Semih Sayginer’s Ho Chi Minh City

Semih Saygıner is a 3-ball player who has introduced 42 special techniques for hitting the ball into the billiards literature. We asked him about Ho Chi Minh City, where he won the Asia Championship.

What surprised you in Ho Chi Minh City?
The French influence is perceptible in the buildings at the city center and in some of the old areas of settlement. A church named for the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris and looking a lot like it rises at the most beautiful spot on the city square. Vietnam is the only place in the world where you see literally thousands of motorcycles in the traffic. And the motorcycle valet service in front of the classiest restaurants is quite interesting.

How did you like the local cuisine?
It seems very different when you first try it, but it grows on you. When you go to a local restaurant, you are offered greens that look like the leaves of trees. When you eat them they all have a different taste. The Vietnamese make a sort of meat, chicken or fish wrap with a gelatinous pastry called rice paper that they soften in water. Although the restaurants offer a wide variety of fish, catfish seems to be the favorite. And the most popular soup is pho. Tropical fruits also have an important place in Vietnamese cuisine.

What would you recommend to people traveling to Vietnam?
Vietnam is a really beautiful and unusual country. There are many places to see, but there is one that is an absolute must: the historic underground tunnels of Cu Chi that wind below the country’s majestic forests.