Ben Nghe Street Food Market is loved by many local and foreign visitors thanks to its lively atmosphere.
And for expats either living of visiting, this is a must-see, and must-eat, destination.
The food market in District 1 has over 30 stalls selling a wide variety of dishes and drinks, with a some stalls operated by expats in the city.
I was overwhelmed by the wide variety of culinary delights available, with familiar local dishes such as phở, bánh xèo, cơm tấm, as well as exotic international cuisine from India, Greek and Mexico.
All the stalls proudly display their finest and most mouth-watering dishes, from tasty looking Indian samosa, to grilled pork ribs that glisten under the light, and pan-fried beef that bursts into a tower of flames when a skilled chef sets it alight.
It may take you a while to decided what to have for dinner. Walking and browsing the stalls is almost as fun as eating. I say almost, because the food is what we are all here for.
With around 3,500 visitors everyday, Bến Nghé Street Food Market is adored by many local and foreign diners looking for a cool place to hang out with friends and families.
Lê Quốc Hùng, a media representative of the food market, told Việt Nam News that the place used to be Bến Thành Street Food Market (near Bến Thành Market), which was opened in 2015. In March this year it relocated to its new location, changing its name to Bến Nghé Street Food Market.
“The stalls here do their best to bring the most authentic tasty dishes, so Indian dishes are actually made by Indian cooks, Greek dishes are made by Greeks, etc., to preserve the unique taste of the food,” Hùng said.
Lê Quốc Chiến opened his Phở Vietstar stall over at the Bến Thành site eight years ago. Here they sell many phở dishes, such as stir-fried phở, deep-fried phở, phở roll, and obviously traditional phở noodle soup, with plenty of toppings available.
“The atmosphere here is really lively and fun, plenty of foreign customers visit our stall,” he said.
“The location here is convenient for business. It’s the city centre, we are near the Independence Palace and the Bến Thành market, so this place attracts plenty of tourists.”
Business is also great for Hansram Bhatt’s stall, which sells northern Indian dishes. For over seven years his Sher e Punjab stall has been serving chicken, mutton, fish, egg biriyani, among other Indian delights.
All the stalls here offer something unique, and there is minimal overlap between them. Every stall is someone’s favourite.
The market opens from 9am to midnight. There are also live music performance every Tuesday and Saturday, from 7pm to 9pm, further adding to the place’s already lively and exciting nightlife.
|The food market has more than 30 stalls, selling dishes from Việt Nam and many other countries around the world. — VNS Photo Việt Dũng
A great destination for tourists
Lê Quốc Hùng said: “Bến Nghé Street Food Market is very lucky to be known and loved by many local and foreign diners. Many international friends visited our place and recommended it on travel social media, as a destination that you should not miss in HCM City.”
In fact, there are plenty of diners here who are tourists visiting Việt Nam for the first time.
Sarah Broad, a Australian tourist, told Việt Nam News that her family wanted to visit a place where they can try many types of food, especially Vietnamese food which she loves, but also have some options for the kids.
She enjoys the food market for the indoor seating, fun vibe, and the pretty decoration like colourful walls and lightings.
Broad said: “I think the variety of food here is really good, we can have Vietnamese food as well as more Western options such as pizza, burgers, and also Mexican, etc. It’s just good for the family.”
With all the tasty, mouth-watering dishes on display, picking something to eat can take a while. — VNS Photo Việt Dũng
Pieter Depoortere, a Belgian tourist, also paid a visit to the food market with his girlfriend during his first ever trip to HCM City, after being recommended by his guide. Similar to Broad, his hotel is also near the food market.
“You have a lot of choices here, you can pick whatever you want," he said.
"For me it’s difficult, because I have too many choices!”
While the prices here are higher than that from other local food markets around the city, the service quality makes up for it. The seating areas are clean, thanks to staff members quickly taking care of left behind trays and rubbish, and since it is indoor, diners can still have a good time despite the frequent downpour during HCM City’s rainy season.
And of course, the vibrant atmosphere and tasty dishes make for a wonderful experience for anyone looking to spend an evening with their loved ones. — VNS