serve sun-starved Northeast Asians and Europeans. And although Vietnam has been at peace for over four decades, American films continue to portray a perilous place reeling from war.

As discerning visitors, we should explore the history that forged Vietnam as well as the geography that defines it. But we should also be mindful of perpetuated fallacies and remain open to exploring Vietnam’s dynamic energy and modern aspirations..

Published December 29, 2020.

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Penang, Malaysia

Time to eat