Being Open About Mental Health Working In The Challenging Food & Beverage Industry

Episode 8 - Jovel Chan

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Perfect for people with hearing issues or non-native speakers. This transcript is made by AI so is not 100% accurate.

[00:00:00] Niall Mackay: Welcome to another episode in season seven, 7 million Bikes A Vietnam podcast. If you are listening to this or you’re watching on YouTube, you will know, know we have passed 20,000 downloads that actually puts us in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide. So thank you so, so much to everyone who supported every guest, every listener, every sing, every single person Lewis, right?
[00:00:23] My wife Adrie Lopez that have been involved live when we couldn’t be here without you. So thank you so so much.
[00:00:29] This is online live podcast, live podcasts. Now my guest today, she is a food marketer, an industry speaker. She has a decade of working, living and eating across Europe, Asia, and the middle east, and has managed more than 50 restaurants, which we’re going to delve into deeper than someone who clearly young has managed more than 50 ranch.
[00:00:57] But I don’t think I’ve eaten in 50 restaurants, but she’s managed to get,
[00:01:05] become a member of the 7 million bikes community and you’ll get free tickets to our event. Three 7 million bikes face masks episodes, a DLA behind the scenes content and invades this special events for community members. The link is in the show description. So check it out and join today. Thank you so much to our existing community members.
[00:01:23] We look forward to seeing you again soon this season with gifted sponsorship of a Vietnam podcast to two amazing charities, close to our heart, the blue dragon children’s foundation and the north and Saigon children’s charity in this. Please check out the links in the description to learn more about these amazing organizations and donate.
[00:01:42] If you can enjoy the episode and thanks for listening,
[00:01:52] Jovel Chan: well,
[00:01:57] Niall Mackay: welcome to new. We at Bates Vietnam cast sees it civic. This is ours stacking ever online live podcast or live podcasts. Now my guest today, she is a bridge marketer writer and industry speaker. She has a decade of working, living, and eating across Europe, Asia, and the middle east, and has managed more than 50 restaurants.
[00:02:24] Delve into deeper than someone who clearly young has managed more than 50 ranch. I don’t think I’ve eaten in 50 restaurants, but she’s managed more than 50. Not only that in 10 different countries in head of marketing rules today, she’s the founder of, Vietnam’s only dedicated for the beverage industry blog called Google channel and podcast.
[00:02:47] She’s regularly featured in the media and speak to industry conferences and workshops. And she’s only been in Saigon a relatively short time. She’s from Singapore originally, and she has been a massive impact immediately on the food and beverage industry. So if you don’t know, her is already, my guest today is Chan.
[00:03:06] Thank you for joining us
[00:03:07] Jovel Chan: as well. Thank you for having me and it’s super solid introduction. I think you introduced me better than I’ve ever spoken to or introduced by itself.
[00:03:17] Niall Mackay: Well, you know, I’m a professional podcaster with moving civic seasons and 20,000 downloads. So, you know, I
[00:03:24] Jovel Chan: know that if I ever talked to you one day and have to introduce you
[00:03:27] Niall Mackay: So this is the difference as well with a live podcast.
[00:03:31] That’s going to be as we were just talking before you came on, before you come on the call for Annie and Pippa, the ASEAN, they’re all members of the 7 million Bates community, which means they get access to special bonus content. And so I was editing the next step this summer, which will come up next week.
[00:03:47] And I had all this bonus content that made me laugh so much that I send it to them immediately. So what will normally happen is I honestly will normally cut about the first 20 minutes of every test cause we talk so much nonsense and then cut a whole bunch of other stuff to try and make it And no long, which is still really long.
[00:04:06] So I have to cut it out someday to two hours. The best thing about the live podcast is we can cut all this nonsense and stuff like that. So you guys get to listen to the Ansel, to an edited nonsense that we get to talk about and we’re having abuse or so who knows, but so Duval, I’ve given you an introduction to question 50 restaurants, spleen.
[00:04:30] Jovel Chan: I know, I feel like you, you, you asked me this over messenger. You’re like, there’s no way you that 50 restaurants. And I feel like, you know what, this is a, nobody has ever questioned this before, right away, but it’s really good that you pointed it out. So I spent a big amount of time in the middle east.
[00:04:52] My formative career years with that. And like I mentioned, I walked from one restaurant group to another restaurant group to another restaurant group, which went from three restaurants to eight restaurants to at the peak of my career. I was head of marketing for a franchise group, which had, you know, nearly 28 restaurants in eight countries.
[00:05:15] So that, that really is the biggest chunk of the restaurant. Yes. So after that it was, you know, the restaurant group with 10 and then another restaurant group of six and slowly bit by bit. It was it’s about 50.
[00:05:32] Niall Mackay: Yeah. Yeah. I also said to you in the message, how old are you that you’ve managed 50 restaurants?
[00:05:39] Cause you look about 22 and it’s like, how do have you mad? You’re one of these you’ll as well that I came in here. Just these massively high achievers, like how have you to give us more of your background? How have you obviously had a lot of success work with massive, massive international brands? Many 50 restaurants in 10 different countries.
[00:06:00] How did you get to that point at an elite? You said you’re a lady, so you’re not going to share your age. How have you,
[00:06:09] Jovel Chan: for sure, definitely.
[00:06:12] Niall Mackay: But how have you achieved that much at such a relatively young age? I think that when, you know, I, like I said, I think when I was in the middle east that. It was just in land of opportunity when I was in the middle east, you know that was at the peak of when hotels were just being built every single month.
[00:06:37] Jovel Chan: There was a new restaurant every single week. So we’re constantly looking for people and I just was able to really move and jump and jump and jump. Whereas in a place like Singapore, people typically stay in south end positions for like 10, 15 years. Right. So I think that I was just in a very, I was just in the land of opportunities where, you know, I’m coming from.
[00:07:00] A hospitality background. And I think, you know, I did a, I did a podcast with Connor over here. He knows that basically the first five years when I was in the middle east I will went to night school, like every single day, not every single day, but I went to night school for almost like two or three years that was like walking and studying constantly doing like a ton of different courses, trying to make sure that I was constantly able to move up and move up and move up.
[00:07:27] Yeah. So I told myself that I was only going to leave the middle east by a certain age when I was the head of marketing and earning assets in pneumonia. So yeah, I think when I was a lot younger, I had a lot more energy to constantly just keep going, going, going, going, going.
[00:07:43] Niall Mackay: Yeah. I mean, I had lots of nano do when I was young and I manage even 1% of that.
[00:07:50] So I am always, I am very, I’m impressed when people like yourself can do things like that. It’s interesting though. And it’s not like putting down your achievements as well. I think anytime that you asked that, or anytime I hear that question asked of anyone who’s been successful in the industry from music to R or whatever it is, or, or food and beverage, the world, you said there was like the right Kenneth taming, like opportunity.
[00:08:17] Yeah. That doesn’t mean that doesn’t take a week of your achievement. Cause one of the things that frustrates me is when someone says I’m lucky or whatnot, you went the kit, you worked all to be in the right position at the right time. Like if you hadn’t done the night school, if you hadn’t done all the hard work that you’d done.
[00:08:33] When that opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been able to take it. So it’s not, and I’m not sort of, but it’s interesting though, how you, you just need that rate taming rate at the same time with, with the airflow?
[00:08:45] Jovel Chan: Yeah, definitely. I think like I was just so committed to what I knew I wanted to achieve that there was just no way that I was not going to allow myself to not get there.
[00:08:58] And I just, you know, really saw like, I’m constantly thinking, what do I need to do to get to where I want to be? And so just kept going and going. When I first moved to the middle east I didn’t make a lot of money. I was really just, you know, like just a beginner level, but I wanted to eat at really nice restaurants.
[00:09:19] And so I apply to be a full writeup. Pretty famous, like not pretty famous, but dislike food blogger in the middle east. And I applied and I said, I want to write for you because I want to eat at nice restaurants.
[00:09:36] Niall Mackay: That is, yeah.
[00:09:39] Jovel Chan: And that gave me a leg up and then two food writing and holding my skill. And it’s the same for, I really like to indoor cycle and I couldn’t afford to indoor cycle.
[00:09:50] So I said, I want to be an instructor here on
[00:09:54] Niall Mackay: a minute. Hold on. Yeah. I have never held this sentence said before in my life. I like indoor
[00:10:02] Jovel Chan: cycle. Yeah. I like in the recycle, I go over, what’s really into indoor cycling and doing yoga, but I was so poorly. When I was 21 too, but yeah, I love it.
