Located only a five-minute walk to Ben Thanh Market,Christina’s Saigon – The Schatz House on Le Thanh Ton Street, provides Saigon newcomers time-saving access to the liveliest area of Ho Chi Minh City. In order to simplify trip planning, here are our recommendations on truly amazing places you must visit nearby.
Where to Eat & Drink
Pho Co Dan – 50 Truong Dinh Street, District 1
Pho is globally recognized as a culinary symbol of Vietnam and its growth has reached its highest apex. This dish is served countrywide, whether it be urban or rural areas, from rustic street vendors to high-end restaurants, so skipping out on this dish while in Saigon is the same as leaving your Vietnam traveling diary unfinished.
With an airy setting, an irresistibly charming fragrance in the air, and a traditional Northern-style flavor, Pho Co Dan is a familiar addresses for food enthusiasts in the city’s center. Although the prices are slightly higher compared to the competitors, each bowl of pho with the sophisticated, flavorful broth and the freshest cuts of beef would be worth your every penny.
Read more: The Best Pho In Saigon
The Famous Bun Rieu Vendor at Ben Thanh Market – 4 Phan Boi Chau Street, District 1
Half of Vietnamese dishes are noodle-based. Standing out from a huge number of local delights is bun rieu – a well-known dish, both domestically and internationally. This dish consists of crab and rice noodles, has a slightly sour taste, and is often served with fresh vegetables (shredded lettuce and chopped water spinach).
When it comes to Southern style bun rieu in Saigon, there isn’t a noodle lover unfamiliar with the famous vendor on Phan Boi Chau Street, near the East Gate of Ben Thanh Market. This location has been operating from noon until evening, for the past three decades. There’s no sign marking the location, so your only assessment of having arrived is when you see a roadside establishment full of diners during opening hours. Just pick a spot along the sidewalk, order a bowl, and wait for your bun rieu to be served. With a unique flavor that is hard to be replicated, the bun rieu vendor at Ben Thanh Market enchants not only Saigonese folk, but also a significant number of foreign visitors.
Read more: An In-depth Look at Bun Rieu – One of Saigon’s Signature Dishes
Banh Xeo & Banh Khot Vendor at Ben Thanh Night Food Market
Widely popular throughout the country, banh xeo and banh khot are Vietnamese style pancakes. These popular cakes are mainly made of coconut milk and rice flour, topped with flash fried seafood, such as medium-size shrimp or squid, and served with fresh vegetables and sweet fish sauce. These cakes are ideal as an appetizer, a snack, or even a light meal.
Wandering around Ben Thanh night market, visitors can also find street vendors selling attractive plates of banh xeo and banh khot at an affordable price. Although the dishes here might not have the best flavor characteristically speaking, eating at Ben Thanh night market is recommended as an easy solution for guests staying at Christina’s Saigon – The Schatz House.
Read more: Banh Khot : The Tastiest Street Food in Saigon
Banh Mi Huynh Hoa – 26 Le Thi Rieng Street, District 1
The uniqueness of banh mi not only lies within the French-influenced baguette but also in the flavor packed, savory local fillings which is what makes the marriage of the two main ingredients a true love affair. Not randomly honored as one of the finest 12 street foods in the world by the US tourism magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, banh mi is a potential candidate in the race to select the representative for Vietnamese cuisine.
If you are on your way to visit or spend time in Saigon, a common question you are probably wondering is where to have the best banh mi in town. Highly praised by food-lovers, Banh Mi Huynh Hoa remains busy at all times. With thoughtfully structured layers, including pate, butter, herbs, and pork, banh mi here is incredibly good, and rich in flavor. And you know what? Christina’s Saigon – The Schatz House, luckily, is located ideally for you to easily get to this well-recognized banh mi address.
Trung Nguyen Cafe – 219 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1
Mentioning banh mi but overlooking Vietnamese coffee seems to be a serious shortcoming. There is a common saying that in order to understand how to enjoy your day like a true Saigonese, one must partake in a breakfast of banh mi and a cup of the traditional black coffee – the combo that fully reflects the Vietnamese lifestyle. Finding a good corner to enjoy this special drink is undoubtedly worth your time and energy, even when you are not a huge coffee drinker.
