Ward 8, Tan Binh District which is next to Tan Son Nhat International Airport has dozens of stores, spas, restaurants and cafes, owned by Korean people and Vietnamese people, selling Korean products and providing services to not only Korean people but also Saigon people who love Korean culture. The area has been called Korean Town in Ho Chi Minh City for many years.
History of Korean Town in Ho Chi Minh City
At the beginning of the 1990s, a residential area in Hau Giang, Thang Long, Nguyen Van Vinh, Nguyen Trong Loi Street near Tan Son Nhat Airport. Lots of Korean stores and restaurants opened, Korean people moved to the streets next to the busy and crowded Pham Van Hai Market opened by Saigon people in the area. They called the area Korean Market and it had been the trade center of Korean people until 2000. After that, Korean people have left Korean Market and moved to District 1, 2, Phu My Hung in District 7 for some reasons. It has been said that the narrow streets, unsuitable water source and bad feng shui.
There was only one convenience store selling Korean products at the crossroads of Truong Son and Hau Giang Streets. More and more stores, restaurants, cafes and spas open for business on Hau Giang Street. Some of them are moved from the Korean Market. At the beginning, Korean people rent houses and appartments around the stores and restaurants for living, some started their businesses by cooperating with Vietnamese people. The restaurants were small, sell a few dishes including steamed dishes and BBQ. The number of customers increased so that they upgraded the restaurants. Korean people have married Vietnamese people and opened more restaurants, cafes, hotels, barber shops, beauty salons, etc. No one know then the streets are called Korean Town in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to Mrs. Dinh Thi Thang who is the head of Area 8, Ward 8, Tan Binh District and the owner of a hotel in Korean Town, the business and life of Vietnamese people in this area have been better since Korean people choose to live in Ward 8. She said: “In the past, the streets were sparse and quiet, the area been developing and crowded since Korean people live and do their businesses here”.
Products and services in Korean Town in Ho Chi Minh City
Signboards are written in both Korean and Vietnamese, vendors, owners, waiters can speak Vietnamese and Korean.
The stores sells from fresh, dried canned foods, spices to cosmetics, kitchenwares such as scissors, knives made in Korea.
These restaurants serve prepared Korean authentic foods including congee, noodle dishes, grilled, steamed, fried, boiled dishes, salads and hot pots. Spicy and sour grilled dishes attract a large number of customers with the smell spreading in the air, signboards and banners.
Korean Rice Cake Shop
Korean Rice Cake Shop (Quán Bánh Gạo Hàn Quốc) at 49 Hau Giang Street, Tan Binh District provides more than 40 kinds of Korean cakes with different colors, layers and shapes. The cakes are made from rice flour, glutinous rice flour, black beans, mung beans, red beans, lotus seeds, apples, vegeteble powder. The shop is owned by a Korean married couple from Seoul capital, arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in 1993, made cakes and sell them at retail and wholesale to customers and Korean restaurants in Ho Chi Minh and South Vietnam.
Nhan Sam Restaurant
Location: 21/4 Hau Giang Street, Ward 4, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Prices: VND 120,000 – 800,000
The restaurant serves delicious hot pots and BBQ dishes, the secret recipes and gingseng used as a marinade component make the dish unique and special. The owner is Mrs. Kim Jong Sun’s family. They decided to live in Vietnam in 1993 because the cold weather in Korea was not good for her husband. They opened a restaurant and make their living on serving great dishes from Korea.
Hotels, airline ticket agency and travel agency, hair salons, beauty salons, barber shops, spas and cafes serve mainly Korean people living in Ho Chi Minh City.