[00:10:14] Niall Mackay: Doing yoga is fine.
[00:10:16] I love indoor cycling.
[00:10:18] Jovel Chan: I love cycling.
[00:10:21] Niall Mackay: Cycling is you get somewhere and you see something and like, all right, well, that’s a new one. Did you ever go to the soapy restaurant?
[00:10:33] Jovel Chan: No, I never
[00:10:37] Niall Mackay: did not like homo hop. Steve, what is that lake
[00:10:39] Jovel Chan: 20,000. Yeah, it’s ridiculous. I don’t, I think that’s just gimmicky kind of think for a fresh truck,
[00:10:48] Niall Mackay: even here at the hard rock cafe, they had a Google play teat or gold.
[00:10:52] Co-teach like a hamburger, which was later callously expensive. And you know, we did comedy. She was there instead of session, I said to the staff, was it, have you tied it? And they were like, yeah, yeah, we have. And I was like, is it good enough? I mean, it’s the same. It doesn’t really tease any different. It’s just got some gold flakes on it.
[00:11:11] Jovel Chan: That’s a lot of food gimmicks out there. And I have my own thoughts about these things. I don’t post it on there. Like have any interest in paying like a thousand dollars for like a steak or anything, you know?
[00:11:23] Niall Mackay: Yeah. Yeah. It’s crazy. Isn’t it? He can tell us a bit more than what was that like living in the middle east, because we actually were very close to moving to, oh man, leave.
[00:11:37] We’re going to leave Vietnam. We we’d already packed up of stuff. We’d given up our apartment, we’d sold a bunch of stuff and we were going to slowly tubal man. And then I got off of the. Which I was sorry. I knew Joe became available that I applied for. I got the job and then that led us to know still living yield.
[00:11:58] So had you, have you ever been to a man or where were
[00:12:01] Jovel Chan: you with? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I went to my, I lived in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for about five yards. Yeah. And then moved to Malaysia and then I moved here and living in the middle east is great. Right? Like it’s this new land, it’s a lot going on to concrete jungle.
[00:12:21] There’s so much glitz and glam as long money. Hospitality is great. Yeah, so it was really fun to be that. But there’s always a glass ceiling, I think, for a woman in the hospitality industry and especially in the middle east. So when I came to a point in my career, I kind of knew that I couldn’t really break through.
[00:12:38] So the things not because I wasn’t talented or hardworking, it just really boils down to race language. And so I said, okay, probably go back to Asia. Yeah.
[00:12:53] Niall Mackay: So break, break that down for me a little bit more poke. Is that like eventually, like you’ll just, you’ll just pass over for promotion or is it like things people see, like how do you know that you’ve hit that glass ceiling?
[00:13:06] Jovel Chan: I think that like generally the hospitality industry is quite patriotic kind of issue. Right? It’s largely male dominated. And that in itself is already quite hot to be at say a, a female in a management position or decision-making position. And especially in the middle east where it, the culture itself is quite patriarchal.
[00:13:28] And then you slap on the fact that that’s also, you know, the, the, the Islamic culture, which is a little bit more that fever. Yeah, on a little bit, like never quote me on this, but you know, that there is definitely like you know a hierarchy, right. Does the hierarchy. So I think that when you’re like, when I was living there, it just felt as if though, you know I wasn’t able to break through or get the kind of recognition or to a kind of respect or to be taken seriously, just for many of these factors.
[00:14:03] Yeah. And that’s why I said I think it would be a lot easier. Not that I was looking for something easy, but it was just, you know, for what I wanted to do or the kind of impact that I wanted to make, it would be better in Asia and more valuable in Asia.
[00:14:25] Niall Mackay: So what has attracted you to the food and beverage industry that.
[00:14:31] Jovel Chan: I think from young, like I’ve, I’ve been in a food and beverage industries then though was like 14.
[00:14:39] I think everybody has kind of done a site job in the food and beverage, like waiting tables or something like that. But I was so consistently like in the food and beverage industry I love talking to people and I love, I think if anything just how everything works together in a restaurant or in a hotel.
[00:14:59] So I always think of it like a game, right? Like if the food doesn’t go out on time, then this gets impacted. It’s like a, it’s like a domino effect. And I like how everything works together. And when you get it right in the flow and everything just comes together, I think it’s, it’s one of the most fulfilling.
[00:15:18] Feeling, you know, so I, I really liked how everything in the food and beverage industry or in the hospitality industry, all kind of intertwined together and how much it deals with people. Yeah,
[00:15:31] Niall Mackay: so it’s quite, it’s quite a high pressure industry. Isn’t it? Like it’s, I mean, even from the way you’re describing it, it’s like,
[00:15:39] Jovel Chan: yeah, it’s like a video game.
[00:15:40] It’s like, you got, do like this one thing in a rush somewhere, you got to do something and I’m like do something and it’s always like, oh, if I didn’t do something, you got to go back to square one. So it’s always, I like, you know, that you can really feel and see that progress, like really happening right in front of your eyes, that satisfaction like right in front of your eyes.
[00:15:57] It’s it’s cool. And no, They are the same because the market’s constantly changing, but, but at the same time, like everybody’s still eats three times a day. So it’s so exciting, right? Like, you know, when you think about it or maybe it’s just me,
[00:16:15] Niall Mackay: no actual army I’ve, I’ve worked in hospitality when I was young.
[00:16:18] It never countries I’ve worked in, in New York work tends to only in Scotland a little bit, but yeah, I, I’ve got to, you’ve made me think of a funny story. Now this, this is going to kill you. Okay. You understand that? Of this, right? So we’re very busy Cassie. Yeah. And the oldest come in thick and fast for the coffees.
[00:16:38] Right. And then, you know what it’s like with people, all the coffee. I don’t know if anyone who’s listening has worked in a cafe or a restaurant and you know, it’s like a skinny deal of Alma milk, half shot, double shape. And then all these permutations just for coffee, or it can be any of these permutations is probably almost infinite.
[00:16:59] How many different ways people can, although coffee rates is done the morning and this cafe, what was stowed? What pack though? The Dorian was a light and it’s crazy. And you’re trying to work, see which coffees, which in which tickets, so you can deliver it to the right table and whatnot. And then this woman, she goes, oh, I’ve already got my coffee.
[00:17:20] I just picked her up off the counter. Oh no, how’s it. Like that, that’s the only way you have coffee, you know, this
[00:17:33] all different in, they’re all very specific.
[00:17:37] Jovel Chan: That must be so frustrating. Yeah, it’s crazy. I think it’s so crazy. Like how the, the coffee industry is very interesting to me because nobody used to drink coffee in the way we drink coffee. Now, if you even look at food, nobody eats the way how they used to eat.
[00:18:01] And I think that when you see that the evolution of food and how people are ordering or eating, it’s, you know, we see that it’s so much like a learned behavior and you can see what’s happening in the market and what’s happening to people. So when people look at food, I never really look at food. S like just food.
[00:18:22] I always see. Okay. What’s happening in a market. It’s making them eat this way or, or try to understand why and you’re eating this way. Yeah. And I think that’s, the pod is like so interesting
[00:18:36] Niall Mackay: so that that’s like a whole nother level. That’s so interesting. Cause I’m out, you know what, I’m just my example of a story.
[00:18:44] That is what happens to one server on one day on one instance. Right. But again, you’re one of these people that feel like looking at it like this, which is always, I always think of CEOs or anyone who’s high in a company. And then like these, you see the world in a different light because they look at it from up here and like you can mention as well, you know, you love the flow of it and seeing all these different things too.
[00:19:09] You’re seeing everything and then trying to put it all together. Whereas I’m thinking of it from the view of the one server. And I need to take this one coffee to this one person. So explain to me more that. What do you see then when you look from above at the food industry and let list, bring it to Vietnam then, so we’ll look,
[00:19:28] Jovel Chan: be a damn.
[00:19:29] Yeah. So when I look at the food industry and what I look usually at my life, like a country like Vietnam, that’s really modernizing and going through a lot of change, especially when it undergoes a black Swan event, like a pandemic just looking at how people are eating. You can tell a lot about how harder feeling and what that, what it might mean for the industry.
[00:19:55] So for example during the pandemic, 39% of Vietnamese people are actually stopped eating raw meat. So you, and it’s one of the countries that actually One of the countries that has the largest population of people that stopped eating wrong meat. Right? Like obviously the pandemic is a zoonotic disease.
