Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vietnam, Saigon - Ben Thanh Market (Part 8)

Ben Thanh Market in Saigon is world famous. To the locals and foreigners. Locals come to shop at the dry and wet market as well as to have the meals before heading home. Foreigners will head for knock-offs sections where branded watches and garments are sold at a fraction of their real price.

Here girls will tug at your sleeves (sometimes your upper arms are fair game too) to 'arrest' you so that you may take a look at their wares. Souvenirs are aplenty esp. the woodcraft, stone crafts and lacquerwares. It is cheap. One of thing Vietnam differs from many SEA nations' market scene is that the prices here are generally rigid and the leeway for discount is in the likelihood of 10%. Of course there are some black sheep that pitch their prices high. Beware! But you can be pretty confident that your price will not vary too much one place to another.

Another great buys will be the dry food section. Coffees, teas, sweets, nuts (cashew at half the price back home and much better quality), cakes etc filled the display racks and cabinets. The South has never really faced a natural food famine before except for man-made ones like the war and reconstruction period.
Wide array of coffee and tea
Then there is the dry seafood products. All kinds of dried shrimps, squids, shark fins, fish maws etc etc. I once bought a few big pieces of shark fins for about RM200. I thought I got a good deal until I got home where I found the fins were hollowed out with most of the valuable fins gone. However, what's left is still worth more than RN200 in Malaysia. Then there is the popular fins' cake. Fins are pile up like an overturn cupcake. The fins are peroxided and process. It looks alot but it is mixed with lots of pieces of fish lips within.

I go Ben Thanh mainly for the food and their desserts. Great food.

Some orientation here for newbies. Right at the centre of the sprawling market is a 'cross junction'. Meet your friends here just in case you are lost.
Grilling Pork Chops
Shells, clams, snails and cocklesTypical Vietnamese Lunch - To GoBest Desserts - Lot 1130 Be CheIce, ice, ice - indicates I am at the wet market. Manual ice crusher.SeafoodMud Crabs from the DeltaThis lady is sporting. She paused to allow me to take her photo. Eels being processed. Eels and FrogsProcessed crab claws and crab meat - For the noodles and soup dishes.Veges and herbsAll kinds of pigs spare parts Outside the market there are many hawkers selling fruits. Buy those in season otherwise it may expensive.

1 comment:

cocoadeluxe said...

What a beautiful sights !! Seeing those crabs (lots of)...makes me excited... I love eating crabs!