Nguyen Bach (Bạch Hưng Nguyên)
Graduate Research Assistant
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My full name written in the Vietnamese character system is Bạch Hưng Nguyên. When I am in the US I often use Nguyen Bach as a business name. The transcription of Nguyen Bach in IPA, the International Phonetic Alphabet, is /ŋujen bahk/. Generally, after knowing my name people usually ask me “Where are you from ?”. The answer is not hard if you can use some analytical skills. My first name begins with a consonant “ng” - engma, this consonant often appears at the beginning of a syllable in Vietnamese. So a good guess would be that I am from Vietnam, which is right.

Some people got the right answer but they applied a different reasoning. They reasoned they knew I am from Vietnam because the name “Nguyen” is common for Vietnamese people. Actually, this is not true. The name they mentioned is the common last name “Nguyễn”. It contains my first name “Nguyên” plus the tone mark “~”. This issue is a common problem for Vietnamese people when they move to the US because of our different writing systems.
Here are some variant of my names. My Chinese friends call me "Yun" or "Yuan", while my Korean friends prefer "Nu" (like the Greek letter). My advisor usually pronounces my name as "Nyugen".


You can learn how to pronounce my name here Microsoft Speech Synthesis Engine or My pure voice.


Nguyen Bach





I am from
rau-muống, tofu, and shrimp-sauce.
I am from
green tea, sticky rice, and juicy coconuts
smelling and tasting like none other.
I am from
the crispy spring-rolls, spicy Phở, and tasty fish sauce
that made me a sporty man.


I am from
a supportive family, understanding parents, and a great sister Ha,
the sunshine of life.
I am from
“Nothing crave, nothing have”,
“You are always lazy. Clean your room!”, and
your teeth before going to sleep”.


I am from
Sword Lake, West Lake, and a 1000-year old city.
I am from
Thang Long, Trung Vuong, and Hanoi-Amsterdam
where I have friends indeed.


I am from
Buddhism, Computerism, and Internetism which
shape my soul, bring me a job, and connect me to the world.


I am from
the past and the present, to continue on life’s journey.




Although many foreigners still imagine Vietnam through the lens of war, it is in reality a country filled with captivating natural beauty and tranquil village life. Its highlands and rainforest regions, far from being devastated, continue to yield new species and team with exotic wildlife. Its islands and beaches are among the finest in all of Southeast Asia, and its cuisine is very possibly the most delicious you will ever find. Over three decades have passed since Vietnam was officially united, and in that time it has done a remarkable job of healing its wounds. Today, this gracious and graceful country is an outstanding travel destination.


The cuisine of Vietnam comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors and is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed. One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always fresh being bought the same morning straight from the market. Food is usually prepared with a minimum of oil and served with the ubiquitous fish sauce called “nước mắm”. Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try including “phở”-pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast, “nem”-springroll, “bún chả nướng”- rice noodle with grilled pork. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available. 


Because Vietnamese has six different tones, it is a difficult language for most foreigners to speak despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese. The same word can have six different meanings depending on the tone used to pronounce it. In the cities and larger towns English is becoming popular and is now spoken by many younger people while some of the older generation still speak fluent French, my grand father is an example. Russian and Chinese are also spoken by some people.
Vietnamese Foods in Pittsburgh

Nguyen Bach


Nguyen Bach

Last modified: Friday, July 09, 2006