While the Corona-related shutdowns and “stay home” orders might be causing inconveniences to some of us given the inability to follow our regular lifestyle choices to the same degree; some others in or around our community have been suffering financially to a degree that it might pose existential risks for some business owners.
Especially the sectors who derive a large part of their income from tourism and/or people going out and about are currently forced to keep on going with a fraction of their income.
In these daring times it’s time to pull together as a community and #supportyourlocal.
In our 2nd edition we are covering Tippy’s Mexican Food, which has been one of the favourite spots of our community to enjoy the generously sized Burritos, Tacos and Quesadillas which are prepared on the spot in their original location in District 4.
District 4 is known for Vietnamese street food (oc) but there are few destination restaurants in the area. Tippy’s, on a narrow side street, is one of them. A favorite among English teachers and other expats who come from all over, and popular with small groups of friends gathering over beer and Mexican food.
Tippy’s Mexican Food started serving the Saigonese Foodie Community in early 2016, launched by Christopher Arizaga who has been active in the F&B business in Vietnam since 2011 and recently launched the Online Food Delivery service Andale.vn (more on that in a later article).
Bitcoin Saigon: Hi Christopher! Thanks for taking the time to respond in this challenging time for the F&B industry in Saigon! Our first question: When and how did you decide to enter the F&B space which is known as a very competitive sector to operate in?
Christopher: Hi Bitcoin Saigon, thank you for this opportunity! I ‘fell’ into the F&B business here in Vietnam about 10 years ago, just after I fell in love with Vietnam. I was fortunate enough to have visited twice before I moved here, and as I ended my 2nd holiday in Vietnam, I decided that I just had to live here. So I took a big chance and purchased a small restaurant in Nha Trang while I was still living in Hawaii. I had a 1 month turn around back in the US and made my return with an optimistic heart, head ready to learn, a few hundred bucks in my pocket and a guitar. I had never owned a restaurant before but felt like it was something I could do, so I calculated the risk and went for it.
Bitcoin Saigon: What drove your decision to open your business in Saigon? Is there anything that makes this place a special one for you? Any personal stories you might want to share?
Christopher: Oh so many stories here in Saigon. This city is truly a special place and has a little something for everyone. As I am not much of a story teller, we can save these stories for one’s imagination. But I will say that Saigon has tons of sports clubs and activities, a great selection of local and worldly restaurants, a growing entertainment sector, an infrastructure that makes it easy to get around and some amazing people.
The main reason I came to Saigon was for the business opportunities. At the time, I felt like the demographics of Nha Trang were changing and Saigon had a growing market that was right for me. Saigon is an expanding city chalk full of opportunity and good times. People often tell me this is one of the greatest cities in the world for an easy going person that just wants to enjoy and do their thing. There is plenty of opportunity to find your way, especially for those who travel on a ‘different’ road. Love is in the air and people on the majority kind and compassionate.
Bitcoin Saigon: How has Corona affected your business operations? Do you anticipate any lasting changes in the local F&B industry or do you expect that things will be pretty much up to normal within a few months time?
Christopher: This pandemic has definitely affected my business operations. It has forced the Tippy’s brand to diversify by adding a new cook at home frozen food line and to start selling our tortillas to other restaurants. Unfortunately, a few months into 2020 we lost our lease at the district 7 location so we had to move a restaurant during the pandemic and that was the most difficult part of 2020. I also started working on a food ordering app in December of 2020 and this is quite a challenge, perhaps the most difficult job I have had. And we are actually launching a new delivery only food concept soon so keep your eye out for that.
In regards to the local F&B industry, there will definitely be some long lasting changes. Home delivery is becoming more prevalent and the demographics and financial capacity of people has completely changed. I do see people eating out more as of late and hope that people can ride out the wave while the economy rebuilds itself. I am interested to see what happens over the next few years.
Bitcoin Saigon: Once this whole Corona story is “over”: Why should people come & visit Vietnam?
Christopher: Simple answer, Vietnam is amazing. From the food, manageable weather, beautiful landscapes, easy going lifestyle and infrastructure set up so that one can easily get just about anywhere on a motorbike, people can travel affordably. I wish more of my friends and family were able to enjoy this wonderful place with me.
Bitcoin Saigon: Tippy’s Mexican Food has made itself a name over the years in the local Foodie Community as spot to go for Mexican-style comfort food - what would be your recommendation of the day from the menu?
Christopher: My go to has always been the Steak Burrito Tippy Style, but there are so many options. The fish tacos are a fan favorite and the quesadillas are great for sharing. Our Burrito bowls are a big mix of deliciousness and the salads are great for when you are trying to cut out some carbs. The breakfast burritos and bean and cheese burritos take me back to my childhood. So many options…. The choice is yours my friends. Enjoy them!
Darrell Johnston: “Fresh and filling plates, amazing nachos, hands down best Mexican in town , the staff are always friendly and attentive. It’s cosy.”
David Watson (General Director future.travel):“This place is awesome. It’s my once a week comfort food stop for the best burritos in Southeast Asia. My favourite: chicken burrito, California style, with extra guacamole, and refried beans. They even have A&W Root Beer and Peanut butter and jelly quesadillas for dessert or for children.”
Tomo Huynh: “I have been coming here for years at its hidden Q4 location. It’s my go to spot for burritos and the owner is always welcoming when he sees you unlike a lot of other joints!”
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