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Best Food Markets in Ho Chi Minh

best food market ho chi minh

When I first came to Ho Chi Minh City in 2012, the current-day food markets didn’t exist. If you asked, “What are the best food markets in Ho Chi Minh?” you would be referred to local markets that sell a bit of everything, like the Famous Ben Thanh Market or Tan Dinh Market, which are where locals go to buy their groceries and household items.

Today, things are a little different, and there are a couple of markets specifically for food, but I want to caution you before you run out your hotel door to eat at these markets. So, let’s get into it!

The best food markets in Ho Chi Minh City focused on food are Ben Thanh Street Food Market and Ho Thi Ky Food Market. Both markets are designed for purchasing ready-to-eat food, with the Ben Thanh Street Food Market being aimed at Tourists and the Ho Thi Ky Food Market being aimed at local Vietnamese. The Ben Thanh Street Food Market is in downtown Ho Chi Minh City District 1. The Ho Thi Ky Food Market is in a small alley hidden in D10.

Before You Eat at A Food Market in Ho Chi Minh

Here is a word of caution from my over a decade of experience as a food tour guide. Be cautious of street food or restaurant food that is popular because of location rather than quality. If a small vendor has low-quality or unsafe food at a famous location that services both local and international tourists, they will have more customers tomorrow, whether or not their food is good or safe. So, be cautious about what you are eating. Even though it’s a famous location with many customers, this is the one time that a high amount of customers doesn’t necessarily reflect a quality establishment. It’s just a reflection of the popularity and trend of a location.

Ben Nghe Street Food Market

Ben Thanh Street Food Market – Ben Nghe Food Market

This market is directly behind the Ben Thanh Market in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. It’s super easy to access and enjoy some food. In my opinion, this isn’t a spot where you will get proper local food like you would at a Hawker Center in Singapore. This market was explicitly created for tourism, and I have never heard of a local coming here to eat. I’m sure some have just to check the market out but it’s not somewhere they frequent.

For me, I ate here once a few years ago and that was enough for me. I paid quite a high price for a BBQ pork rib that was just average. That said, I don’t think it’s a terrible spot to have a beer and a bit of food in downtown District 1. But, It won’t be an authentic Vietnamese food experience.

best food markets in ho chi minh
Visiting a local food market in Saigon at the Ho Thi Ky Market

Ho Thi Ky Food Market

The flower market has been a great spot to check out for many years; it truly reflects the hustle and bustle of much of Saigon. There are over 90 small houses/shops selling flowers all day and night for quite an eye-opening experience. A few years ago, the alley right next to this famous market became a popular and trendy destination to check out, with over 100 vendors selling Vietnamese food from small mobile carts and outside of small houses.

This isn’t a market developed for tourism, but it is extremely popular with young local Vietnamese, with some tourism from more adventurous tourists making their way out of the city center. The atmosphere is exciting and busy, with many different food options to choose from, and patrons all smashed in on tiny stools enjoying the local fare.

My opinion, though, is that most of the food here doesn’t stand out as outstanding but rather just average. It’s more about the location and hotspot for young locals to hang out with friends. The vendors don’t have to be great; they must be in the correct location. This is destination food that I am always weary of from my own experience of trial and error when it comes to eating abroad.

Should you check out this market? If you have some time in Ho Chi Minh City and are looking for something unique to do at night time, then I think it’s worth the trip. I would again just caution as much as possible on the food you are eating and I would recommend that your stomach be acclimated to eating abroad already.

Best Food Markets in Ho Chi Minh Conclusion

If you are going to choose one market to check out during your time in Ho Chi Minh City then it should be the Ho Thi Ky Food Market over the Ben Thanh Food Market. If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid both of these locations is my personal opinion. You can find some other food options in the city using my food guide.

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