Need to Treat Yourself? Lisa Le Long Knows Saigon’s Best Spots

Lisa Le Long has stepped into the business of pre-owned luxury fashion in Vietnam, after working for L’Officiel fashion magazine for three years and launching the blog Saigon Lifestyle Guide. She works hard but knows how to unwind. We asked the new mum where her choice spots are.

Read on in Vietnamese

“I always say that everything happens for a reason,” Lisa Le Long advises, “so the trick is to never think too much.” When Lisa got the opportunity to leave France to work in Vietnam, she didn’t think twice before leaving to embark on her adventure.

That was five years ago when Lisa Le Long arrived in Vietnam to work for the fashion magazine L’Officiel as their marketing and event manager. During her time there, she rubbed elbows with celebrities and influencers from the fashion and beauty business industries. It ignited her career.

Stylish Lisa Le Long moved to Vietnam to work with fashion magazine L’Officiel.

Lisa was surrounded by a sea of young and talented startup enthusiasts too. So she took the connections, contacts and tech-savvy and started the elegant Saigon Lifestyle Guide website and social media channels. The “guide for living” is filled with suggestions for weekend getaways, restaurants and bars, home decor and shopping. All curated by someone who knows – Lisa Le Long.

Its success led Lisa to push herself further. “There’s no such thing as a failure when you’re trying your best,” Lisa encourages the green hands in the industry. While conducting a sale event for her Saigon Lifestyle Guide, Lisa got acquainted with a woman who wanted to sell her pre-owned luxury items.

That meeting confirmed Lisa’s hunch: that there was a market for selling pre-owned luxury goods in Vietnam. So she launched RE.LOVED, an eco-conscious community based on pre-owned luxury goods with certified sellers and satisfied buyers.

Lisa hopes the business can eradicate the distrust surrounding counterfeits in the re-sale market by working with industry experts she met throughout her time here.

Thus, RE.LOVED was born. The company covers the pick-up and drop-off of products, authentication checks, product photoshoots, sales services and hand delivery. “The company’s eco-conscious mission is to give a second life to pre-owned luxury pieces. Shop green and save the planet!” Lisa exclaims.

Knowing Lisa Le Long’s love of luxury we reached out to Saigon Boat Company. They specialise in relaxing river tours and cruises along the Saigon river and so they were the perfect choice for our shoot with the founder of Saigon Lifestyle Guide and RE.LOVED.

“Who am I? I am Lisa, a fearless and strong female entrepreneur and mum.”

At a networking party, how would you introduce yourself? 

I am Lisa, a fearless and strong female entrepreneur and mum. And I don’t let anyone dictate my path and have no fear of failure.

Also, I have a big heart and listen well to others. Plus, I have an uncompromising sense of self and demand that the people around me hold themselves to similarly high standards. I have a conviction that allows me to take opportunities when they arise.

Lisa Le Long sailing the river on one of the Saigon Boat Company’s beautiful boats.

Take me through a day in the life of Lisa Le Long.

I wake up everyday at 6am. Motivation starts with self-discipline. You cannot expect to do something that makes a difference in the world if you have no motivation. Coffee helps. I will never leave my house without having my cup of coffee. When I arrived at the office, it is important to first decide where am I going today and what project will be the day’s focus. This practice gives me a direction, so I don’t get lost. 

I am currently working closely with my assistant to answer all requests and questions from sellers and buyers who approached us wanting to use the RE.LOVED platform. It’s exciting to see how our company grows every day. I revel in the challenges. The ups and downs I face make me who I am. Being an entrepreneur is being on a roller coaster everyday, and it is the adrenaline that feeds you. 

Lunchtime is a very important time for me. I believe breaks give you balance. Relaxation is important. I avoid ordering delivery, but I always end up wasting time searching on food apps. Ordering food also results in the use of lots of single-use plastics. So I cook the majority of my meals. Also, I love cooking!

A good lunch break makes for good work during the rest of the afternoon. I try not to be too hard on myself, so after work, I completely divorce myself from anything work-related. Whether I had a good day or a bad day, I allow myself a nice glass of wine in a nice place or a fancy dinner in one of my favourite restaurants. This way, I can restart over and over again without burning out.

“You’re bound to have the time of your life in Saigon.”

What do you see yourself doing in the next couple of years? Why this direction?

