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Cigars in Saigon

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Once upon a time in America a man could sit down with complete strangers and set aside the cares of the world.

Some men were CEOs, others were blue collar workers, and some of us were students. All were welcome and status did not matter.

Even women were welcome, and in fact the sight of a woman smoking a cigar was seen as a unicorn.

In the cigar lounge there was a certain brotherhood. Some even called it the “brotherhood of the leaf.”

I smoked cigars with Axl Rose and helped David Arquette choose the best cigars for his home humidor. In a cigar lounge, no one is a celebrity or rich guy. Everyone was equal.

I fell out of the cigar scene as smoking restrictions became more severe.

In an effort to protect workers’ health, California enacted various draconian smoking bans. No one would be allowed to smoke indoors, even if the employees had no issues with inhaling second-hand cigar smoke. (I happen to enjoy it!)

Even owners were prohibited from working around cigars. In a nation of obese people, you’d think we’d have bigger issues to address than cigar lounges.

Some of us viewed attacks on cigar lounges as a broader attack on masculinity. Men would go to the lounge to “get away from it all,” to kick our feet up in peace and quiet.

I’ve re-discovered my love of cigars in Saigon.

Like many Americans, I’ve learned the “communist countries” my government told me to fear offer more freedom than the land of the free and home of the brave.

My two favorite cigar lounges in Saigon are SIQAR and the Saigon Cigar Club.

As any cigar aficionado knows, there are more counterfeit Cuban cigars circulating than there are authentic ones. It was thus of paramount importance for me to interview the owners of the respective cigar lounges.

Last week I had a detailed discussion about cigar sources and counterfeits with the owner of the Saigon Cigar Club.

Today I had the pleasure to discuss cigars with the owners of SIQAR and can confirm their cigars are authentic. They order from a reliable source and unboxed a sealed box of Cohiba Behike, two of which I enjoyed.

(FYI, I don’t do sponsored posts or talk to anyone before reviewing their establishment. This is entirely unpaid.)

Drinking a Vietnamese milk coffee while writing and smoking.

milk coffee vietnam cigars

“A cigar oughtt not to be smoked solely with the mouth, but with the hand, the eyes, and with the Spirit.” – Zino Davidoff

A cigar is smoked with the soul

A fresh box of Cohiba Behike at SIQAR in Saigon.

Cohiba Behike Saigon SIQAR

SIQAR’s humidor is well stocked with a selection of Dominican cigars like Fuente and Padron as well as Cuban cigars.

SIQAR humidor Saigon Cuban cigars

The Saigon Cigar Club has a full selection of whisky and Cuban cigars.

whiskey and Cuban Cigars

Women are welcome at cigar lounges, too.

Cigars and women in Saigon Vietnam

One life. Enjoy!

IMG_7776

For more information, check out SIQAR on Facebook and the Saigon Cigar Club’s website.

Do you smoke cigars?

If so, what’s your favorite cigar?

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26 Comments
  • Alexander

    I’m not much of a cigar guy, but one of my favorite places to go when I lived in Fresno was a seedy hookah lounge. Love to order a couple of huge plates of Lebanese food and share apple hookah with friends for a few hours.

    • Hookah lounges are great.

    • Texeira

      Lebanese food and good smoke sounds so awesome.

  • Mike, how was Axl Rose in person? Are you considering living abroad?

  • Mike,

    I love a good cigar. Probably why I named my detective series “Cigars and Legs” (“Cigars and Tits” doesn’t flow as well!) I’ve not yet smoked a Cuban, but I really dig the Montecristo’s available here, as well as Cuesta Rey. I’m not hugely brand loyal, though — CAO, Cohiba, I’ve got some of a lot of different brands in the humidor.

    I love to pair it with a good Scotch or other whisk(e)y, but they go with lots of stuff. What’s your preferred drink with a cigar?

    • Japanese whiskeys are my favorite – Yamazaki and Hibiki.

  • Jesus

    Cigars really are a pleasure to enjoy – in the right place and in the right company. It’s amazing how many interesting people I’ve met, how many friends I’ve made, and how many crazy good times I’ve had just from sharing a cigar among strangers.

    My absolute favorite is a Cuban Romeo y Julieta Churchill. Although, I haven’t tried a Partagas yet…

  • The best cigar I ever smoked was a Dominican Romeo Y Julieta over a bon fire with my father and grandfather. Cigars really are a mans past time. Mike you’re the man, love the post

    Best Regards

  • Thank you for this post Mike – I certainly understand the appeal of cigars a lot more now. Previously, in my mind, I had them linked with cigarettes – a vice I’ve never been able to understand.

    I also did a bit more research and learned about how they are rolled from five leaves, and take years to grow and make.

    Are you perhaps able to recommend a “beginners” cigar?

