1. Location of Ben Thanh Night Market
Ben Thanh Night Market is so famous that this attraction can not be missed on any trip to Ho Chi Minh City. The Ben Thanh Day Market in the beautiful iconic building is open from 7:00 to 19:00. In the evening, nearly 200 shops and eateries open on Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh and Le Thanh Ton Streets. That is Ben Thanh Night Market where you can shop, eat and enjoy the nice view of the city at night. Highlights of this night market include the good location, diversity of goods, one of the biggest night markets in the city and the iconic building looking fantastic at night.
How to get to Ben Thanh Night Market?
Because the market is located right in the heart of the city, it is not difficult to get there. If your hotel is around the market, just walk there. Be careful of the crowded traffic at night. In fact, Ho Chi Minh City’s streets are still full of vehicles at night when people go out for eating, drinking, studying, working, etc. Try to walk on the pavement. You can book a taxi if you stay more than 1 km from the market. The fare of taxi in the city is around 15,000 VND. Vinasun and Mai Linh are good taxis in Ho Chi Minh City. If you are a fan of Uber in your country and other countries, you can book a drive using Grab App. Uber stopped operations in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.
There are enough things, most of which are fun and enjoyable, to do at this amazing market. Just walk around the night market and see what to do there.
2. See the nice Ben Thanh Night Market with colorful strip lights
The iconic splendid Ben Thanh Market covers a colorful coat when the sun goes down. The outdoor led strips highlight the design of the French architecture, tower, clock and canopy. Taking a nice photo at night is not a bad idea at the market in the evening.
3. Enjoy amazing Saigon foods at Ben Thanh Night Market
Steamed sticky rice stall
There is an over 10 year street food stall selling steamed foods on Phan Chu Trinh Street. At this stall, you can buy takeaway delicious Vietnamese traditional foods.
Steamed sticky rice
Saigon people love to eat on the streets at night. Ben Thanh Night Market has tens of exotic loca foods for you to taste. Steamed sticky rice (Xôi, Xoi) in different colors is warmed in big steamers attract lots of tourists. Cold steamed stick rice is not delicious. In Vietnam, the steam sticky rice with natural colorings, beans, peanuts and coconut milk. The colorings make the rice colorful and add flavors to the rice. Coconut milk makes the sticky rice greasy. You can choose one or a mix of different kinds of Steamed sticky rice. The purple Xoi is made from sticky rice and magenta plant extract. Gac (Momordica cochinchinensis) fruit’s meat is used to make Xoi orange. Pandan juice makes the rice green. There are also Steamed sticky rice with peanuts, Steamed sticky rice with black bean, Steamed sticky rice with red bean, Steamed sticky rice with durian. The sticky rice is topped with shredded coconut meat and a mix of salt, sugar and sesame.
Green sticky rice with coconut
Cốm dẹp (Cốm xào dừa, Green sticky rice with coconut) is a favorite traditional food of Vietnamese people. It is made from young sticky rice which is harvested about 10 days earlier. The young sticky rice is roasted, then pounded with pestles by strong people. The husk is removed and Cốm remain after pounding. The Cốm is cooked with coconut milk, sugar and mixed with shredded coconut meat to make Cốm dẹp. Green sticky rice is less sticky than sticky rice harvested at ideal harvest time. It has a distinct smell and taste. I would like to recommend this food at the market.
Steamed casava with coconut
This cheap, tasty and easy to grow Steamed casava with coconut (Củ mì hấp) is a popular food in the past when the life was still difficult. This steamed root is tender and sticky at the same time. The greasy shredded coconut meat, the mix of salt, sugar and sesame go well with the cassava.
Sweet silk-worm cake
Sweet silk-worm cake is funny to eat. To make the cake, ground cassava, make a batter from the grounded cassava and steam it until well-done, sticky and smelling. The steamed cake is cut into strips which are mixed with shredded coconut meat. The vendor gives you a bamboo stick to eat the silk worm cake.
The prices are acceptable, a portion costs from 20,000 VND.
Hai Lua Restaurant
Hai Lua is a famous Vietnamese restaurant franchise in Ho Chi Minh City. At Hai Lua Restaurant in the area of Ben Thanh Night Market, you can choose from more than 100 Vietnamese dishes costing from 80,000 VND to 350,000 VND. Drinks cost from 20,000 VND to 50,000 VND.
- Seafood: clam, shrimp, oyster, bood arca, scallop, snail, crab, turtle etc.
- Fertilized duck egg.
- Vietnamese traditional cakes: Vietnamese pancake, Vietnamese mini pancake (Khot cake), Wooven rice sheets (Hoi cake).
- Vietnamese rolls: Spring roll, Dew-wetted rice paper and boild pork roll, Bo pia (Salad poll), Fried roll.
- Vietnamese BBQ: Grilled beef, pork, fish.
- Roasted pork (Heo quay).
- Hot pots.
I would like to recommend to eat:
Steamed shrimp in coconut.