In a couple years, I see myself still here in Vietnam and still running RE.LOVED. By then, I expect RE.LOVED to be running at a higher level. In other words, it will be well-developed throughout Vietnam. After that, I plan to reach across Vietnam’s borders to countries such as Cambodia. And through that garner the attention of international pre-owned luxury platforms that would be interested in taking over RE.LOVED. 

Can you describe the city in a few sentences?

Saigon is a city where everything is possible. Anything you desire, you can have. Anything you need to do, there will be people to help you out. It is also a city where you can’t get bored. There are always new places to check out.

You’re bound to have the time of your life in Saigon.

Where should we go to feel good?

As a French person, I love cheese. If I ever need to cheer up a bit, I will always have comfort foods like baked camembert. Or I will head to Le Padam or Cocotte for a small tartiflette, a potato dish with lots of melted cheese. The baked camembert is about 220K VNDand the small tartiflette is about 190K VND. 

Where do we go for street food?

For street food, I will always go to Vinh Khanh street in District 4 which I discovered while living in the area. It’s an amazing place – a street with all kinds of street food, bustling with people. I love it so much because you meet all kinds of people here. Locals, expats, tourists, families, friends and couples all flock here to enjoy good food. 

If I had to give you the address of a specific place, it would be Hoa Quan on 39 Vinh Khanh street. This is the real deal. Hoa Quan has plenty of traditional dishes from hot pot to cha ca (fish cake) to BBQ. Plus, the staff is very nice, especially when you get to know them personally. You can order plenty of dishes and eat like kings but still easily pay less than 300K VND.

“Take a date to The Deck,” Lisa Le Long advises.

Where should we take a date?

The best place to take a date – especially a first date you want to impress – is The Deck. It’s literally a deck right on the Saigon River, so you can enjoy the running views while dining. It is a perfect place to have after dinner and drinks with good music.

Another option would be Social Club Saigon. This place has jazz nights, a brunch club, and a great happy hour, so you can decide the dynamic of your date. And the rooftop offers one of the best city views you can get – always good during a date.

Where should we go for lunch or brunch?

I have two favorite places for brunch, both in District 2. The first one is The Vintage Emporium. They approached me to be featured on Saigon Lifestyle Guide. This is how I heard about the place. Now, I can’t stop brunching there. Quite different from the one in District 1, the one in District 2 has impressive interior design in the Indochina colonial style. I always appreciate good taste. The food is also super healthy, delicious and one-of-a-kind. 

The other place I love is L’Herbanyst in District 2 for its jungly vibe and concept. The villa-like setting is beautifully welcoming. For anyone who walks in, it feels like home. It has quirky and colorful decor. L’Herbanyste is one of the rare places that offer healthy vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. I’m consistently impressed with every dish I order. Plus, you can enjoy their swimming pool for free, have a funny photoshoot at their studio and even enjoy a skincare treatment on their first floor. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing, revitalizing day.

Lisa Le Long cruising the Saigon river and looking across to new developments in Thu Thiem.

Which district should we hang out in? And which should we shop in?

It depends on what kind of experience you’re going for. If you want to go for a stroll, have a nice lunch, do some home decor shopping, and drink a nice coffee, I will say District 2 and Thao Dien. 

For a full-on shopping day, there are the District 1 streets of Vo Van Tan and Nguyen Trai where you have plenty of local brands as well as international brands to shop.

Where can we drink the best coffee?

I am not sure if it is the absolute best coffee in town, but I really like going to Phin & Bean on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai. They offer a broad range of different – and creative – kinds of coffee beverages. I also like to go to The Running Bean on Ho Tung Mau in District 1 to work and have a coffee.

“Go to Bam Bam to party! The place has a fun vibe, stunning interior design, great music and excellent food.”

Where should I go on a Friday night?

Go to Bam Bam! The place has a fun vibe, stunning interior design, great music and excellent food. This is a fairly new place and definitely a must-try. It’s where you can meet party people who really know how to enjoy themselves with friends.

What should I buy as a gift?

The ceramic cups from Amaï. It is pretty expensive but the design is so unique. I admire the designer. His touch is minimalistic but impressive. You can choose from the prettiest array colours. It is the perfect gift. Plus, every time your friends drink their coffee, they will think of you!

Photos by Nam Tran Duy and Khooa Nguyen. Book tours and cruises with our friends at Saigon Boat Company at their website and Facebook.

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