Ben Thanh Market is Saigon's central market so you can probably guess what a bursting and bustling space it is. It's a great place to stock up on souvenirs, T shirts, bags, coffee and other local products that sell at higher prices in the city's more upmarket shops. But even if you're not on a shopping mission, Ben Thanh Market is a must see.
Built in 1870 by the French, the market was initially called Les Halles Centrales before being renamed Ben Thanh in 1912. From a wet market created by street vendors by the early 17th century, Ben Thanh has experienced many ups and downs throughout it’s history, and is now the oldest surviving market and one of symbols of Ho Chi Minh city.
Ben Thanh is firstly well-known as the place for real Vietnamese food. There a number of vendors and food stalls in the market food section that offers guests dishes freshly made to the order. Here, one can taste various kinds of local dishes like banh xeo, banh cuon, banh beo, cha gio, hu tiu… In the evening, while all stalls inside the market are closed, sidewalk restaurants around the market open and make it extraordinary lively area. One of the most recommended foods by tourists is deep fried whole fish, so remember to try it at least once when you dine here. Besides, one can also taste seafood andenjoy cool beer at cheap price (only $1-2 for a beer only). One advice for tourists is not sitting deep into the crowded food tent to avoid the heat.
Nor far from the food stands is the wet market. The Vietnamese have an impressive capacity to conjure culinary wonders from most of the organs of most of the creatures in the local animal kingdom. The nearby fruit markets also feature some outstanding tropical exotica from the Mekong Delta not to be passed over during a visit to Saigon.
tourists can find here variety of eye-catching local handicrafts, souvenirs. Just pick up some cute fridge magnets or delicated small piece of lacquer, one has got small gifts for friends and family at home or something to remind him/her about the trip to Ho Chi Minh city.