Barbara Adam discovers Oishi Town, a Japanese-style street in the heart of Thao Dien. Photos by Angeli Castillo.

Barbara Adam discovers Oishi Town, a Japanese-style street in the heart of Thao Dien. Photos by Angeli Castillo.Phan Van Lanh fell in love with Japan’s culture and lifestyle during the five years he worked in the country as a lighting engineer.

Lanh has created a little slice of Japan here in Ho Chi Minh City’s expat enclave of Thao Dien.

Oishi Town recreates traditional Japanese architecture in the form of a little lantern-lined street of bars, restaurants and retail outlets.

The complex, which contains 18 businesses, took six months and US$250,000 to build, Lanh told AsiaLIFE.

The mix of businesses at Oishi Town means people can spend a whole day there, Lanh said.

The businesses also cross-promote and allow customers to order from any of the other shops in the street. That means you can order a cocktail to be delivered to the spa while you have a foot massage. Or a group of people can enjoy Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese dishes in the central courtyard or inside one of the restaurants.

Oishi Town is right next door to Family Garden, Yoga Pod, and the Thao Dien Sports stadium.

Umezawa Miho from Hem Bar said her staff were more than happy to order and deliver food from other outlets.

The Hem Bar captures the essence of Oishi Town, with its unique mix of Japanese and Vietnamese elements.

The Hem Bar is dedicated to the vibrant and bustling alleys of Ho Chi Minh City, and its walls are lined with images of hem life.

The Hem Bar serves an eclectic selection of salads, pancakes, fruit and cheese and charcuterie boards, along with cocktails, sake, wine and imported beer.

More Japanese dining options at Oishi Town include Takoyaki, which serves takoyaki, a delicious snack that originated in Osaka, Tonkosu Ittou ramen restaurant, Roll sushi restaurant and Maru-Chan Japanese Seafood and Barbecue.

Other food options are Joyful Chicken Korean restaurant, Mekong Vietnamese Cuisine, and Now Saigon, which specialises in pasta and barbecue dishes.

Oishi Town has a capacity for 100 to 200 people, and can host special events by request. Management also organises regular events several times each month.