7 Famous Local Markets In Ho Chi Minh City

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Saigon’s markets seem lớn exist in another dimension to lớn the rest of the đô thị. In downtown District 1 you’d be forgiven for thinking that the traditional Vietnamese wet market no longer exists; replaced by generic high-kết thúc shopping malls. But, with the exception of Bến Thành Market (which caters largely to foreign tourists these days), local markets outside the city centre continue khổng lồ thrive sầu. Still as bustling, vibrant and fascinating as ever, these markets play a major role in most ‘ordinary’ people’s daily lives. Saigon’s markets are highly organized, the produce is local & fresh, và the sheer volume & variety of things for sale is remarkable. Once you’re in the embrace of one of Saigon’s markets you leave sầu the modern façade of District 1 far behind, and enter a more colourful, friendly, and personal world. Beloware my top 5 markets in Saigon.


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Thriving, bustling, vibrant: Saigon’s local wet markets

TOP 5 MARKETS IN SAIGON

My favourite local markets in Ho Chi Minh City

To best appreciate Saigon’s markets, visit during the mornings; the earlier the better. At this time of day, the produce is at its freshest & most colourful, và the markets are at their busiest. Nothing can beat the morning rush & the glory of fresh produce at the beginning of a new day.From 10am, the best has been bought và the customers long gone: herbs start to wilt in the heat, fish start to lớn die in their shallow water và fruit loses its shine. These markets represent a much poorer side of Saigon, yet here you’ll find some of the friendliest, liveliest, most convivial people in the city. Come with a sense of adventure, & expect products (& aromas) both wonderful & weird. The following markets are in no particular order of preference: they’re all fantastic.

Click on a market from the danh sách below khổng lồ read my Đánh Giá, or cliông xã HERE to watch my video:

MAP:My Top 5 Markets in Saigon:

ViewLarger Map

1. Xóm Chiếu Market:

Address:Lê Văn Linc Street, District 4: <MAP>

Like so many of Saigon’s markets, from the outside Xóm Chiếu is an eyesore: a horrible concrete egg carton of a building; grey, gryên ổn & bleak. But such is the buzz of people & produce around the perimeter of the market square, you quickly forget about the shortcomings of its façade. All along the outer edge of the market square there are food stalls selling delicious street food dishes, and opposite them, under the concrete slabs of the market exterior, are fruit và vegetable stalls, all bursting with colour in the early sunlight. Through the narrow market entrance there’s a tight outer circle of stalls specializing is all sorts of dried goods, kitchen equipment and bottled sauces. At the heart of the market, in a cathedralic space filled with shafts of sunlight, the meat & fish take centre stage. Behind the stalls there’s a cooked food corner where customers – many of whom are market workers – dine on various Vietnamese delicacies from noodle soups to lớn sweet bean desserts.


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You can’t help but notice that it’s mostly women over the age of 30 who populate markets lượt thích this in Saigon. Both the buyers và the sellers are female. There’s a distinctly chatty atmosphere; lively but not frantic. Many of the market workers have sầu worked in the same spot for years so they know each other well. There’s lots of gossip and laughter – especially at the sight of a bạn nước ngoại (a foreigner) – but no one hassles you to buy from them as they vày in Bến Thành Market. You’re không tính phí khổng lồ walk amuốn the produce, soaking up the colours & smells in the cool air và hushed atmosphere: there’s something very church-like about it.

2. Bình Tây Market:

Address:57 Tháp Mười Street, District 6: <MAP>

An exception khổng lồ the rule when it comes to market facades, Bình Tây’s exterior is a beautiful & exotic phối of French architecture in the Chinese style: a big, yellow ochre, station-esque building with tiled roof, và colourful, floral, be-dragoned motifs on the porticoes và entrances. It’s an enourmous square structure built around a courtyard full of greenery with a shrine to lớn the market’s founder, engulfed in incense smoke, at its centre.


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The section immediately after the entrance is dedicated to lớn clothes, bags, fabrics, & scarves, which although colourful is rather boring compared khổng lồ the food sections. Around the perimeter of the courtyard you’ll find all sorts of great-looking traditional Vietnamese & Chinese candied fruits and nuts in glittering packets, & not a Cadbury or Nestle biệu tượng công ty in sight. There are big heavy-duty bags of other dry goods here, such as biscuits, grains, beans and spices. Follow the mouth-watering aromas all the way lớn the bachồng of the market và this will lead you to a superb canteen where you could spkết thúc weeks ‘food-hopping’ from one stall khổng lồ the next. The food coming out of this canteen is extraordinary, và this alone is reason enough to lớn visit Bình Tây Market.


