Where to go in Saigon when you're craving a taste of the Far East

By Phong Vinh   February 4, 2018 | 08:55 am GMT+7

From China Town to a Cambodian market and Japanese street, Saigon is a melting pot when it comes to food.

Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen

Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen

China Town, District 5 & 6 

China Town, established in the 19th century, can be found near Saigon's Cho Lon. In April 1931, Cho Lon was integrated into Saigon, hence the name Saigon - Cho Lon. In 1956, Saigon became the official name and Cho Lon was referred to mostly as where the Vietnamese Chinese lived. China Town is an area that encompasses districts 5 and 6, and some parts of District 8. Chinese food is available everywhere on the streets, but with a special Vietnamese twist. In China Town, you can find some of the oldest dishes in Saigon. 

Kuy teav is a signature Chinese dish that can be found in many streets in District 5. There are also sticky rice, offal stew, fried flour, etc. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh 

Kuy teav is a signature Chinese dish that can be found on many streets in District 5. There's also sticky rice, offal stew, fried dumplings, etc. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh 

Cambodian market, District 10 

Also known as Le Hong Phong, the Cambodian market was founded around 20 years ago in an old apartment complex, with scores of stalls selling ingredients and food from the land of Angkor. 

The Cambodian Market has expanded with locals getting in on the act, but its true Cambodian soul is still preserved by around 15 stores run by the children and grandchildren of the families that fled Cambodia more than 40 years ago. This photo shows Tu Xes shop where she serves traditional Num bank chok noodle soup from Cambodia. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

The Cambodian market has expanded with locals getting in on the act, but Cambodian soul is still preserved by around 15 stores run by the children and grandchildren of the families that fled Cambodia more than 40 years ago. This photo shows Tu Xe's shop where she serves traditional num bank chok noodle soup from Cambodia. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Its official name is Le Hong Phong Market, but for decades people have been calling this market in Ho Chi Minh Citys District 10 the Cambodian Market, simply because it sells particular products from Cambodia. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Its official name is Le Hong Phong but for decades people have been calling this market in District 10 the Cambodian market, simply because it sells products from Cambodia. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Cambodian che, or sweet dessert, is another highlight at this market. Co says she follows her mothers recipe to cook Cambodian che at the market. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Cambodian che, or sweet dessert, is another highlight at this market. Co says she follows her mother's recipe to cook Cambodian che at the market. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Most streethawkers here have lived and worked in Cambodia, or are Vietnamese of Cambodian origin. 

You can also find Kuy Teav, traditional vermicelli soup, banh canh (soup with tapioca flour), grilled banana and so on, at around VND 25,000 to VND 50,000 ($1.1 - $2.2). Cambodian specialties sold in this market are che (sweet soup) made with palmyra palm sugar, and Num-po-choc noodle (traditional Cambodian noodle soup). 

You can also find kuy teav, traditional vermicelli soup, banh canh (soup with tapioca flour), grilled bananas and more for around VND 25,000 to VND 50,000 ($1.1 - $2.2). Cambodian specialties at this market include che made with palmyra palm sugar, and num-po-choc (traditional Cambodian noodle soup). 

Japanese street, District 1 

The 2-km road that connects 15B Le Thanh Ton to Thai Van Lung in District 1 is lined with wooden doors and windows, and lanterns in white, red and yellow. People could easily think this street is in Japan, hence the name. 

Japanese street in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Kim Hue

Japanese street in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Kim Hue

Most owners of the restaurants in this street are Japanese, which may explain the distinct Japanese flavors. Many notable dishes include Ramen, Takoyaki, sashimi, sushi or mochi. 

Most restaurant owners on this street are Japanese, which may explain the distinct Japanese flavors. Many notable dishes include ramen, takoyaki, sashimi, sushi and mochi. Photo by VnExpress. 

Thai area, District 5

Located on Nguyen Tri Phuong street, this area is famous for the Thai street food. Photo by VnExpress. 

Located on Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, this area is famous for its Thai street food. Photo by VnExpress. 

Menu includes Thai specialties such as tom yum, lod chong, coconut ice cream, Thai sushi, son tam, and more. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy

The menu includes Thai specialties such as tom yum, lod chong, coconut ice cream, Thai sushi, son tam, and more. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy

Korean corner, District 7, 1 and Tan Binh

If you are a fan of Korean food, you'll need to pass by these districts. There are a number of a Korean restaurants along Thang Long, Truong Son, Tan Son Hoa, Thai Van Lung, Le Thanh Ton, Le Duan and Phu My Hung. 

Korean Gim chi. Photo by AFP/Ed Jones

Korean Gim chi. Photo by AFP/Ed Jones

Some of the best dishes in South Korea can be found here, including grilled pork, gimbap, gim chi soup, cold noodles, suntubu or mushroom hot pot. Photo by VnExpress/Hong Lien. 

Some of the best dishes in South Korea can be found here, including grilled pork, gimbap, gim chi soup, cold noodles, suntubu and mushroom hot pot. Photo by VnExpress/Hong Lien. 

Tags: saigon food
 
 
go to top