Asian Food, Ho Chi Minh City
One of my best buys in HCMC was delicate rice paper sold in Ben Tanh Market. The ones that are sold in Singapore was hard and thick..
What to buy: The rice paper cost a fraction than what I would pay for at home and they can keep for up to 6 months if they're stored properly!
Almost every sundry store in Ben Tanh sells those things, so just point to one of your preferred circumference!
Just click here for the Spring Roll Recipe
What to pay: Pay less than $1 for a packet.
Not what I was looking for, and definetly not easy to transport, but U can find delicious vietnamese honey if you book one of those tours to the Mekong Delta.
In one of the farms they will offer you tea with honey (tasty) and the opportunity to buy some. They show U too the bees and you can touch the honey there... if U dare!
If you join any of the many Mekong Delta tours, you will surely stop at one of these coconut traditional factories.
They make many products out of the green coconuts: candies, oil, liquor... you can see how they ellaborate them and buy some souvenirs too.
Coconut candies were delicious and cheap, 1 USD the box, and no chemical stuf!!
Asia is a great place to get your fresh fruit and vegetable. I have a predilection for tropical fruit, bananas, rambutans, papayas, longans, yes even durians. They are dirt cheap, whereas apples and grapes are expensive by comparison. In some places, you can even buy them off the tree. We bought a kilo of longans for less than USD0.75!!! I know someone who once cleaned two kilos of rambutans in one sitting. Okay okay, I admit it, it was me.
This food chain serves all kinds of Vietnamese rolls. You can opt to have ready-rolled items or wrap them yourselves. Most use rice paper for the wrapping, with pork, beef or fish fillings, with lots of vegetables. However, there was a dish that featured beef wrapped in grape leaves! Dip them in the specially made sauces and enjoy!
What to pay: Each dish at Wrap and Roll is affordable, ranging from 25,000-65,000 dong.
Jac and I were walking along Cholon area when we chanced upon a whole line of shops that were selling coffee powder. There were really so many to choose from, and for once, we did not really bargained for the item.
What to buy: Various types of coffee powder that were all so fragrant
What to pay: Between 2,000VND to 12,000VND depending on the quality. We bought the most expensive quality coffee that they had to offer for 10,000VND for 100 grams.
Coop Mart is a well known supermarket chain in HCMC while Tax centre has a local supermarket on the top level. Both prices are more or less the same. There is one supermarket in Parkson shopping mall, but the price is a bit higher than those two.
What to buy: 1. Lotus Tea (any brand).
2. Dilmah Tea (Brandy Spice and Rum flavour).
3. Highlands Coffee.
4. Trung Nguyen Coffee.
5. Coffee container.
What to pay: Lotus tea is less than Dong 10,000. Dilmah tea around Dong 24,000 to 26,000. Coffee (small bag) around Dong 15,000. Coffee container around Dong 14,000.
Hawker Food Centers abound in asia and here in saigon, there is no exception, but prices here are the cheapest! (even cheaper than Bangkok, thailand! and Hongkong being the most expensive) off course the choices here are less than the other countries hawker centers but you could not beat the price here!
example is Goi Cun (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls) at 2,500 VND (for 6 pieces at $ 0.17!), Cha Goi Re (Fried Spring Rolls) at 15,000 VND ( $ 0.90) even cheaper than in Pho 24 wherein Fried spring rolls cost 25,000 VND!, my favorite Cua Lot (Deep Fried Soft Shelled Crab) for 6 pieces at 40,000 VND ( $ 2.40) while in vietnam house restaurant it costs 75,000 VND!, Tom' Hap Dua' (Steamed Tiger Prawns in Coconut Juice) at 30,000 VND ($ 1.85) for 9 pieces! while in Ngoc Suong Marina it costs 70,000 VND!. If you are a super el cheapo, I would suggest the Dui' Cha Gien' (Vietnamese Fried Chicken Leg) at only 14,000 VND ($ 0.81). A Bottle of the Famous Ba Ba Ba or Saigon Beer is 10,000 VND ( $ 0.62 ).
Opens 6:00 pm to 1:00 am everyday!
What to buy: Buy anything you fancy here and eat it, it is not bad to pig out once in a while since prices like these are unbeatable elsewhere! then go on a diet after you arrive back to your country!
What to pay: for a glutton like me, I've Spent 200,000 VND but if you are a light eater, then 20,000-50,000 VND will be suffice!
If you like coffee and have spend your time in cafes or restaurant you already have tasted VIetnamese coffee. Even better, from all markets you can purchase the coffee maker, quite simple filtering system but makes a perfect coffee and you can feel Vietnam loooong time when at home. I bought two and use that with Vietnamese coffee of some other ground dark coffee.
THE BEN THANH MARKET IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, BUT A GOOD LOOK SEE They have everything under a roof and their oringinal food court is not bad. Coffee shops, clothes, jewelery is sold to tourist and mass market, but there is one crazyer than this in Chinatown call the BINH TAY MARKET that sells wholesale to all the other tourist market. All my life I traveled, I never saw a busier place....everyone hustles, and they sell everything.....I mean everything.
What to buy: junk and souviners
What to pay: what ever your hagle price will get you