Forget the fridge, raid midnight sweet soup stalls in Saigon

By Di Vy    November 27, 2018 | 09:49 pm PT
Indulge your sweet tooth and/or late night cravings at any/all of these five che (sweet soup) stalls in Saigon.

The "ghost" sweet soup

A bowl of egg sweet soup served in this ghost sweet soup stall. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy  

A bowl of egg sweet soup served at the "ghost" sweet soup stall. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy

Located on Tran Hung Dao B Street near the Dai Quang Minh Market in District 5, the Chinese-style sweet soup stall fits the space in front of an old substation. As the night grows older, more people come to the stall. Many people call it the "ghost" stall because it serves food until late night under the flickering light.

The eatery serves up to 20 different types of sweet soups in Chinese style with various ingredients like lotus seed soup, mung bean soup, longan, black sesame, ginkgo, etc. Customers can order the hot or iced versions of each of these soups.

The stall is open from 4 p.m. until midnight. Each serving costs about VND15,000 ($0.64). Bikes can be parked opposite the shop for VND6,000 ($0.25) each.

Oil lamp sweet soup

This stall’s usual opening hours are 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., but the couple that runs it also keep it open until 1a.m. or 2 a.m at times. Nguyen Thi Tu and her husband set up this stall in 1976 in Alley 504 on Nguyen Kiem Street.

The stall consists of a wooden plank used as a table and some plastic chairs for customers. Despite the narrow space they have on the street, the couples serve sweet soups for a big crowd of people every night. The peak time is around midnight, when foodies flock there.

They usually runs out early every day, but sometimes the couple can serve until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. Depite its popularity, the price of each serving is kept at a very low VND5,000 ($0.21).

Lam Vinh Mau sweet soup vendor

The stall owner

The stall owner is making a cup of sweet soup. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy 

The stall opens at 7 p.m., when the city is glittering with electric lights. Located on Nguyen Thai Binh Street in District 1, this is an eye-catching venue with all the colorful ingredients of sweet soups.

The owner opened the stall in 1958, making it one of the oldest sweet soup vendors in Saigon.  

The place sells familiar sweet soups with green beans, seaweed, lotus seeds, and so on. It also serves Chinese style soups like the egg or almond sweet soup. The average price for a bowl of sweet soup is about VND20,000 ($0.85).

Thanh Thai sweet soup

Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy 

The fruits at Thanh Thai are always fresh and juicy. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy 

The small stall on Thanh Thai Street in District 10 is one of the most popular spots for young people. The stall opens late afternoon and closes at 2 a.m. the next morning. Customers have a diverse menu to choose from, including various sweet soups, smoothies, fruits or flan cakes.

The fruits are always fresh and juicy. The sweet soup here is considered by many to get the level of sweetness just right. The stall is always crowded at night, and it could prove difficult to find a place to sit. Prices range from VND20,000 – 40,000 ($0.85-1.71).

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