There’s an incense & votive offering section beside the canteen where candles, paper money & printed prayers are bought to be burned as offerings to lớn the ancestors. Right in front of this is a great butchers section with raw & roasted meats hanging on hooks, then there are herbs, pickled vegetables, dried mushrooms và medicinal leaves, until you hit the fruit & vegetable stalls that line the perimeter of the market building. Just lượt thích Xóm Chiếu there’s a strange hush inside this shady market – totally at odds with the rush & noise in the narrow streets surrounding it. Perhaps this is due to lớn the sheer scale of these two markets: even the constant bustle of buying and selling can’t fill their massive spaces.

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3. Bình Điền Market:

Address:off Nguyễn Văn Linh Street, District 8: <MAP>

Every great seafood-eating đô thị has a great seafood market: Tokyo has Tsukiji Market, New York has Fulton Market, & Saigon has Bình Điền Market. Located on the outskirts of the đô thị, Bình Điền is gigantic. Boats và trucks arrive in the small hours of morning to unload their produce, fresh from the rivers of the Mekong Delta, the East Sea, and the Gulf of Đất Nước Thái Lan. Before even the first glimmer of dawn, Bình Điền’s three enormous aircraft-sized hangers are filled with fish, shells, crustaceans, và reptiles, not lớn mention the meat, poultry, fruit và vegetables that also arrive on boats & trucks from the fertile southern provinces.


This market is where other markets buy their produce: Bình Điền is quite literally Saigon’s market of markets. For this reason you need to get here early: by 6.30am most of the produce has been bought, and workers are packing up ready for a well-earned, hearty breakfast. However, it’s well worth setting your alarm, because Bình Điền is like all Saigon’s markets rolled into lớn one. There’s a palpable excitement amongst both the buyers và the sellers: everyone seems lớn know they’re partaking in something special, và on a grvà scale. Produce is divided inkhổng lồ separate hangers (each hanger big enough to fit multiple jumbo jets): there’s one for fish, one for shellfish & vegetables, và one for meat. The shellfish hanger echoes to the sound of shells being shoveled into boxes.


Most of the seafood – including shellfish – is alive; thrashing around in big metallic containers full of bubbling water. Despite the enormity of this market it’s extremely well-organized và efficient. Bình Điền is quite far from downtown Saigon, but these days, with all the city’s new infrastructure, the journey is reasonably short. There are more rice paddies và fish farms in the vicinity than buildings, but the District 1 skyline is still visible on the horizon. If you bởi come, do as the locals bởi và wear boots or substantial footwear: leave sầu your flip-flops at trang chính because it seems the fish brought most of their natural habitat with them lớn this market!

4. Bà Cđọc Market:

Address:corner of Phan Đăng Lưu và Bùi Hữu Nghĩa streets, Bình Thạnh District: <MAP>

Off the burgeoning Phan Đăng Lưu Street, Bà Cgọi Market is another Cold War-style nuclear bunker from the outside. But inside it’s equal to lớn the busy road it fronts in intensity and pace. This is a big and busy market that has a rougher edge than the others in this list: more frantic, more local, more unruly, a little less friendly but just as jammed full of produce và energy.


Absolutely everything seems lớn be on sale here. The market follows the familiar pattern of fruit và vegetables around the outside, dry goods along the narrow outer circle, & meat và fish at the centre. The stalls are tightly packed và labyrinthine, so much so that the atmosphere is almost ‘cosy’. There’s a first floor clothes market where you can find bags, scarves, belts & blankets too. Many of the items have sầu price tags on them, but these should be used only as a guide for how much khổng lồ bargain down to: from two-thirds to a half of the ‘official’ price tag is usually the ‘real’ price. Thus, a scarf with a 100,000VNĐ tag on it should be bargained down lớn 50-70,000VNĐ. Great value Vietnamese dishes are available at the market canteen along the western edge of the building.

5. Hòa Hưng Market:

Address:539A Cách Mạng Tháng Tám Street, District 10: <MAP>

Yet another deeply unimpressive concrete exterior masks this compact & lively market. Hòa Hưng is on one of Saigon’s worst roads for traffic và noise, but once you enter its military façade all this is replaced by the sound of the market in full swing: the chopping of meat with shining cleavers on wooden chopping boards; the rustle of grains of rice being portioned out inkhổng lồ bags; the slap of live sầu fish being slammed on the counter to stun them; the yelling, laughter & banter between fish mongers và butchers.


It’s on a smaller scale than the other markets in this các mục, which makes it much more manageable, but it still has all the energy & punch of a big market. Meat, fish, noodles, rice, spices, candies, sauces, fruit, vegetables, jewelry, & clothes are all sold in a relatively small space. It would be such a shame if, in the future, the sterile, soporific environment of the supermarket takes over from these local wet markets in Saigon.

VIDEO

Scenes from Saigon’s markets:

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