[00:20:15] But why, why are you getting so hot? Why is it so high? And then you realize that that’s a huge food safety issue, right? And then you realize that deeper than a food safety issue is that there’s a, there’s a huge distrust in your own goods by the Vietnamese people, which if you look at the research and studies, a lot of it is actually drawn to the fact that, you know, Vietnam is a country that has been undergoing one war after one war after another, after another.
[00:20:49] So they’re they’re, they, they, they, they don’t really trust a lot of the, our own products. Especially raw food that’s created, that’s developed here in Vietnam itself because there’s so little faith in the government and fight lights as well. And that, that thing is use that a lot of Vietnamese people last year because of the swine flu and the lack of education within the food industry itself, they actually stopped eating pork as well.
[00:21:16] And coupled of the pandemic, they just completely avoided me altogether. So I think
[00:21:23] Niall Mackay: I’d never had that before. I did not have
[00:21:26] Jovel Chan: 80,000 pigs. We’ll call it in, in, in Vietnam because of swine flu. And you can see again, when you know the recent story about how the old couple had COVID and 12 of those docs got killed, you can see there is a huge, like this, this relationship with animals.
[00:21:45] It’s it’s, it’s not just, oh, Jada hate animals. It’s you can really root anchor it back into,
[00:21:53] Niall Mackay: into,
[00:21:55] Jovel Chan: into a lot of these things. And it’s, it’s it’s because it’s tight to this, this, this, they don’t trust people easily. And why do they not trust people easily? It’s because, you know, it’s a country that’s just been screwed over by screwed over rest screwed over, right?
[00:22:11] Yeah. Yeah. So when people, you know, like, yeah, so I, I, I really think that by how people eat, you can really see how things are changing, how a culture is. Right. Yeah.
[00:22:25] Niall Mackay: So how has the, this is a really the, one of the biggest questions I wanted to ask you. How has the Sudan. Down with this lockdown, we will be silly.
[00:22:36] Their businesses were mandated to be closed completely for how long two months was it
[00:22:43] Jovel Chan: deliveries? It’s about two to two months.
[00:22:48] Niall Mackay: Yeah. Should we be civil or maybe there’s a few industries that would be similar with cinemas or gyms and the things like this. So it’s one of the few industries that basically have to just shut their doors.
[00:23:02] Yeah. How do they survive? How are they still open today? Like, I just don’t understand, like I, can I take my hat off to these owners and staff that are doing this? How does that
[00:23:13] Jovel Chan: happen? Honestly? I think that the ones that ha you need to have enough capital small to survive and a lot of businesses, I think people don’t see actually have gone out of this.
[00:23:29] Right. Because even though restaurants are open for delivery, now you don’t make money. Right. And that’s why you still see that restaurants are closed because they’re like, why would I go through so much trouble to be open and without the possibility of a really, really being like being able to make money.
[00:23:52] So I think that the restaurants, that’s why I believe that restaurants that want to be open now are doing it for the people. They’re really just opening because you know people are calling them. I want some food. You’re doing a couple of deliveries right now. And do one get stopped to come back from motivation.
[00:24:14] If you ask any restaurant owner right now, it’s just open for delivery or take away having to probably pay for all the staff to be fully vaccinated and pay for all the staff. You know, have COVID testing every two or three days. You’re not making money. They’re just trying to not be forgotten.
[00:24:34] Niall Mackay: Yeah. It says Helton point.
[00:24:37] And you know, we have interviewed on this fuel a few seasons ago, Calvin Bowie who’s is, necessarily gets crazy. His, his channel fucking delicious
[00:24:51] Jovel Chan: doozy.
[00:24:51] Niall Mackay: I mean, I meant Calvin when we first came here just a little, five years ago when he had a smoke Mexican police on boy van, and you’re walking down the street and then some crazy guy just stopped yelling at you.
[00:25:01] And you’re like, finally, this guy yelling at us and then it’s Calvin and vape. Yeah. Let’s shots of tequila. We’ll get, I interviewed him, you know, you can heal these, just want to feed people like that was basically like a real industry in so many ways. Yeah. Most people are not getting into restaurants to make money doing it because of the love, which is something, I mean, I love eating food, but I don’t have that same passion is asking me if I was going to stay at
[00:25:34] Is it almost like a cult?
[00:25:35] Jovel Chan: The restaurant industry. Yeah. I think that there, there, there’s always a call in every like rush in every country within like chefs and stuff like that. Right. You have to also understand big it hospitality, you know, I would, days of work are very, you know, everybody works nine to five, Monday to Friday.
[00:25:57] That’s probably how they oppressed, like Monday her off, she was days maybe were off, right. Like weekends as I would like is our Workday. So because, because we can’t really socialize with people. Normal people, normal Jonty. Initially it’s just very United because the other ones that finish at two, 3:00 AM and then they go out.
[00:26:23] Niall Mackay: Yeah. I, I, like I said, I’m worked in the industry. I’m excited after we finished the ask or the people that are here watching this life podcast, who has worked in the industry and who hasn’t and what other experiences cause yes, please. Where using this, I’ve had my jobs where I’ve worked Monday to Friday nine to five, you get up two hours, you go for a cup of tea, you get paid holidays, you get me.
[00:26:50] But then you have these people that worked in the barn, in this jail, the restaurant industry, where you have a gray Cody, you don’t get paid vacations, you don’t get anything, but he loves the job, you know?
[00:27:01] Jovel Chan: Yeah, yeah. Honestly, like. I think that if you are, you know, if you want to have like a courier, like a long-term Korean and the shoe, you got to love what you do, because there’s no other reason that you wouldn’t want to work weekends.
[00:27:17] You won’t want to work nights. You want to work on birthdays. You want to work on new year’s Eve or Christmas. Besides the fact that because, you know, making somebody else’s stay is more important than, you know, your own time. Right. Or, you know, being in a kitchen and being able to create and have somebody really enjoy it.
[00:27:35] Yeah, it’s a long hours. Sometimes you get shopped at by customers, but it’s nothing like you really need to be a service driven plus. And like, if you talk to chefs, it’s like sometimes why do they deliver food? Or, you know, like risks getting fine just to deliver through. You’re not making money. It’s really because you know, people doing lockdown in currency and you’re like this fresh bread means so much to me.
[00:28:02] Niall Mackay: Yeah, when you put it like that, it really makes you wonder how the industry exists when you see a book and it’s true, you know, people, you miss new, year’s you miss both of these, you, miss Christmas is mother’s day. You have to work glee, like, as I said, I’ve done this lifestyle and it’s, it’s finally, there’s definitely something above that actually to it.
[00:28:23] There’s something about scale being deemed serving food. And I don’t know what it is exactly. That is definitely something about slate that becomes attractive. But yeah, it’s unbelievable that there are people in this world who are super dedicated to service or dedicated to the lifestyle, to the everyone names, king whom and have a good technique.
[00:28:44] Jovel Chan: I also think that it’s, it’s fantastic, but you know, I read the other day an article that was saying that, you know, this sites, the social environment, that delicious food, you know, restaurants and not just restaurants, cafe. Street through chases that people gather the, I just really the backbone of communities, right?
[00:29:04] Like just now I was just out and I got a drink and I, I wanted to hang out with friends and you just look at life. And we were set at just a flight of stairs and I realized that people need to hang out and sit places because that’s where they, they, they, they, they, they built community. That’s why communities are built.
[00:29:23] These are hubs for community backbones of
[00:29:25] Niall Mackay: community. Absolutely. Even I’m worried that we might have throws in the view. They’re healthy if
[00:29:41] they were the last pair I say, yep. You’re back. Yeah. I mean, people just, it’s something that people meet around and gathered, right? Like, I mean, yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever really met my friends, brought a cup of tea. I’ll meet my friends for a bill, or I meet my friends for food and even to date, because obviously restaurants are still closed and coffee places are still closed.
[00:30:04] We went out for a walk and we got a takeaway coffee to walk with. And there was this group of four or five kind of young Vietnamese people, all hanging out on the motivator with a takeaway coffee, you know? And it’s like you said, they’re okay. We can’t sit in a coffee place and they were breaking any rules.
[00:30:21] They just hanging out together sharing a coffee, you know? So, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a strange, I think a strange, but a kind of wonderful industry soup. What do you see next then for Vietnam? Because obviously here, the thing about Vietnam, which is so. Not unique because there’s probably other countries that are similar, but makes it quite different.
