Brunch w/ a bunch (of jamers)


It’s my first time at  Van’s Cafe, 46 Pham Ngoc Thach, District 1 Saigon on Sunday morning. And I found myself walking into the door with 2 musicians I know: Mr Hai, on base guitar, and Quoc Dat (blind but extremely gifted jazz pianist, and a student of my now deceased friend.).

Before I knew it, people with guitars, chains in their jeans, rings in their ears, started to fill the room.

It’s a very rare place, if not, the only place where everybody knows your name (Saigon version of Cheers) . But you have to shout over their perfectly set acoustic.

Two sweetest Singaporeans, twice my size, recommended “banh mi bo kho”on the menu (that was before the owner, Khac Trieu, also multi-talented: drummer, vocalist, guitarist, clarinetist and keyboardist, ordered beef wasabi, Van’s Cafe new item).

The lead vocalist is named Rex, from the Philippines. He sings in English, Korean and Vietnamese (or trying).

My fear of  being new at Sunday jamming was dissipated, when Quoc Dat, with my help to get to the piano, started his jazz numbers.

World-renown photographer showed up, with Vietnamese wife and his daughter (who I had eye contact with to help me jump-start my Beatles‘ Imagine number). Other expats followed suit.

You can never guess what would happen at Sunday Jamming, or at night on the 2nd floor with scheduled Rockers, French singers (BTW, Christophe is in town here in Saigon this weekend), DJ at half time and open-mike jammers at midnight.

That’s when I met our regular clubbers-turned-friends like Willie and Warren, Danny and Bill.

And of all people, my friend from childhood also showed up. Apparently all roads lead to Rome for music lovers.

So come, for the food and the fun, the music and musicians. You won’t be disappointed as I have found out.

But don’t come too early. Live music starts at 9:30PM 7 nights a week. With Sunday morning, we can call it 8 days a week at Van’s Cafe here in HCMC. See you one of these beautiful sundays or, if you want to dance too, then after 9:30PM 7 days a week.

“You may say that I am a dreamer. But I am not the only one. We hope someday you’ll join us…..”

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