Trung Nguyen Cafe is the most well-known local cafe chain, a longtime favorite of the Vietnamese, a place welcoming guests looking for a peaceful morning to kickback with a cup of pure coffee goodness. Cups of coffee served here are really strong, somewhere between the regular black coffee and the straight espresso, which is why it goes so beautifully with sweetened condensed milk. It can be said that Trung Nguyen is how coffee is meant to be enjoyed.
Read more: How to Brew The Perfect Cup of Vietnamese Coffee
BD Florist & Café – 56 Le Thi Rieng Street, District 1
When it comes to coffee shops with a wonderfully-designed space in Saigon, BD Florist & Cafe at 56 Le Thi Rieng Street is a must-visit stop, especially for those who want to pay for a relaxing space.
Originally a wedding flower showroom, BD Florist & Cafe is a true fairytale garden full of flowers and grass in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Saigon. Each of the three floors here is separately decorated in the theme of the four seasons. The spring floor pops with bright and modern colors, while the summer floor is reminiscent of sunny skies and windy seas. The winter floor is highlighted in a deep, cool color scheme.
Seriously, what is better than finding yourself a cozy corner and enjoying all the beautiful flowers strewn around while sipping on a flavorful cup of coffee?
L’Usine – 70B Le Loi Street, District 1
Not only being known as a cool and artistic cafe space, L‘Usine also stocks a unisex collection of contemporary fashion.
Inspired by the timeless elegance and enterprising industry of the Indochina era, L’Usine’s founders have designed the gallery that not only showcases global fashion but celebrates modern Vietnamese creativity. There are retro lace dresses from Boaime, everyday T-shirts from Cheap Monday and handmade lacquerware from Indochine. The interior design of brushed concrete floors and whitewashed brick at L’Usine is hipster perfection and you could easily waste half a day shopping and snacking on macaroons.
Read more: Cafe Hopping in Saigon
Where to Visit
Ben Thanh Market
On the long list of symbolic places to visit in the city, Ben Thanh Market seems to be the most famous and the one every newcomer is likely to visit.
Operating since 1914, this 100-year-old street market is not only where the daily trading of goods takes place, but it is also the oldest witness of all the historical ups and downs that had happened in Saigon.
The market fully opens every day at around 8-9 AM. During the day, the market is divided into several themed zones from clothing, footwear, and textiles to brocades, jewelry, and of course, food. Each zone houses several booths/stalls that display a colorful array of items for you to choose from. Tourists mostly come here to buy souvenirs or gifts such as the “nón lá” (a traditional hat), wooden slippers, coffee filters to make the traditional “cà phê phin” (filtered coffee), etc. Meanwhile, after 7 PM, the bustling night market opens up which also sells similar items and food.
From our experience, we recommend you double-check with someone who knows local prices before you buy anything. Sad but true, sellers usually raise the prices unreasonably to tourists, so perhaps train yourself to bargain before you head out. Usually, just divide the offered price by a half and you should be golden.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Saigon’s Many Markets
The Bird Park – Tao Dan Park, District 1
Situated in District 1, Tao Dan Park is regarded as one of the nicest green spaces in the city. In one corner of the park, there is a special bird park where nearly half of Ho Chi Minh’s bird lovers gather every morning and bring their most beautiful songbirds to sing with each other. Perhaps, this place may even be home to most songbirds residing in Ho Chi Minh City.
Maybe in the memories of the Saigonese, the bird park has become an integral part. Everyone comes here with the same intentions, which are to listen to these lovely birds chirping under the green trees. Believe it or not, this would be a great place to forget the chaos of work, the stresses of life, the noise of the streets, and to take a break and get the peace of mind we often crave.
(Credit: Best Ever Food Review Show)
Wait no more! At Christina’s Saigon – The Schatz House, you surely have many options surrounding you to keep you occupied during your whole stay. Let us know what you think once you try these places out!
Enjoyed this article and want some more cool fun things to do, see and eat in Vietnam? Follow us at the Christina’s blog!