Ben Thanh Market, needless to say, is a well-known icon for long-time dwellers in HCMC as well as visitors to the country’s most bustling hub. Located in the city downtown amid an abundance of tourist facilities, restaurants and shopping streets, Ben Thanh Market offers visitors all they need. At the market, ones can find almost all and everything, from everyday food to all kinds of souvenirs symbolic of all regions of the country.
But there is another facet of the venue that is getting increasingly popular for the city’s citizenry as well as tourists: The night-time market.
As the city lights up the night, shopkeepers set up tents on both sides of Ben Thanh Market to prepare for the second business shift of the day. The two streets in the East and West gates of Ben Thanh Market will be closed to traffic at around 6 p.m. to make way for the night vendors; major vehicles are not allowed to cross the streets except for motorbikes. Despite the modest number of stalls, items in the outdoor night market are diversified and abundant enough for a night jaunt.
Tourists and local people can enjoy specialties of the North, South and Central regions of Vietnam as well as other tasty dishes with reasonable prices. Anyone can satisfy their tastes by various kinds of Vietnamese noodles served with pork, beef, chicken or seafood in different types of sweet, sour or peppery soup. The warming bowls of noodles are adorned with traditional herbal leaves and vegetable making the soups subtle, which surely awake your moreish senses.
Especially, many tourists often drop in the barbeque area. Most of them find it interesting to try beef grilled in a tile over a small coal cooker, inhaling the fragrance of sizzling grilled meat. If one refuses the self-cooking joy, he or she can also choose other ready-made barbeque such as marinated pork or seafood.
Although it is just a night food court in a less-than-200-meter street, the food is quite hygienic and sophisticated in cooking. Most of the restaurants here demonstrate their menus in English and some other foreign languages with appetizing pictures which make it easier for tourists to order. It would be a wise choice to cruise the street until something catches your eyes because most of Vietnamese foods taste as good as they look.
Ben Thanh Market not only offer a night food court with diverse cuisines but also an ideal place for tourists to experience a leisure walk at night, looking for little pretty stuff to mark their journey to Viet Nam. After fulfilling the stomach, customers can shop around for shoes, silk clothing, stone jewelry, souvenirs and décor before deciding to buy some gifts for friends or family.
If you have no chance for a long stay in the city, a walk along Ben Thanh night market can give you a better understanding of the lifestyle and food culture of local people. The miniature Sai Gon at Ben Thanh Market at night can fully meet visitors’ demand for traditional food and shopping.