    • C1263

      I’ll chime in here as a moderately experienced cigar smoker-Arturo Fuente is what I started on. Well-known and well-respected brand with a wide range of cigars. Don’t hesitate to ask the cigar shop owner or employees! They’re incredibly knowledgable and love nothing more than helping new people get into the hobby. Cheers.

  • 2 quick corrections, if I may.

    Zino Davidoff, not Zion

    Padron is Nicaraguan

    Love the article. Cigar lounges are one of the few remaining places men from all walks of life will hang out together. Most other places you hang out (country club, business club, family activity) are going to have men mostly like you.

    • Thanks. When did Padron stop making cigars in Honduras?

      • I believe Honduran production was just a temporary situation in the 70s as a solution to problems in Nicaragua at the time.

  • Texeira

    For me I dont smoke anything all that much but if I were to smoke I prefer good California hydro weed over cigars. Real Cubans are awesome and pair well with red wine or whiskey on the rocks. But think what all that acid does to your ph levels. As for Cigarettes they aren’t even an option IMO- too gross.

  • Allen

    Hey Mike,
    I was looking at the old D&P archives man and Im almost 33 now man. You wrote a lot about game.

    I never saw this issue discussed-
    What age you think is a cut off for most men to game girls in their 20s?

    Have you know Guys with ok careers at older ages still gaming prime 20 somethings?

    Your of Russian extraction- do FSU. Countries 20 something girls still date and bang guys if they’re older as Lon as their responsible and take care of the girls?

    • That’s more suitable for D&P. Cernovich dot com is for travel and marketing type stuff, more family-friendly.

  • Seamus

    Mike, you must this Irish Whiskey “Green Spot” – it is so smooth yet complex.
    Green Spot was described by whiskey writer Jim Murray as “unquestionably one of the world’s great whiskeys.”[1]
    https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/green-spot-single-pot-still-whiskey/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Spot_%28whiskey%29

  • Kevin

    Uncle Mike,
    Do you have any travel aspirations for living in Latin America or Europe?

    • Might end up in Croatia for a bit. I would love to see Argentina, too.

  • I am still a proper n00b with cigars, i usually buy the packages with 4-6 different brands. Enjoy it a lot, incredible relaxing together with a glass of whisky and a friend – or alone. I cant really make out the different flavours yet, but they taste different for sure.

  • Thomas Quinn

    Just ordered a few cigars for my 20th coming up. Mild and medium just to start out. Looking forward to trying it out!

  • Joe

    By no means am I any kind of authority or expert on cigars Prior to last year, I was a once-a-year cigar guy; now I’m a once or twice a month guy. The last one I had was a Montecristo White Label, which I’d never had before, but which I am really looking forward to having again. Very smooth.

  • Joe

    By no means am I any kind of authority or expert on cigars. Prior to last year, I was a once-a-year cigar guy; now I’m a once or twice a month guy. The last one I had was a Montecristo White Label, which I’d never had before, but which I am really looking forward to having again. Very smooth.

  • Sunny

    Hey Mike!

    Glad you’re enjoying your time. Really hit a spot when you said, “Like many Americans, I’ve learned the “communist countries” my government told me to fear offer more freedom than the land of the free and home of the brave.” As each day passes, I am experiencing more and more freedom. With more freedom, I’ve been able to slowly absorb the abundance mentality compared to when I was in the States working a nice-tidy white collar job. It’s strange! Going on my 18th month here and I don’t know when I’ll be returning to the US (to live). Leaving the system/laid-out plan (aka: the American rat-race) is easily the best decision of my life so far. Well, actually, I might just be living the American Dream abroad. Thanks to you, B&D, and the book Think and Grow Rich for reinforcing my idea to get free.

    I hope one day we can cross paths along with Vic @ B&D.

    Cheers and best regards,

    Sunny

Living Vietnam

A Day (and Night) in the Life of Saigon

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I’ve travelled enough to not get goo-goo eyes for each new city. We all know the type, “OMG! THIS PLACE IS AMAZING I AM GOING TO LIVE HERE.”

Well. Oh my.

Saigon is amazing. I. Live. Here.

Saigon has a vibe as all cities do.

Saigon has a fair amount of chaos and disarray, which excites me. I approach each new day without expectations.

Here are some photographs of Saigon I’ve taken.

Enjoy!

Saigon is humanity.

Light traffic in Saigon

Saigon is narrow streets.

Saigon street

Saigon is work.

Coffe shop and cafe in Saigon

Saigon is a lot of coffee.

Vietnamese coffee Saigon

Saigon is traffic.

Moto in Saigon

Saigon is new games.

Chinese chess

Saigon is walking.

Saigon streets

Saigon is riding.

shark moto bike saigon

Saigon is good food.

pho in Saigon Vietnam

Saigon is service.

The Saigon Cigar Club

Saigon is open air.