- Grilled blood areca: 100,000 VND; Grilled oyster: 42,000 VND/5 plate, Fried clam with garlic: 78,000 VND/ 1 portion; Grilled scallop with green onion oil: 15,000 VND/ 1 scallop. Grilled sweet snail: 280,000 VND/ 1 kg. Vietnamese people like chewy and tender foods such as shellfish dishes. Other highlight of shellfishes is that they are nutritious. Eating shellfishes and snails is a part of Saigon culture.
- Vietnamese pancake (Bánh xèo): 75,000 VND. Vietnamese pancake is a traditional Vietnamese cake which has a crispy crust made from turmeric, coconut milk and rice flour, the filling made from shrimp, pork, bean sprouts. Dinner wrap the crust, filling and herbs in lettuce or mustard greens leaves, dip into sweet and sour fish sauce and eat.
- Spring roll: 15,000 VND, Fried roll: 88,000 VND/1 plate. Spring roll and Fried roll are two famous Vietnamese traditional foods and should not be missed when you are in Vietnam.
- Boiled fertilized duck egg – a food fear factor in Vietnam: 15,000 VND/1 egg. Although many of Western people are aware of this food, you can find it is delicious.
- Sweet and sour hot pot with snakehead: 200,000 VND/ 1 hot pot. Sweet and sour soup or hot pot is a popular dish in South Vietnam. It can boost your energy because it contain fresh vegetables, hot broth and snakehead.
Although some locals and visitors think that the prices are expensive, I think the prices of foods at Hai Lua Restaurant are reasonable. Prices in District 1 are always higher than in other districts due to high rent prices. Highlights of the restaurant include the good position, fresh ingredients, good chefs and great service.
There are some moving carts selling Banh mi at the market. The price of a bread filled with cold cuts, Vietnamese pork rolls or grilled pork pate is from 15,000 VND. If you would like to find a cheap food to fill your stomach and save your time, Banh mi is a good choice.
Traditional Vietnamese dishes
Another restaurant at the market serves Vietnamese noodle dishes such as Hu tieu (Clear rice noodle soup), Bun mam (Fermented fish noodle soup), Banh canh (Soup cake), Goi cuon (Spring roll), Bun thit nuong (Rice noodles with grilled pork). It also sell Vietnamese broken rice – a specialty food of Saigon. The price of a portion is from 50,000 VND.
Vietnamese sweet soup
Che or Vietnamese sweet soup is one of the favorite dessert of not only Saigon people but Vietnamese. If you would like to eat something sweet and cold after your meal, this is not a bad choice. A portion of Che at dessert stalls in the area of the night market is from 15,000 VND to 30,000 VND.
What to drink?
Prices of drinks at Ben Thanh Night Market is from 20,000 VND to 60,000 VND.
Fresh coconut water
It is a big chance to enjoy fresh coconut water in Vietnam on your trip to this country. The light sweet, cool and nutritious coconut water can make you refreshing and boost your energy.
Smoothie and juice
You can choose smoothies from fresh soursop fruits, mangoes, avocados, juices made from fresh carrots, tomatoes, etc.
Durian flesh costs about 400,000 VND/kg, durian fruits cost 80,000 VND/kg, other seasonal fruits such as star apples, mangosteens, mangoes, longans, rambutans, and other fruits which cost from 50,000 to 100,000 VND/kg. You can buy them at shops or from vendors who arrange the fruits in baskets on the back of bicycles or motorbikes. Although you can see fixed prices, you should negotiate the right deal with sellers. You can offer 30 percent less than the asking price. In comparison to other local markets and other shops in the city, prices of fruits at Ben Thanh market are a little higher, the prices will not be high if you are a good dealer. You can also come to supermarkets and convenience stores to buy safe Vietnamese fruits at reasonable prices.
4. Buy souvenirs at Ben Thanh Night Market
Buying souvenirs is one of the most favorite parts of a trip to Ho Chi Minh City. Ben Thanh Night Market is an ideal place to choose great souvenirs in the city. You will be attracted by thousands of lovely souvenirs at different prices. You will not see fixed prices on the goods like in other souvenir shops or supermarkets. Helpful sellers will let you know the prices, you can bargain and decide to buy the items or not. Do not be shock if you decide not to buy and sellers change their faces. Some tips and frequent questions about how to bargain at Ben Thanh Market are as below:
- Q: How much should I offer below the asking prices? A: 50%, it is not too much at Ben Thanh Night Market, sellers will not think you are a bad guy, they know how to raise prices.
- Q: What to do if they do not accept your deal? A: Just leave. They can accept the prices you offered right when you are only a few steps away from their shops. If they do not accept after you leave, the offering prices are too low. You can come back and offer them better prices.
- Walk around, see how much other travelers pay for souvenirs you would like to buy, learn how they bargain at the market.
Below is the list of popular souvenirs and prices:
5. Buy clothes and accessories at Ben Thanh Night Market
Bargaining is a must at shops selling clothes and accessories at this market.
Many shops which offer their biggest discounts and promotions are always crowded. Make sure the goods are not low quality before buying. They usually do not accept more discounts so that you do not need to bargain at these shops. In the photos, all Adidas, The North Face fake backpacks cost 100,000 VND. Finger slippers cost only from 50,000 VND.