Ben Thanh Market: an ideal place for shopping & tasting food

Ben Thanh Market is a famous place for Vietnamese people and international tourists when visiting Saigon. Ancient architecture, friendly sellers and unique items make Ben Thanh Market become a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City.

Ben Thanh market
Ben Thanh Market | © Riza Nugraha/flickr

Ben Thanh Market in the centre of HCMC

Address: Le Loi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Actually, Ben Thanh Market has 4 gates facing at the big streets, including:

  • North Gate (Cua Bac) is on Le Thanh Ton street
  • East Gate (Cua Dong) is on Phan Boi Chau street.
  • West Gate (Cua Tay) is on Phan Chu Trinh street.
  • South Gate (Cua Nam) is on Le Loi and Le Lai Streets.

The image of a clock tower at the South gate is considered a main symbol of the market and Ho Chi Minh City.

Explore Ben Thanh Market Saigon

1. Food stalls

Stopping at a food stall is a great choice. The cuisine at Ben Thanh Market is ranked at the top of the world’s best culinary areas. The food stores are full of hot and delicious dishes for you.

The main dishes include broken rice, rib rice, fish-sauce noodle, carb vermicelli, spring rolls, grilled meat noodles, and seven-color sticky rice. The snacks are endless, such as mixed rice paper, Hue dumplings, snail dishes, etc.

2. Handicrafts

When coming to these handicraft booths, you will be overwhelmed by the variety of colors and items. Many pretty products made with skillful hands of craftsmen will surely make you fascinated.

Brocade towels, meticulously carved-wooden boxes, and porcelain items are displayed for sale. All will attract you, and you may want to spend money on some gifts here.

3. Dry food

Interestingly, the Ben Thanh market is a place to gather plenty of kinds of jams, cakes, and dried fishes from all over Vietnam.

This corner also charms many tourists to stop buying specialties as gifts. The sellers will introduce you in a detailed and enthusiastic manner about the products on sale.

4. The fruit stall

Ben Thanh Market has a vital location in the trade of the city. So this is also a gateway to sell fruits from all over the country. Looking at the fresh and colorful fruit stores, inviting the guests to stop to buy some.

5. Ben Thanh market at night

Going to Ben Thanh Night Market is also considered an exciting experience in HCMC.

Every night, the market welcomes nearly 1,000 visitors to shop, eat and drink. When the main stalls inside the building begin closing, it is time for the outside shops to light up.

The food court of Ben Thanh night market is also a unique destination that attracts many tourists. You can find different food, including Hanoi Pho, Hue beef noodle soup, Quang noodles, or rice noodles Nam Vang at quite affordable prices.

Tasty food you may try in Ben Thanh market

1. Crab vermicelli (Bun Rieu)

One of the most delicious dishes in Ben Thanh market that you cannot ignore is Bun Rieu. This vermicelli is on the sidewalk on Phan Chu Trinh Street and has open for over 30 years. Although it is small, you may meet lots of famous people here.

The noodle bowl consists of crab meat, tofu and vegetables. Each ingredient has its own distinctive flavor. Crab pies are tasty, and the broth is both sour and sweet. All make diners feel satisfied.

2. Banh Beo Dumplings

Banh Beo is one of the famous delicacies enjoyed by many diners. A set of Banh Beo costs around 50,000VND.

Banh Beo is local food in Hue City. So, there is a shop of Banh Beo Hue in the food court area of ​​the market. The store sells different kinds of dumplings, including Banh Beo, Banh Nam, Banh Loc. Each has a different sauce, creating great flavor.

3. Sweet soup

Sweet soup is an indispensable snack in Ben Thanh market as well as in Saigon because the weather is too hot, and a cup of cold soup is great.

The sweet soup shop is nestled in the door 7, West of Ben Thanh Market. This place attracts customers from the first time entering this area. The soup has many types and colors, such as green com, yellow bananas, corn, green beans, white coconut milk, and purple taro.

Typically, Che Be (Be sweet soup shop) has sold here for over 50 years and is highly appreciated for its taste.

4. Bun Mam (Fish-sauce vermicelli)

Bun Mam is a type of vermicelli originating from the Mekong Delta, but after a while, it became a specialty of this city and sold in Ben Thanh market.

The most famous shop in Bun Mam is at Phan Boi Chau Street (East Gate) with a typical flavor. Its ingredients are snakehead fish, tiger shrimp, squid, and eggplant. 

All ingredients are selected by the store owner carefully. Each shrimp and piece of fish are cautiously to create good quality of the soup. So, its price is also higher than in other areas.

5. Banh Canh Cua (Crab noodle soup)

If you are a fan of noodles, you should once visit the crab soup stall at 1301 Ben Thanh market.

The bowl of crab noodle soup includes fish cake, thinly sliced ​​sausages, mushrooms, and crab meat. All ingredients create a great taste.

6. Sticky rice

In the late afternoon, at the site of Le Thanh Ton street, a cart sells sticky rice with many kinds for you to taste.

Hot sticky rice has fragrant smell making diners feel more hungry. It Gac sticky rice, panda-leave sticky rice, and peanut sicky rice.

The nice flavor with the sweetness of the sugar and crispy coconut will make you have strange feelings. Each package is from 20,000VND.

What food gifts to buy at Ben Thanh market

1. Durian pie

Traveling to Saigon, if you want to find a Saigon specialty, you can check the durian pie. There are many types of durian pies, such as salted egg durian, fresh durian pizza, or Soc Trang durian.

The pies are packaged very carefully. They do not have a strong smell outside the bags. But, when you taste, the durian creates a strange smell and taste.

2. Baked coconut cake

The coconut cake is made from the coconut, sugar, and malt, then baked. Its flavor is very fragrant and crunchy. This cake is easy to carry, so many guests buy it as gifts.

3. Dry snakehead fishes

Dry snakehead fishes are local food in the Mekong Delta. But, they are sold a lot in Ben Thanh Market. Many Vietnamese tourists like to buy them to give their relatives. 

Dried snakehead fishes are packed in bags and vacuumed to help ensure hygiene, and can keep around 6 months. These dry fishes are good to taste with beer.

The notes when visiting Ben Thanh market

  • Ben Thanh Market is a retail market that has styles as the markets in Saigon as well as Vietnam. When visiting the stalls here, you can bargain and buy them. It is also an interesting experience on your journey.
  • Be careful about your bags to avoid being robbed. Although this situation has decreased significantly, it is still necessary to protect your belongings on the crowded streets and the markets.
  • Traffic is very busy in the area outside the market, so when you cross the road, you should pay attention to stay safe.
  • To know more about the life of Saigon, you can visit the Ben Thanh Night Market that opens from 7:00 pm to late at night. This trip helps you to have more fascinating experiences.

Some guests come to Ben Thanh Market to find the goods or souvenirs. The others want to look for their own images and features in the daily life of the people in HCMC. So, when you have a chance, please come to Ben Thanh Market to get the cultural beauty of Saigoneers.