[00:30:46] The fact that I can go and get a bowl of false or 20,000 dong, or I could probably go and buy a steak for $200. Like the disparity in how much you can spend here is bigger than probably most places in the world. Like most places, there’s obviously a disparity in prices, but here it’s huge. And like you say, the mom and pop this, isn’t the local food, which is delicious, but now we’re having more and more and more high-end restaurants in Spain, obviously more in Saigon.
[00:31:14] I often see Vietnam, but why actually mean is CyberKnife because tagline, it is different to Vietnam. Right? So let me see saved going. So what do you see for the future of the restaurant industry in Saigon coming out of this.
[00:31:29] Jovel Chan: So coming out of them stock down. You know, I think the question you’re asking is very much twofold.
[00:31:36] Like bus, the structure that you like, it will look different. Like, you know, chairs and tables are going to look very far apart. People are gonna be math. So structurally I think like it will look very different, but yet nom is like many of the Southeast Asian countries that we’re really trying to modernize and industrialize.
[00:31:59] Right. It’s going to really see a big shift in the way people would dine as well with a growing middle-class. And that’s why you can now see a lot more like premium or like upscale or like elevator restaurants that are opening. And I think that this is very, very, very important for two reasons.
[00:32:16] Right? So you will see, and I, I wrote a very lengthy article about this. So Vietnamese cuisine has like Sophos Asian cruisy and in general has always been regarded as street food and quite low class. Right. Whenever you think of high class cooking, you look at, even look to the west. And if anybody asks you to page four, afar, anything more than, let’s say 78,000, you’re like, that’s crazy.
[00:32:46] Right. That’s
[00:32:48] Niall Mackay: no
[00:32:50] Jovel Chan: way, but if you look to Japan and Korea, people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars just for a book and gone, because there’s so much respect to the art of Japanese cuisine and the technique, but Vietnamese cuisine is equally to same. If you look at like a bull bull bull hue, the, the, the, actually boil that draw for like these, the technique of making all this food is it’s, you know, it’s so it’s so so difficult.
[00:33:19] And I think it definitely just, hasn’t got the kind of mite that it needs. But anyway this new wave of, of, of, of chefs and restaurants, what you’re really trying to do is to shine light on the food industry in Vietnam, to show people around the world and saying, you know, W we CA we don’t just do street food.
[00:33:41] We do have real Callan here. Right. And a lot of them, they are, you look at the younger chefs, they’re really trying to say, you know what? Vietnamese cuisine is really cool. It is really good. We’ve got this, like my rate of brilliant ingredients. We’ve have these cooking techniques, like just so proper, you know, please look at it and stop thinking that this is just street food.
[00:34:05] So it was really important for us to be open-minded to be like, Hey, you know what let let’s, let’s, let’s learn more. Let’s let’s eat food and give it the kind of respect that it deserves, because you know what it is, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve read and I’ve studied and talked to chefs about Vietnamese cuisine.
[00:34:25] And you talk about is such an intricate cuisine because it has so many influences. You know, in China from France and stuff like that. Right. So you learn about it actually. It’s very interesting. And when you look at a balance of flavor, as we need to look at fermentation, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s quite similar to, let’s say the Japanese cooking techniques, but why is it people like the fuse to, to regard it in the same level?
[00:34:50] So the new wave of these Japanese Vietnamese restaurants and Vietnamese chefs to try to tell this story, trying to really make Vietnamese cuisine known around the world for something just beyond far beyond like Funmi which you know, was largely driven by the Vietnamese, this Bora overseas in the eighties, right out of boat, people to win it fraught.
[00:35:12] They opened up all these fun by me restaurants just because they needed to do something. And those were the easiest ingredients probably to procure are probably the ones that would have been most widely accepted in whatever country to recite it. So yeah, so the, the FMB industry here has really trying to change that.
[00:35:31] And I do see, you know, this year for the first time in the last like eight years Vietnam made the Asia’s top 50. So it a lot more, there’s a lot more attention as being faced on, on the chefs here also because we see a lot of chefs actually returning from overseas, you know, you have Peter Kwan, frankly.
[00:35:52] And then he came back. We have a lot of these chefs that are trying to come back, you know, make their lives themselves in the two thousands. The Geoff, the Vietnamese government gave them, you know, gave these Viet queues, this renewed visa that say, Hey, you know what, come back, we’ll give you citizenship.
[00:36:07] So a lot of them came back and said about 500,000 of them come back and they’re doing all these really cool things. So yeah, I think that in the next couple of years we’re going to see a lot more. Media attention on this particular segment of the FMB industry, particularly on getting amines cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, Vietnamese spirits, Vietnamese beverage industry, you know?
[00:36:29] Yeah. And I’m very excited for it because it’s largely driven by Vietnamese, I suppose, foreigners who are here.
[00:36:37] Niall Mackay: This is really exciting. And I think it’s just that. Over the probably post or view now has been so heavily reliant on Western influence, Western education, Western expats, coming over, bringing food engineering skills, bringing.
[00:36:55] And this they’re relying on that for, for for many industries, like, you know, as token to a friend who works in the wind industry, renewable energy, and that’s still very much relied on having overseas people come over with the, with their expertise and knowledge. But one, I think you’re describing is something that I talked about with the TDC Whitten Mang on the previous two episodes ago.
[00:37:19] We’re talking about this explosion of the Vietnamese. Diaspora around the world, but I guess we’re even using as well as even within Vietnam. And I think, and again, I talked to tail because I’m obviously very aware of this because of this podcast and because of the different people in different industries, but it does seem like there’s almost like a written it vented stones of Vietnamese people here and around the world.
[00:37:46] And I guess that’s just, you know, 50 years for and the, the eighties with, I always forget the name of the code. Again, the toy boy will know seeing the effects of that. You see? I didn’t realize that number 500,000 people coming back with that LD. Yeah. I think we’re starting to see the results of that here in Vietnam and around the world too.
[00:38:12] You’re seeing like, you know, Kelly, Marie Tran on star wars, your song, Diane is just in cast in a, how do I met your Saba? Allie Wong is for you to be used. We’ve got the Vietnamese diaspora, and the world is just exploding and becoming known for more than just food. Yeah, but the key, and you mentioned Peter Franklin.
[00:38:34] See that I was just talking to him by message. Just to be, so I’ve been talking to them for awhile about coming on the podcast or hopefully will be on season ki what planning is busy right now, as you can imagine with that, everything is going on in the industry, but if Peter watches this episode two, we will hopefully have him on for the season two.
[00:38:55] But it it’s an exciting time for Vietnam, I think very much. And the food that, my one quick question, and then we’re going to move on to different topics is why do you think the Vietnam cuisine? It hasn’t been so highly recalled? Is it just because it’s seen as cheap,
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[00:39:41] And COVID effected areas in Vietnam so that they know they’re taken care of physically and mentally or in the north. You can donate an emergency food pack through blue dragon. It contains fruit and vegetables, res and stables. They keep children and families going. Food will be bought locally and we’ll include a mix of fresh food and longer lasting items for families who are hard to reach your donation will provide a cash grant to buy food at the local market.
[00:40:09] The links to donate are in the description, and if you’re in a position to please donate whatever you can. Thanks.
[00:40:19] Why do you think the Vietnam cuisine hasn’t been so highly regarded? Is it just because it’s seen as cheap?
[00:40:27] Jovel Chan: Honestly, I think that. It’s not just Vietnamese cuisine, like I’m Singaporean, Singaporean cuisine always be tight through chicken, rice and street food. And, and that’s fab because this is the bedrock off, you know, our culture.
[00:40:43] Right. And, but, but what it really does is it really, it makes what the new Vietnamese chefs, what they’re trying to do. It waters down what you’re trying to do because people always compare it back to street food like w this is not really a real Vietnamese cuisine. So it’s very hard for them to, to, to be able to, to innovate within Vietnamese cuisine or, or to serve Vietnamese cuisine, because it will always be compared to street food and it’s, and, and, and the thing that you don’t want is Vietnamese chefs, opening restaurants, and make French could be.
[00:41:25] ’cause, you know what I’m trying to say? Like we didn’t know on Jabber T and this kind
[00:41:30] Niall Mackay: of thing. I think I’m guilty of what you’re talking about as we will talk to you about this dude. I’m like, yeah, but it’s not going to be as good as the poor color that I can get. So you know, that on really like, and to go note and having like a higher mew, like please.
