In the early morning, when the sun does not shine yet, the whole city was covered with the dark, Ben Thanh Market was awaken by vibrant music from a crowd of local people doing aerobics in front of the market’s gate. Nearby, a small loudspeaker was playing songs about Ho Chi Minh City. I entered the market. A seller called loudly “bun bo gio heo, delicious bun bo gio heo”. It was a popular Vietnamese soup vermicelli dish with beef, pork and pig’s knuckles. In my opinion, it is truly worth-trying.
The sun was a little brighter. Ben Thanh Market became more bustling than ever with several groups of tourists coming here for breakfast. Food and beverage in the markets were of all kinds: shrimp skewers, boiled corn, and roasted beef, boiled eggs, Vietnamese noodles of all kinds, rice wine, juice, coffee, tea and so on.
As far as I know, Ben Thanh Market is the largest market for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. At the first time I entered the market, I felt overwhelmed with a large number of diverse goods sold here. My group came across many other tourists groups from Malaysia, China, America and even Brazil sharing the same feeling. In Ben Thanh market, there were several booths selling discount goods. Therefore, I bought many things including a nice shirt, some wooden souvenirs, potteries, and even photography equipments with an affordable price.
Goods were arranged in different areas for tourists to find easily such as areas for food, textile, cosmetic and so on. Except for food area, when purchasing items here, you are suggested to bargain.
Looking around while walking, I suddenly was grabbed by hands of a middle-aged woman pulling me into her shop. I declined the invitation by visiting a nearby shoe shop. At first glance, I thought that the owner was absent. But as soon as I left, he newsstand owner jumped out of the towering piles of shoes. This was the second time I was startled in just one day. It turned out that he was taking a nap. After bargaining for a long time, I came home with brand new shoes which possessed prices lower from 100.000 to 200.000 VND compared to the price the salesperson offered at first.
I took lunch with a number of Ho Chi Minh city specialties including banh khot, a savory coconut fritter topped with either ground pork or a prawn and a pile of fresh herbs ripped from the stalk, bun thit nuong, a freshly grilled pork, pork spring rolls and sausage served up with vermicelli noodles and peanuts with fish sauce and chili and enjoying a dessert named che bap, a warm sweet corn pudding topped with salted coconut milk. It was a wonderful lunch. After finishing my lunch, I walked across the street to take a taxi to return to my hotel. I looked back one more time before leaving the busiest area of Ho Chi Minh City.