Tran Hung Dao statue Saigon

Saigon is water.

Saigon river at sunset

Saigon is a city.

Saigon sunset city skyline

Saigon is life.

Saigon is whatever you want it to be.

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Living Vietnam

Enjoying the Beaches of Hội An, Vietnam

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The “motorcycle gang” started off in Huế en route to Hội An, and the trip was worth it. Hoi An was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited. The weather was cool and breezy.

Wikipedia will tell you all the high-brow facts of Hoi An. For example, “Hội An is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hội An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.”

We came for the beaches, custom suits, and swag bags.

I’ve been to many of the world’s best beaches like Cabo and Miami, and of course I lived in Los Angeles for over a decade.

While there isn’t a party scene, the beaches of Vietnam are equally beautiful.

Hoi An Vietnam beach

Check out this coastline.

hoi an beach

You can also shop for custom suits and leather travel bags in Hoi An.

 I had food poisoning and didn’t get a suit made, unlike these two handsome men.

custom suits hoi an vietnam

I’ll be back later in the year for a custom tailor job.

I was able to pick up a handmade leather bag.

In “money see, monkey do” fashion, all four of us bought a leather travel bag.

leather travel bag

You got a problem, bro?

cow hoi an

Old Town Hoi An by day.

old town hoi an boats

Old Town Hoi An by night.

old town hoi an at night

Looking at city lights reflecting off of the water while enjoying a cool breeze is one of life’s simple pleasures.

old town hoi an lake night

We stayed at the Alma Courtyard in Hoi An. The stay included a huge breakfast spread and a massage.

The view of Alma Courtyard during the day.

Alma Courtyard Hoi An Vietnam

Time to unwind.

alma courtyard hoi an at night

It’s a long and winding road.

long and winding road hoi an

Some travel by oxen.

oxen hoi an

Others by boat.

boats hoi an vietnam

And still others travel by bike.

scooter hoi an vietnam

By the way, I enabled comments. You’re welcome to post any comments or questions below.

You can also check out my other websites.

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Living Vietnam

What’s it Like Living in Saigon, Vietnam

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When you tell people you’re moving to Vietnam, they look at you like you’re crazy. Aren’t you afraid of crime and stuff and won’t you miss living in the United States?

Fortunately for me, all of my friends already know I’m off the reservation and no one gave me any static about the move.

People are asking me, “What’s it like living in Vietnam?”

Vietnam is a geographically diverse country. Like California, you can go out to an exotic nightclub, enjoy great dining, or chill at the beach.

I’ve been visiting as many of Vietnam’s great towns and cities as possible, and even took a several hours motobike ride down the coast.

Thus far I’ve been to:

  • Phong Nha – a national park with Jurassic park like scenery.
  • Nha Trang (entry forthcoming) – a beach town with cool sea breezes and a chill vibe.
  • Hoi An (Motorbiking from Hue to Hoi An) – a beach town where you can also get custom suits made.
  • Hanoi – full of hippies and backpackers.
  • Saigon – I live here!

I’ve set up residence in Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon).

Saigon is a major metropolitan area with 8 million people. You can find anything in Saigon, as illustrated in a day in the life of Mike Cernovich.

  • Wake up in 3-story mansion in quiet, almost rural area.
  • Go to cafe with large tables, great coffee, great breakfast, and excellent wifi.
  • Get a massage. (Happy endings are less common than you’d think; those types of massage parlors are in the backpacker district, which I avoid.)
  • Hit the gym. (Vietnamese gyms are lacking in the heavy weight department, as dumb bells top off at 80 pounds. But the gyms are spacious and clean)
  • Grab a fresh-pressed beet-and-carrot juice for some post-workout recovery.
  • Stop by supermarket for food or anything else needed at home.

Nearly half of the 8 million people living in Saigon are under 35, giving the city a youthful vibe. (NY Times, “36 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City.”)

That energy is felt in the cafe scene, which runs deep. (James Clark, “The incredible cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.”)

This looks like a cozy living room. It’s actually Cucuta Coffee, one of Saigon’s incredible cafes.

Mike Cernovich coffee

An English breakfast in Vietnam.

English breakfast Saigon

Meet the chefs.

street food Saigon

You can find street food to cook yourself.

IMG_6753

Or you can enjoy some sashimi at an elegant Japanese fusion restaurant.

sashimi Saigon

Which Cuban cigar would you like to enjoy after dinner?

Cuban cigar Saigon Vietnam

Some call me a douchebag. I call myself a man who enjoys life.

Mike Cernovich cigar

 

I’ll be writing more about Saigon in the coming weeks.

This is a huge city with several different districts, each of which have their own character.

Feel free to post any questions or comments you have in the comments below.

P.S. If you like these travel pics, check out Mike Cernovich’s Instagram.

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