Here’s What 2,000,000 Will Get You

The numbers are a little unsettling: a latte at The Coffee Bean will set you back 50,000, a three mile taxi ride 65,000, and a romantic dinner for two in a French garden restaurant a whopping 435,000. Those numbers are Vietnamese Dong, the local currency, and they translate this way – $2.75 for the latte (the coffee culture has hit Saigon like a hammer and there isn’t a Starbucks in sight), $3.50 to part the sea of motorbikes in an new metered Toyota (bargain if there ever was one), and $35 for two steak and frites dinners followed by a pommes d’terre tart and all washed down with a liter of house red. The zeros will only confuse you, so you drop them and divide by 18 to convert to dollars. Saigon seems like a bargain if you’re on a dollar payroll, but it takes awhile to get comfortable with all those zeros.

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