Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City
In Ho Chi Minh City, you can generally get the most between heaven and earth
at very good prices. But imported articles are rarely particularly cheaper than
in Europe. In the Dong Choi area you will find the big western shopping malls,
all the fashion shops and brands. Of course, this is also the most expensive
Spending several hours in the big markets like Ben Thanh at the end of Pham
Ngu Lao and Bin Thay in Cholon is no problem. Here, however, it is important to
bargain well; If you pay what they ask for the first time, you will probably be
fooled, as it is usual to demand at least double the price of tourists.
It is incredibly cheap to buy silk in Saigon (District 1), and the quality is
good, but it can of course vary. It's also cheap to get sewn clothes. Dung is
considered to be the best tailor in Saigon.
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For more typical Vietnamese articles, consider buying an ao dai, a
traditional Vietnamese dress that is still considered a symbol of Vietnam. Of
course, you'll also come across Vietnamese flag T-shirts, Ho Chi Minh or the
city's imaginary Hard Rock Café for around twenty bucks.
Wood crafts are also a Vietnamese specialty. You can find ashtrays, flower
vases, statues painstakingly carved and decorated with a single dark piece of
wood. For example, try Lang Viet in 111 Hai Ba Trung in District 1.
Local visual art based on small pieces of mother of pearl or eggshell glued
to wooden boards and then given up to 15-20 coats of varnish and polish is
another traditional Vietnamese specialty. The end results are often beautiful
because of the special manufacture. You can find works of art that range from
one fist to several square feet.
Eating in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnamese restaurants have long been a common sight in Europe, so most
people know what awaits them when they sit down to dinner in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Vietnamese cuisine is also heavily influenced by French, Chinese and
Cambodian, and the combination has made it one of the best in the world. For
example, try banh xeo, which is a rice pancake, baked with bean shoots, cooked
pork and shrimp.
The Khan hoang dishes come from South Vietnam and are not spicy. They are
based on seafood or bird with different vegetables.
The Bun mam dishes originate from the Mekong Delta and are influenced by the
influence of Cambodia. They are usually served in a bowl of sticks and consist
of rice, vegetables, pork or fish and snails.
Of course, after many years of French colonial rule, Ho Chi Minh City has a
significant number of French restaurants. And after the borders have opened and
commercialism has entered, you can find everything from Western BBQ Restaurants
and Kentucky Fried Chicken to Chinese and Thai restaurants.
It should not be concealed that the Vietnamese eat absolutely anything that
can crawl, fly, swim or walk. Dogs, cats, locusts, snakes, mice, crocodiles or
monkeys - everything goes downhill. Most of us may not be particularly tempted,
but you can feel relatively confident that within Ho Chi Minh City's borders, at
a restaurant with the English menu, there is minimal chance of inadvertently
putting Fido or Pusur in the throat.