Saigon weekend: What to do and where to go

By Phuc Trinh   March 31, 2023 | 03:37 am PT
If you are looking for some fun and excitement this weekend, you will not be disappointed by what Saigon has to offer, whether you prefer a banh mi festival, a ballet, or a fancy Sunday brunch.

Banh mi festival

Bread coated with sesame at Vietnams first banh mi festival in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen

Bread coated with sesame at Vietnam's first banh mi festival in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is holding the first-ever Vietnamese Banh Mi Festival to promote the traditional dish to locals and tourists. The festival is organized by the HCMC Tourism Association and the city’s Department of Tourism. The event features 120 stalls of leading bakeries, restaurants and food suppliers from around the country, as well as foreign businesses. Visitors can browse and enjoy a wide variety of banh mi with many types of fillings, including vegetarian, as well as other baked goods and sweets.

In addition to food-related activities, there are also musical performances, a conference on the history and development of banh mi and an award ceremony to honor top, long-standing bakery brands which have been established for more than 50 years, as well as exhibitions. The festival runs until April 2 at the Youth Cultural House at 4 Pham Ngoc Thach St., Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.

Ballet Carmen

A poster of Carmen. Photo courtesy of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO)

A poster of "Carmen". Photo courtesy of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO)

The ballet "Carmen" will be performed in Ho Chi Minh City on April 2 at the Saigon Opera House.

Carmen is a classic Italian opera by French composer Georges Bizet. It is set in southern Spain and tells the story of a young soldier named Don José who falls in love with Carmen, a working-class woman. Carmen, however, falls in love with a bullfighter named Escamillo. The love triangle between the three characters leads to jealousy, tragedy and murder. Although it initially shocked audiences for breaking conventions and expectations, Carmen is now one of the most beloved works of the classic Italian art form.

The performance will take place on Sunday, April 2 at 8 p.m., at 07 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. Ticket prices range from VND400,000 to VND750,000 ($19.17 to $31.94) per person.

French movie "Eyes without a face" (Les Yeux sans visage)

A poster of Eyes without a Face. Photo courtesy of French Cinema Rendez-vous

A poster of "Eyes without a Face". Photo courtesy of French Cinema Rendez-vous

French cinema rendez-vous is a new weekly event introducing the richness and diversity of French cinema through the screening of a variety of very different films. Screenings are held by French Cinema Rendez-vous and Institut français de HCMV.

This week’s movie is "Eyes without a Face," which is about a brilliant surgeon named Dr. Génessier who kidnaps young women and removes their faces in an attempt to graft them onto his daughter Christiane’s head. Christiane’s face has been entirely spoiled in a car crash. All the experiments fail, and the victims die, but Génessier keeps trying.

The screening will take place on April 1 at DCiné Cinema at No. 6 Mac Dinh Chi, District 1 at 7 p.m. The ticket price is VND60,000 per person.

Sunday brunch at Market 39

Offerings at Market 39s Sunday brunch. Photo courtesy of Market 39

Offerings at Market 39's Sunday brunch. Photo courtesy of Market 39

Market 39 is a restaurant on the ground floor of the InterContinental Saigon Hotel that features seafood and international cuisines. This March, the restaurant brought back its Sunday brunch event, with the highlight of unlimited servings of king crab legs. In addition to king crab legs, Market 39 offers fresh seafood and famous representatives cuisines. You can also enjoy beef Wellington, as well as BBQ foods served with live music.

The event takes place every Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. at the restaurant, on the corner of Nguyen Du and Le Van Huu St., District 1. Prices start at VND1,980,000 per guest including soft drinks and beer.

Wet Disco: Summer Edition

A poster of Wet Disco - Summer Edition Photo courtesy of The Brix

A poster of "Wet Disco - Summer Edition" Photo courtesy of The Brix

A pool party at The Brix gives one a chance to enjoy summer in the open air, and happy music vibes. The event takes place on Saturdays, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Brix, 26 Tran Ngoc Dien St., Thao Dien Ward, District 2.

The party costs VND490,000 per person, including unlimited servings of Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Tropical Caipirinha, Tropical French 75, Madras or beer for two hours.

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