[00:41:47] So I guess I’m describing me like, cause I had no
[00:41:57] yeah. So it’s a big barrier to get by, especially if you’re used to this.
[00:42:01] Jovel Chan: Exactly. So a lot of, a lot of, you know it makes it very difficult for a lot of these chefs that come out of their countries that say Vietnamese chefs, the Singaporean chefs, even Indonesian chefs, they want to come out. Obviously they want to do a PZ and that’s close to that.
[00:42:20] And then it makes it very difficult because the market doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do or, you know, and it will always be compared to Vietnamese street food. And the reason that I believe that Vietnamese street food is always pegged to be a very no, or, you know, like cheap food. It’s really like what I mentioned, right?
[00:42:38] Like our, our it’s, because nobody is aware that Vietnamese cuisine can be a certain way. Nobody is aware of Vietnamese, you know, like a dining fruit. Like if you look at China and Japan and Korea, they have had Imperial QSI. Cause they have had this period of imperialism. Right. But in Vietnam, never have always just been colonized of the call.
[00:43:04] Like it’s always just been called an ISE. So they’ve never had their own Vietnamese, like, you know, fine, crazy. So nobody knows what that is. And that’s why the new generation of chefs you’re really trying to come up with what that means. Like, if you go to China, you can be, try to street food, but we also know what Chinese, like good Chinese food is like the shark’s fin this epilogue, this, you know, really good stuff.
[00:43:30] And people are like, yeah. Okay. I can pay for this. I know that that’s a good Chinese restaurants. That’s picking that. Right. So we understand this. But in Vietnam just don’t have that. So yeah, it just, firstly never existed. So everything that the world, even the Vietnamese, no of Vietnamese cuisine is street food.
[00:43:51] And then secondly, it’s because the DSP Bora went around and brought this everywhere. That’s why everyone just comes here and they all want to have a button me because it’s all they’ve ever tried. So. That’s why my job, my job here is to really focus and write about these things. Yeah,
[00:44:15] Niall Mackay: this brings me onto my next question too, being in the middle east, being from Singapore.
[00:44:20] Why are you in Vietnam? How did you end up you?
[00:44:25] Jovel Chan: So I, I came here to open up a fitness studio, my indoor cycling studio.
[00:44:38] Yeah. It’s really funny. So this is a new story.
[00:44:42] Yeah. This is a real story. It is actually a real story. And I think that everybody, this is the usual reaction there also everybody gets to be everybody just laughed. Right. But yeah, but I did come here to open up a indoor cycling studio and the reason why is. So besides being a fruit, you know, like flipped markets and rights I, I was very, you know, I’m also an indoor cycling instructor.
[00:45:05] I was anyway, and I was really into indoor cycling. It was really my home exercise and mental release. Okay. And last year I was so burnt out from my job, so absolutely fund out so tired and you know, I worked for an airline and it was just so try. Right. And I, during the pandemic, I can only tell you how like painful at worst.
[00:45:33] I think when you see, you know, like every three months just like haul it soap, you’ll call the kids, getting, let, go and getting, let go. I think that it was it a very like anxiety inducing period for me, at least. And I said that I didn’t want to be in the industry and doing what I was doing anymore.
[00:45:56] ’cause. I was so tired at the end of it. And so I said I wanted to do something that made me feel good or make people feel good. Yeah. So that’s what I wanted to do, what I came to Vietnam.
[00:46:10] Niall Mackay: So we’re going to pick up a one thing, an indoor cycling instructor. Yeah. Well, what do you do? Stay on the bike. Go like what?
[00:46:22] This seems like I’m a walking instructor. What do you do? Boot one or the other? How do you instruct someone to cycle? It’s not. Okay. So it’s a concept.
[00:46:34] Very I’m being very,
[00:46:37] Jovel Chan: I know the concept, the console, the indoor cycling what’s called soulful. So. It wasn’t really like a soulful cycling concept. So if you’re familiar with like concepts from the U S it’s a soul cycle, which has really like taken off in the U S right.
[00:46:54] And in many parts of the country, and it’s being a must in the dark room where you’re just surrounded by candle lights. And instead of offering some way to like, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go. You motivate them. And you channel like inner and intrinsic motivation to get people to show up for themselves and move on.
[00:47:18] Yeah. So that was kind of why it was very like
[00:47:22] Niall Mackay: cheerleading. It just makes me laugh even more because I don’t know if anyone who’s listening to this, probably someone will have had at Devin gray. Who’s one of my good friends and a very, very funny comedian. And my favorite evil duel conveys is when he talks about going to a spinning class, a legacy and he just stopped cycling and the instructor comes up to me and she says, what are you doing?
[00:47:49] And he says, I’m going down hill. Yeah,
[00:47:51] Jovel Chan: exactly.
[00:47:54] Niall Mackay: Which is always one of my favorite tools. But we’ve, we’ve obviously seen of talked about this before the podcast and sort of something that you’re comfortable with talking about. And, and it’s something that, so I obviously follow you want on Facebook and your social media.
[00:48:08] It’s really refreshing that you, you post a lot about mental health and I know before I’d never even, I think, spoke to you. I I’d seen on your blog of whatnot, as you’ve mentioned, one of the reasons why you left two jobs in the business, you keep the Vietnam was because of being you know, stressed out anxiety as you, as you’ve mentioned.
[00:48:30] And it’s still something that you post about, you know, often daily frequently about managing your mental health, having mental health issues, which is so refreshing. And it’s it’s as something that’s more common. You know, these days I unnecessarily get old, man, Austin, I often say things that make me sound like an old man.
[00:48:51] I see the word television a lot, which my wife calls me on. She’s a general old, you said it’s a TV, not a television. That’s how I do the TV. That’s the television. But it’s obviously it’s something that’s becoming more prominent these days, which I think is amazing because it’s something that was like just nobody ever spoke about mental health.
[00:49:15] And it’s refreshing when I look on your story and your. Very candidly, honest about a muscle that maybe other people and knowing that bad will you need to add that and that really great way. So tell us more about why, why do have you made that decision to be so refreshingly candid about mental health and how you deal
[00:49:35] Jovel Chan: with that?
[00:49:36] Yeah, so I have the I’ve had anxiety since I was, I don’t know, I think night, whoa, almost reveal my age. They’re 22.
[00:49:53] I’ve had anxiety for almost a decade. So, you know, I remember when I had my first panic attack. How painful it was, and I’m not sure of anybody here has ever had like a panic attack before or an anxiety attack before it was, you know, one of the most scary things I think I’ve ever gone through before.
[00:50:17] And thankfully, thankfully my mom, during that time, she, she had it. So my, my mom has anxiety and, you know, she’s had a history of mental health you know, in kind of a similar way, like me and I was able to get the support. She like, you know, I need you know, to go and see a counselor and to have somebody really just tell me like, oh, don’t worry.
[00:50:43] Like, like not, don’t worry about like, oh, this is normal, you’re fine. You’re safe. And, you know, just helping me to understand that, that what I was going through was not this crazy, like huge thing, because you know what I had at, at a time, I didn’t tell anybody. And I thought. I was going crazy and I was going to end up in, you know, the mental health, like jail behind some room and it was not going to be able to see anybody.
[00:51:06] Cause that’s what you think, right? That’s what you think. People who are like have mental health issues or you’re on the street, you’re talking to random people, you know, on the train and ensure that crazy person like onto the train. And that was what I thought was happening to me.
[00:51:20] Niall Mackay: So I think that’s the stigma.
[00:51:25] Jovel Chan: So, you know, like I remember suffering with that and thinking that, that, you know, like the fear of that happening and not knowing what was going on was so much bigger than what it was going through. So that’s why to me, no, so important to change this idea of, you know, what somebody with anxiety or mental health issue might look like.
[00:51:50] Like I still get on with my day, you know, like I still am able to achieve great things. I’m still able to do great things. I’m still able to be in a loving relationship. So I think that I want to talk about these things because, because I just want to normalize it because the thing, when you normalize it, it, it makes people want to talk about it more.
[00:52:15] You’ll feel more comfortable and talk about it more. I think when you can talk about it, you realize, Hey, you know what, actually, it’s not such a big, it’s not that it’s not a big deal, but it’s like, oh, I can still live a really normal life. Yeah. Okay. That’s that’s okay. You know what I’m trying to say? I think like,
[00:52:31] Niall Mackay: yeah.
