Heard the one about the Irish bar in socialist Vietnam run by a China-born Brit? Michael Forsyth, who has spent much of his working life in Hong Kong, is the entrepreneur behind Sheridan's, an Irish-style pub in the entertainment zone of Vietnam's commercial capital. Mr Forsyth has been involved in various Ho Chi Minh City projects since moving there almost a decade ago; his day job is managing the upmarket Riverside apartment complex. Evenings are devoted to a personal project, Sheridan's Irish House, a shamrock-coloured bar in the heart of lively District One, home to the city's expatriate-oriented pubs, clubs, restaurants and girlie bars. The two-storey building is stuffed with Irish-looking memorabilia and furniture, much of it made to order by local craftsmen. The antique-looking mirrors, the carved bar and the dark wood tables and chairs were crafted in Ho Chi Minh City. 'I didn't want to import everything from Ireland in ready-made form,' says Mr Forsyth. 'It was hard to get Guinness at first - we had to hand carry it into the country - but we have managed to obtain regular supplies. 'I was under pressure to open an Irish bar from my Irish friends in Ho Chi Minh City, and the Irish ambassador in Malaysia who visits the city. So far we have proved popular with tourists and locally based expatriates. 'We have a lot of Japanese who come here - they like the salmon - and we do have some Vietnamese, but they tend to be working for international companies.' A can of Ireland's most famous drink retails for 80,000 dong in Vietnam's inflation-battered currency, a figure which converts to about HK$40. Local beer is HK$10, with the average per-customer food and drink bill coming to about HK$70. That is a significant amount in Vietnam, where professionals with expatriate companies earn only HK$3,000 per month. The black-clad staff at Sheridan's are all Vietnamese, including the chef, Mr Forsyth's local partner in the joint venture. After almost 10 years in the city, Mr Forsyth was able to navigate a reasonably smooth course through the socialist bureaucracy. 'You have to have a good partner, no matter what your level,' he says. 'You have to understand the regulations. The enterprise laws introduced in January made it a lot easier for entrepreneurs to create business opportunities. They got rid of 80 sub-licences that were previously needed. 'The government is committed to improving, but you have to remember it is an emerging nation.' Mr Forsyth's initial foray into Vietnam, armed with a plan to open a private members' club was, by his own admission, less than successful. Undeterred, he stayed on and was offered the Riverside apartments position. Before settling in Ho Chi Minh City, he spent a decade in Hong Kong, managing Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club and later moving to the Hong Kong Country Club. Previously, he worked in Barbados, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Poland. But he is, in his own words, a child of Asia, born in Shanghai just months before the 1949 communist takeover. The following year saw his father posted to the then British colony of Malaya: young Michael was later sent to school in England. The British passport-holder, born of Scottish-Irish parents, considers himself a Celt, hence the commitment to an Emerald Isle-style hostelry. But one Irish-bar element is lacking. Mr Forsyth has yet to locate a fiddle player. 'I am interested in hearing from any itinerant Gaelic or Celtic musicians who are passing through,' he says.