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Authorities return rules sign to Saigon’s coolest noodle stall in about-face

Wednesday, April 01, 2015, 17:13 GMT+7

The owner of a Vietnamese noodle stall in Ho Chi Minh City has got back the comical rules sign, which earned the store the “coolest in Saigon” title, from local authorities, who have promised to sanction those having “gone against procedures” to take it away last week.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

Nguyen Hoang Anh Dung and his bun bo (Vietnamese noodle soup with beef) stall has become famous after photos capturing the hilariously written sign and banner at his store went viral on the Internet.

Customers of the stall near a condominium in Ward 1, District 4 are not allowed to criticize the owner behind his back on the Internet, to pay in foreign currencies, and to give negative comments on the dish, according to a set of amusing rules Dung used to hang on the nearby wall.

The 48-year-old man also said in the rules that he allows customers to leave their marriage or house ownership certificates as collateral when they are unable to pay for their meal.

The stall, dubbed “the coolest in Saigon,” went even more viral when a couple of officials from the Ward 1 administration appeared on Thursday last week and seized the rules sign without telling the owner if he had committed any wrongdoings.

Nguyen Thi Hoang Trang, chairwoman of Ward 1, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday the sign had been returned to Dung, and she would “criticize those who removed it” in a meeting scheduled for this week.

Trang said the officials who handled the case “had acted so hastily that they failed to follow the correct procedures.”

“They should have reported to their superior officials before seizing the sign,” Trang elaborated.

The chairwoman said the ward’s administration had settled the case with Dung, who also guaranteed that he would not use the rules sign again.

“Actually Dung should have been fined as he sells on the sidewalk, but we have been flexible in creating conditions for him to continue his business,” Trang added.

The chairwoman said Dung can hang the rules sign again, but if it attracts too many people and thus causes traffic chaos, the ward’s administration will have no choice but to stop it.

The bun bo stall has indeed lured such a huge number of customers, most of whom come out of curiosity, that Dung admitted it is beyond his imagination.

Diners now have to wait to get a spare seat to enjoy the dish, and none are displeased by the slow service.

hiQpl2yw.jpgCustomers patiently wait to try noodles at the coolest stall in Saigon. Photo: Tuoi Tre

What is even more interesting to customers is that the man behind the broth pot used to be a famous singer.

Back in the 1990s, Dung went by the name Hoang Dung and was known as a good singer of Chinese songs with Vietnamese lyrics.

He withdrew from the spotlight in 2000 and became the manager of a boyband, as well as acting as the director, editor, and cameraman for many music videos.

“I miss my singing career sometimes and has thought of getting back to it,” Dung said.

“But I know my age does not permit me to do that.”


Five rules at Saigon’s coolest bun bo stall:

1-      Do not be talkative and criticize the store owner on the Internet.

2-      This is not Hue-style bun bo. You are not allowed to complain even if it tastes awful. You are required to empty the bowl. You have to pay even though you cannot eat it.

3-      When you cannot pay immediately, please leave your home ownership or marriage certificates as collateral. In brief, any kind of paper is accepted, except for the toilet one.

4-      We only accept banknotes with face value of VND500,000 at most. No foreign currencies are accepted.

5-      If you have read all the rules and your bowl is now freezing cold, we are not to blame for that. Thanh kiu [Thank you].

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