Eating is definitely at the top of everybody’s list when in Vietnam. Whether you’re just here for the weekend, a long-term vacation, for work, or for good, food trips are always part of the itinerary. It is a given that there is no shortage of restaurants and cafes here. However, due to the myriad of restaurants opening in almost every alley and corner, it has also become difficult to choose only one place to eat at. Good thing there are now food courts or parks to solve this dilemma. Food courts are usually just a floor or a small area in a mall, but here they’re now found in stand-alone buildings, parks, or open spaces. Choices are narrowed down, and would actually give you a chance to try almost everything at once.
Here are 5 food courts/parks to go to and end whatever food cravings you have:
Ben Thanh Street Food Market
This market lives up to its name as most stalls offer Vietnamese street food, but not limited to it. It caters to everyone’s craving as there are over 20 food stalls serving a variety of food – from noodle dishes, fried finger food, buns, banh mis, sandwiches, and a whole lot of grilled seafood and meat. The location is perfect as well for it is just a few steps away from Ben Thanh Market. It is not difficult to find because the place is quite big and has a sign outside that lights up at night.
Seats won’t be a problem as well. The tables and seats were designed like that of benches at parks so you get to have like a picnic vibe while eating and perhaps gain a friend or two, especially at night when the place gets easily packed. And to complete the whole street food experience, some seats are situated at the front of the whole market so patrons are able to see motorcycles, bicycles, cyclos, and people passing by. If you’re not into that view, you can go further inside the market and be surrounded by the colorful graffiti walls.
The Ben Thanh Street Food Market is at 26,28,30 Thu Khoa Huan, Quan 1. It is open daily from 9 am to 12mn. They also have live performances every Tuesday and Saturday night.
Located right beside the loftiest building in Saigon, Food Central VN is a home for 15 food and beverage stalls. The place caters to everyone, but it is most famous to people working around Ngo Duc Ke. Restaurants around the area can be quite expensive, so this place fits right in as it gives customers more affordable yet still satisfying options. Most stalls offer set meals perfect for lunch or dinner. Stalls here offer local and international cuisines. They have rice meals, finger food, sandwiches, noodle dishes, and a variety of drinks. Group of coworkers, friends, and families also frequent the place as it is quite spacious.
Aside from the food and drinks choices here, the design of the place is also eye-catching and picture-ready. Food Central VN has two floors to cater to more hungry customers. The ground floor is where almost all of the old shipping containers turned into food stalls are. The first floor is more spacious, has more seats, and is French inspired. The place is also air-conditioned so eating here at lunch or any other time of the day won’t be a problem.
Food Central Saigon is at 66 – 68 Ngô Đức Kế, phường Bến Nghé, Quận 1. It is open everyday from 7 am to 10 pm.
For the expats and travelers who miss their food from their home country and for the locals who would like to try different flavors, this pop-up food park at Square Garden is the perfect place to be in. Not only do they serve good food and drinks, but their goal is to build a community between restaurant owners and foodie customers to share the love of good food and drinks. This food court is occupying a space in Rubik Zoo along Nguyen Thi Minh Kai. Having only been up for only a few months, the park has pop-up events every weekend and features starting as well as big names in the food and beverage business.
Here you can enjoy hotdogs, chicken wings, tacos, crepes, fish and chips, and draft beers from the regular tenants and other flavors for those who would join their weekend pop-up event. Not only do they serve scrumptious meals, but they also cater events like Bike Night on Wednesdays wherein bike owners and enthusiasts get to enjoy their grub and network. The set-up of the place is very relaxed. They want people to have a place to chill at after work and what-not and enjoy delicious food. At times they also have DJs spinning to complete the chill environment.
Square Garden is at 1Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai. As of late, it is open from 5-10pm, but plans on extending their business hours from 10 am to 10 pm are already in the works.
As the name suggests, this food court caters to all your Asian food cravings. They have heavy and light meals perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or the snacks in between. They have a great number of food stalls offering traditional Asian foods from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, Singapore, Japan, and Korea; they serve appetizers to desserts. This food town is located in the newly built underground mall along Pham Ngu Lao. It’s a one-stop shop for all your shopping needs as it has some souvenir and retail stores. The food court is situated in the middle, perfect for when you’re already tired and hungry from all the shopping.
The whole market is also air-conditioned so roaming around the numerous stalls in the middle of the day won’t be a problem. Seats won’t be a problem because they cater to all groups. There are long tables for big groups, booths for more comfort, and smaller tables for more privacy.
Asiana Food Town is at 4 Phạm Ngũ Lão ( tầng hầm công viên 23/9). It is open from 8:30 am to 10 pm.
From the outside, it looks really interesting yet a bit intimidating, but don’t be. This food court along Nguyen Hue boasts cuisines coming from all parts of Vietnam, North, Central, and South. They also have some cuisines from Japan and Thailand. The overall design of the place somehow makes you feel like you’ve traveled across Vietnam as well. They have wooden chairs and tables, hanging lanterns, old sewing machines turned into wall art, well-decorated tiles and walls, which are all reminiscent of the old Vietnam. Cocochin has two floors. The food stalls and some seats are on the ground floor. More seats are on the first floor and you also get to have a view of Saigon’s walking street, Nguyen Hue and the many activities happening there. The whole place is air-conditioned as well, so it’s the perfect rest-stop after a day of walking around Nguyen Hue, or before and after a day of work as they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Cocochin Food Court is at 77 Nguyen Hue Blvd., District 1. It is open daily from 10 am to 10:30 pm.