[00:52:32] The thing with the, in anything, even, even like a mental health, like physical health, you have like a pain in your arm and you’re like, oh my God, my arms falling off, what’s going to happen to Nate. And then you can to the doctor and he’s like, oh no, it’s just like this. I remember I, when I get migraines, Six months or something.
[00:52:51] When I first started getting migraines that always go blame that on my other
[00:52:54] Jovel Chan: friend Hanson.
[00:52:57] Niall Mackay: And then you go to the doctor and you explained your symptoms and he’s like, oh yeah, it’s a migraine. And you’re like, oh, oh, okay. A few so much better than that. This is
[00:53:05] Jovel Chan: like, I actually it’s like, I’ve heard that he gets migraines.
[00:53:08] It’s fine. It’ll be gone tomorrow. It’s okay. Nothing’s really wrong with you. You’re fine. And that’s really what I think, you know, people and you just need to know, like, you know, anxiety one in four people, so common, like it’s fine. You don’t have to beat yourself up over it. You don’t have to, you know, feel like a complete failure.
[00:53:31] Others say, just because you had something like that. I just want to and will
[00:53:37] Niall Mackay: to go full circle back to the beginning as most. You know, you’re obviously only 22 years old as we’ve established for 21 now 22. But obviously, you know, successful in your field doing amazing things. You, you you’ve come on to the Saigon scene.
[00:53:58] And like I said, I think I said in the description for the show, you’d made a splash in this Aegon seat, in a hurricane in the Saigon, seen you in a team in out of nowhere. And then your blog has as blew it up that now I, obviously, I followed what you were doing before. We never, we never, we never talk to each other.
[00:54:20] So it’s, it’s refreshing as well from the point of view that from the outset, you see this person who’s achieving a law, then we became Facebook friends, and then I see your, your story. Yeah, no worries. It’s like one after the other or not one after the other, but like very often it’s usually talking about your mental health issues.
[00:54:42] Like I’ve had this today, but that’s a dead one or blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, oh, like, this is a person who is high functioning, high achieving, they’re a normal person who has the daily troubles. Like, like many people, like at least one in four, like you mentioned. So there’s a very brief thing that you’ve done.
[00:55:00] And I think it’s, and then I, I applaud that and it’s amazing to see.
[00:55:06] Jovel Chan: Yeah. Yeah. I actually like, I think a lot, like not a lot, but so when, when I thought that talking about my mental health issue, not issues, I also don’t really like a lot of the words that are typically associated with mental health, because I don’t think it’s an illness.
[00:55:24] I don’t think it’s an issue. I think it’s really just, you know, like a personality or. You know, something that you’ve just have like a character trait. Right. When I first started vocalizing, and one thing that I’m very vocal about is so-so, I’m taking medication for it. I medicate it. I do take it when I have an anxiety attack.
[00:55:43] I’m not on daily medication, but I, I want to have the app to keep that it’s completely fine that you take it if it’s re because I know how painful that can be. And I think that there’s no shame in taking medication if it huts of it helps you. So that’s just a one thing that I really like, like I’m very open about because I just know, I do not understand why people are so averse to, to, to medication.
[00:56:11] It’s almost like if you take it, that means you are definitely sick. And, and there’s so many ways that we there’s so many things that we really need to. To, to almost like disprove, right? Like why does it mean that if you’re taking medication you’re sick. It’s almost like taking a Panadol if you’ve got pain.
[00:56:29] So why can we, like, why does it mean that if you take a little Xanax for anxiety attack, because it’s really that painful that people have to judge you for it. Yeah. And
[00:56:41] I
[00:56:42] Niall Mackay: have, have you seen the Louis Theroux documentary? It’s probably quite old now, maybe 10, maybe even 15 years old. I know you were a child and you know who Louis Theroux is.
[00:56:57] He’s a British documentary maker and he does want a boat medication in the eight states. And the obvious that probably over overmedicate in the United States. But I remember there was one. I think he was a teenager or preteen who had massive more than just mental health issues or I know that’s not, maybe not the best way to say it as we just discussed issues, but massive behavioral problems and whatnot.
[00:57:24] And, and there’s an argument that, you know, you shouldn’t be medicating kids, and I know that’s a bit, it’s not the same thing, but, but you could see in this documentary that the medication works. Like he was able to be a more functioning, human being when he took the medication. Cause the documentary should you want, he was like off of it.
[00:57:44] It shows you what he was like on it. And it’s really difficult cause you’re like, oh, well we shouldn’t be beating getting kids. And again, I know we’re not talking about medicating kids. It’s a bit of a safe touch, but still for people real like, oh, well you shouldn’t take medication, but it’s like, but it helps, you know, like a pen and all that, that
[00:58:01] Jovel Chan: definitely.
[00:58:02] And I think that, you know, when it comes to mental health you know, like such disorders for me, I was like, no, very, very admittedly. I was quite heavily medicated a while ago, like a long while ago. And what it makes you, what it does to you is bring you down to a level where you’re able to be logical and not just lost in your own thoughts.
[00:58:31] And, and when you are able to function day to day and see things logically and go into situations that are usually anxiety inducing and realize that, Hey, you know what, actually, this isn’t so scary. Like for me, I had really bad flight. I said, I still can’t. I, I, I have very bad flight anxiety and photo red, longest time I couldn’t fly until I was like, you know what?
[00:58:59] I, I really love to fly and I love to travel. Right. So I said, I couldn’t do this anymore. I, I took one year off to trouble and yeah, I think you might have seen, I took like 40 flights in one year. Just really cause I need it to desensitize. And my psychiatrist told me, you know what, just pick the Xanax in moderate amounts because you need to calm down and see that the situation that you’re in is not as scary as your brain makes you think you are.
[00:59:32] So I think that somethings medication can, you know, can actually be quite helpful, especially for mental health, because sometimes whatever’s in your thoughts in your brain is a lot scarier than what the reality is and you just need the medication to help me see with clearer. I.
[00:59:49] Niall Mackay: Well, the other thing that I remember from that, that seemed documentary was yeah, saw it was a different documentary by Louis through, and he was looking into alcoholism and, but not just like, you know, people who drink a lot throughout the late, like people who can go from being completely sober to absolutely blind, drunk, completely a different person.
[01:00:14] And there was this one guy, I think he was chairman or he was European, but he was living in the UK and she would, he was kind of follow this path to love, getting blamed on either get injuring himself on injuring others or whatnot. And they followed the story throughout the documentary and then near then they went back and interviewed him again.
[01:00:34] And he was completely sober because he had gone to a psychiatrist and he’d been medicated and he realized that he’d been self-medicating through alcohol. So we had. And a mental health challenge and had, he didn’t know he was doing it, but he was just thinking so much alcohol or tools. And as soon as he got put on, I can’t remember the medication, but as soon as he got through on the medication stopped drinking immediately, because that was what he was self-medicating which, oh yeah.
[01:01:07] As I take a sip of beer, we’re probably older.
[01:01:10] Jovel Chan: Yeah.
[01:01:13] Niall Mackay: Don’t say no question. Before we move on to the sane or question. On this topic. So how have you dealt with your mental health during this doctrine? Because I’ll be honest for me. I don’t really have mental health issues. Like I have challenges every now and again, but I don’t have any anxiety and things like this.
[01:01:36] But this lockdown has probably been one of the most difficult mental health challenges of my life. And I’ve not had a difficult life, so I’m not, I don’t have much, I don’t have much to compare it to, and I’m not tiny beak. It’s more dramatic, but being locked up all day everyday with my. It was the most difficult thing you a dirty look know that that was the, that was the easiest thing about it.
[01:02:02] But being, being locked up all day every day was obviously in some days I just felt like shit. Some days I felt horrible. I felt terrible just that crap day. And but, but I was already starting from a position of not having very many mental health challenges to you. How did you deal then with the walk down already having that?
[01:02:25] Because that, that seems like that would be quite difficult.
[01:02:28] Jovel Chan: Yeah. Do lockdown at the beginning. My road was, I was living in one of these cordoned off areas where like,
[01:02:37] Niall Mackay: yeah.
[01:02:38] Jovel Chan: So I was like in one of these, you know, 50 meta, like, you know, lockdowns where I couldn’t get my own food, couldn’t get like way couldn’t get anything.
[01:02:48] Right. And that was. Suffocating. I remember actually going into anxiety because, you know, one of the things it’s, it’s like, what am I, one of the things of like anxiety it’s like, sometimes you feel the symptoms and you scare it. Like maybe it’s a little serious and it is, yeah. You know, like if you feel like you’re a, Chet’s getting tight, you’re like, oh no, a track I’m dying.
[01:03:16] Like what if something’s happened? And it kind of gets you to the hospital in time. There’s like, none of the hospitals are open. None of the pharmacies are open. So like that was like a constant thought. There was in my head, which made like the lockdown very stressful. I think some of the tips that was and I mean, I’m very, very lucky as well.
[01:03:33] You know, this is my 10th year going into anxiety. I’ve gotten to know myself a lot better what my triggers are and also like what myself soothing is. I’m also very open to talking about it. Sometimes like when my anxiety is really bad, my chest gets really tight and actually like, cannot breathe. So usually what then I need to do is pick up the phone and talk to somebody and say like, Hey, you know, like I’m having an anxiety.
[01:03:59] I need to talk to somebody just to talk to somebody. And because I’m quite comfortable with talk about how I feel. And I have support systems around me to understand it like that. This is just the way I need to do that, that was one of the things. And that’s why I really want to normalize it because I really want to just, I want people to be able to pick up the phone and talk about it because it’s so powerful.
[01:04:23] Right?
[01:04:24] Niall Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. Even as I mentioned, there was one of my toughest periods. Yeah. These last two months. I, I come from us, genitals, axioms and marketing background from two years ago where everything had to be positive. Like your arm is falling off and you’re like, how are you doing? You’re like, yeah, I’m great.
[01:04:43] It’s like one arm I don’t need to. Everything’s amazing. You know, so they have to be almost overly positive, which is good in a way. And I have and I think that has helped my med. Massively, absolutely massively. But for the first time during this low thrown, I allowed myself to be, to be vulnerable. So if someone would ask me, like, how are you doing?
[01:05:09] I’d be like, you know, I’m not doing good today or I’d message like my family who I’m quite close with that, I’d be like, I’m having a shit day today, which I’d never done before. I’d never, ever done that before. And I would message people as well. I’d be like, how are you doing? Are you gay and try and have those conversations.
[01:05:27] So even if I was doing okay, I would try and reach out to other people and be like, how are you? Because it was fucking tough. And it was one of the things that I always tried to keep perspective was was it that tell us I’m in this nice apartment with my wife and I’m hanging over and I’ve got food and I’ve got water and I’ve got like Tuesday then, you know, there’s people down the road that don’t have anything.
[01:05:46] So always trying to maintain that perspective. But at the same time, you’re like, man, this is.
[01:05:57] I didn’t have a point. I didn’t really have a point or a question.
[01:06:01] Jovel Chan: No, no, no. But like I completely ends then. And I think that one of the things that, you know, during the pandemic, a lot of people are like, it’s tough. It’s tough for everybody. Whether you are a rich billionaire to, to somebody on the road, but a lot of people are, they don’t allow themselves.
[01:06:20] They don’t think their feelings of ballot because you’re not on the street starving. And I’m thinking like, that’s, that’s not fair like that. Like, no, you’ve all, it’s hard. It’s very, very hard.
[01:06:35] Niall Mackay: No. So what I, I talk quite often with them. One of the, he’s the executive director of a big charity here in Saigon, and he said exactly what you said, his staff work, we’re having a really difficult time.
[01:06:49] But he kept seeing, like, because D was helping these people that were the most vulnerable, they were, they didn’t, they didn’t have raised in a food, didn’t have anything. And they wouldn’t allow themselves to feel what they were feeling because they were like, well, but we don’t have, we don’t have that as bad as them and saw him as the executive director of the organization, he was having to say to them what we just said, like, you need to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling because it’s tough for you.
[01:07:19] So even though these people are having a horrible, difficult time that doesn’t negate the fact that you are also having a horrible, difficult time as well.
[01:07:30] Jovel Chan: Definitely. I think that a lot of people have negates that they are feeling, but at the same time felt that have, have had, you know, like they buried the burden of a lot of things around them right now.
[01:07:48] Because they don’t feel that beach, they should be allowed to feel sad or upset, but at the same time, be taking on the burden of so many people out there, like, you know what you’re doing, charity, your employees, and maybe struggling with a lot of things going on. But one of the things that you act like go back to your question, how I took care of myself as you know, what every single day, like, I, you know, I meditate and I really check in with myself, like, like, how am I feeling today?
[01:08:16] Am I okay? Am I okay? And am I mentally healthy to be able to go out and ask somebody if girl can help somebody, because if you’re not, then you can’t really take care of other people as well.
[01:08:30] Niall Mackay: Yeah. At one point I consider. Doing like a kind of Facebook post, then opposite Sivan, Marie Bates. It’s going to sound and reach more than my own personal page.
[01:08:41] And I thought about putting out a post and tend to being like, you know, if you need help, get in touch with me. And you know, I’m here to talk. And, and my wife who is incidentally smarter than me, she said to me, she’s like, oh, if you do that, as you ready to take that on because, and I was like, yeah, probably not.
[01:09:03] Yeah. So I didn’t do it. I was a young, probably not ready to put myself out there like that, you know? Yeah.
[01:09:13] Jovel Chan: Hair. When I was sharing about my mental health, like you can’t imagine how many people actually messaged me telling me that they’ve felt the same depression or they had anxiety and they had gone through so much and.
[01:09:33] You know, I, you know, just, and, and somebody that I didn’t know at all message me and said, you know, Java, I had a close friend of mine rushed to the hospital because of panic attacks. Like, can you tell me how to make it better and stuff like that. And I can, I know I’m so blessed that I went through my first panic attack 10 years ago, that, that I’ve come to a point where I’m very okay with my anxiety.
[01:09:59] But when I had to go through a panic attack now alone in an ex-pat, it must be so difficult. Like, I, I don’t understand why we’re not talking about it more. Last year in Malaysia, I actually, I volunteered with a a mental health NGO, and it was crazy. Like, it was really crazy.
[01:10:21] Niall Mackay: Well, I think there’s the benefit of your stories that you post that if people see it, like we can talk to, but then they’re like, oh, it’s not just me.
[01:10:30] This other person feels the same. It’s normalized. And to go back while we get them set before as well, that stigma. Like you said, oh, I don’t want to be the crazy person talking to myself on the street through media, seeing people like that. But that’s probably what people think. Like, I don’t want to be that crazy.
[01:10:50] Personally, if I have a, if I have mental health problems, then that means I’m going to be on the street, talking to myself, sit in the pigeons, you
[01:10:57] Jovel Chan: know, like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Of course
[01:11:00] Niall Mackay: for the people that, that may seem stupid again. It’s probably good to be like, oh, it’s, it can almost be so trivial because you’re just kind of like, yeah, it’s normal, but that reaction can almost be the best because then they’re just like, oh, all right, I’ll tell you again.
[01:11:15] I can chill out. I don’t need to stress so much. Now. I said at the very beginning of this podcast, that Ali. These episodes because they end up running it too. And I, I either have to make them into two parts or or I have to edit the shit out of them. And I had a question before from XY on her. I don’t even know if I’m still here because we’ve talked for so long, but he said, why don’t you release the two parts back to back?
[01:11:41] Cause if I do an episode in two parts, I will still released them a week apart. And that’s just to give people the chance to listen to the first power. And then, because it takes a few days for people to, to listen to it and then listen to the second part. But this is this is going on. It’s been so good and as soon enjoyable.
[01:11:59] And then when we, when we get to this point, will we’ll be like, okay, we need to stop talking for people, anxiety on, and others who are regular listens to the podcast. You’ll have helped me see this before the stain of a good episode and a good interview. And they’re all good. They’re all good. But they’re saying a really good one is when myself and the guests to just keep talking.
[01:12:20] So if I do snowbirds talking, now we could probably talk for three or four hours. And I’m not Joe Rogan. I’m not going to start to see a little code tests. So what we’ll do, we’ll move on to the final questions, but sometimes I move on to the final questions and then that takes half an hour in itself.
[01:12:39] So we’re going to do these quick, quick, quick fire or case, or you don’t need to give too many explanations. Sometimes I’d ask these questions and it really just needs out like a one sentence. And so, and then the person will fall on this big tangent about like the grandmothers cooking it and whatnot. So
[01:12:58] I don’t, I don’t care where your grandmother’s cooking. You’ll get this question was devised when we were in a stick lockdown, but we’ll know it. We can leave VI, we can leave Saigon. Sorry. But if you could go anywhere on a bait in Saigon right now, where would you go? I want to be in nature. So SEPA or Nimbin
[01:13:19] say gone every day.
[01:13:24] Jovel Chan: Everyone.
[01:13:24] Niall Mackay: This is meant to be, if you could just get over your house, jump on a bike and go somewhere local. I’ve had people see like the seed is you like, oh, I’d go there. And yet Chang
[01:13:33] Jovel Chan: at
[01:13:36] Niall Mackay: Where would you go? I specifically said to you the wheel as you go in Saigon and you still right now.
[01:13:44] Jovel Chan: Where would I go right now in Saigon? I would go to a, I would love to go to like a rooftop bar somewhere.
[01:13:56] Niall Mackay: Just still not getting this rooftop balls on open, wherever you go right
[01:14:01] Jovel Chan: now.
[01:14:04] Niall Mackay: Right. This second, jump on a bike.
[01:14:06] Jovel Chan: Either constrict that question, I’d be like, yeah. Yeah,
[01:14:12] Niall Mackay: that’s good. That’s the question has been designed like that and you’ll just smashing the design go. Where would you go back
[01:14:18] Jovel Chan: questions? I don’t
[01:14:21] Niall Mackay: want to do my estrogen.
[01:14:25] Jovel Chan: I would love to go to maybe yes, I gone.
[01:14:31] Yeah. Oh my
[01:14:31] Niall Mackay: God.
[01:14:36] all right. I think we might have covered this question. So you probably don’t need to give much of an answer, but what has been the most challenging thing about.
[01:14:46] Jovel Chan: I love lockdown. I told you this and being away from my family.
[01:14:53] Niall Mackay: That’s a good one. Yeah. We’ve been away most for a long time. What’s been the best thing about what,
[01:14:59] Jovel Chan: oh, my neighbors. And I got really close.
[01:15:02] Niall Mackay: We have like
[01:15:06] Jovel Chan: yeah, we got really close. And the rest of the building and I, we yeah, we got rid of the clubs because we wanted to get vegetable delivery.
[01:15:13] And back at the time, when we were under the military Mahershala martial law in lockdown, they used to do only like eight kg, minimum vegetable deliveries. So went around knocking on everybody’s doors and then it was great. And yeah, it was really cool.
[01:15:32] Niall Mackay: Favorite pie. We actually newly moved into your building.
[01:15:35] A few years ago. We looked at it in that week. We were very close. I do. I know where you live. Cause I, cause I knew told me as well. Obviously what in Vietnam has shocked you the most, what
[01:15:47] Jovel Chan: and how much people do
[01:15:51] Niall Mackay: it’s mental, mental in it? It’s things. That’s my question. This is like a warehouse somewhere with just stacks of paper.
[01:16:00] I don’t know.
[01:16:01] Jovel Chan: It’s and, and, and how they have to, like, you know, when you chop on, on, on, on papers, it’s like you’ve got to spread all of it out like a fan and then chop on all the pages.
[01:16:15] Niall Mackay: And then conversely, what pleasantly surprises you about Vietnam?
[01:16:19] Jovel Chan: People like Very community driven, very kind very giving and they really take care of like I, during the log down, I participated in a couple of charity distributions around the neighborhood and you know we, we, we had a lot of the local district volunteers actually bring us to the foreigners and the ex-pats and a lot of the others.
[01:16:44] So it was quite sweet to see that you were really taking care of like the local Vietnamese, but also the foreign us was very nice.
[01:16:52] Niall Mackay: Yeah, I heard the longer I’m here, the more I’m reminded that Vietnamese people are busy. So Joel Vale, thank you so, so much, it’s been amazing to have this conversation.
[01:17:07] We’ve, we’ve talked on lane for quite a while now. And then, and then I, I listened to your podcast.
[01:17:18] I listened to your podcast thing last week, and it was very strange because it was actually the first time I’d held your voice. It was like, oh, that’s what she sounds like. Cause we’d only ever communicated by by Mason, John, and we’ve never met in person yet. Hopefully we room soon before we, before we move on to the question and answer session and I just looked and we still have people here, which is amazing.
[01:17:40] I can’t believe that so many people have stayed this long listening to me. I don’t get the vote, the vote with the cameras. All they’re all like a house. None of them are actually, they’re not, they are though, but tell, tell the people, watching wives, tell the people that will be listening to this. The people that will watch on YouTube, where can they find your blog?
[01:18:05] Where can they follow you all more about you and what is next for two vows Chan in Saigon? Ah,
[01:18:12] Jovel Chan: yes. So you can follow, you know if you’re interested to read more about food and beverage and the Vietnam’s growing talent within the industry and a potential you can follow me. I’m jovial, chan.com. So J V.
[01:18:26] C H a N dot con. And you can follow me on Instagram, just typed about, thank God I have like a super unique name. I’m you should be at a fuss one that shows up. I talk a lot about, you know that wouldn’t be an issue. And of course, like NIO said I talk a lot about mental health and Neil,
[01:18:50] I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
[01:18:54] Niall Mackay: I never really met. We’ve never really met in, in,
[01:18:58] Jovel Chan: I usually get away with these things when I tell people it’s not my first language.
[01:19:04] So like, it’s not that great. You don’t speak English. Okay. And, you know, sorry.
[01:19:13] It’s
[01:19:24] Yeah. And what what’s next for Vietnam FMB industry is that
[01:19:30] Niall Mackay: yup. Go.
[01:19:31] Jovel Chan: A lot, a lot of, yeah, like I live baits it and reimagined, but getting a maze cuisine and also a lot of really cool things coming up from. Spirits and alcohol industry.
[01:19:47] Niall Mackay: Ooh, awesome. Yeah. I’m going to say diva that I do have a confession to make, I thought your name was jovial
[01:19:55] Jovel Chan: novel, right?
[01:19:56] Cause it’s like,
[01:19:59] Niall Mackay: it’s all me that took me. And he was like, I was like, Joel, who? And he’s like, and then I think, I thought he said to avail. So I was calling you to Vail for the longest time. But then in my head I was calling her. And then you told me it was drove out. So I lead the effort to Prudential name, create whistle it’s in eight, but it’s good to see that you didn’t do this in thing, but no,
[01:20:20] Jovel Chan: no, we don’t have a lot of Singaporeans cotton meal.
[01:20:26] Niall Mackay: Now I’ve gone back to the gallery mode. It’s fucking awesome to see that. What would he do still with you? Because she has to be, cause he’s like right there. My boss . It’s awesome.
[01:20:44] I love you guys enjoyed that. We’ll know, open to Q and a for two vowels or guys pleading ask some questions.
[01:20:55] Jovel Chan: Nobody everybody’s like, oh man, she’s talked too much. We don’t have questions. She’s answered all the questions that we’ve had.
[01:21:03] Niall Mackay: Yeah. Am I able to ask the best one or is
[01:21:06] Jovel Chan: it but you’re no better than anybody.
[01:21:10] My life
[01:21:10] Niall Mackay: story here we go around and say that one thing that it came up towards that obviously from the career that you’ve gone, it, it wasn’t easy. And we chatted to borrow it in our guest and like eight Asian female in the middle east. Yeah. But you’re also, as we said, very open about mental health. Yeah.
[01:21:32] I’ll have you managed to, they both say assertive, but also how do you navigate? Thanks for listening to this episode of 7 million bakes of Vietnam podcast. We hope you enjoy hearing a guest stories. If you haven’t already, please make sure to subscribe to the show and turn on notifications. So you never miss a new episode.
[01:21:54] Thank you so much to a producer, Louis Ray for making sure the show sounds as good as possible. And also a big thanks to the 7 million bakes community members and everyone who supports us. Don’t forget if you haven’t already, you can join the community today. The link is in the description and you’ll get free event.
[01:22:14] Tickets free 7 million bakes face masks and invites this special member events. Also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and I’m still ashamed to say this tick tock. Most of all, if you can please donate to Saigon children’s charity or blue dragons, children, foundations COVID appeals. Remember we have six seasons of stories to share with you.
[01:22:36] So check them out if you haven’t already. And we hope you can listen to future episodes too, so you can laugh, connect and discuss. She is.

Many people struggle to find English entertainment in Vietnam. Seven Million Bikes hosts the popular show A Vietnam Podcast, stand-up comedy and events. Have fun, connect with others and share experiences of Vietnam.