Discovering second venue for street vendors in Sai Gon
Update: Oct 05, 2017
Bach Tung Diep Park in HCMC’s District 1 has officially been turned into the city’s second convergence point for low-income vendors just after a month since the first site on Nguyen Van Chiem Street, also in District 1, was put into service, paving the way for street food sellers to earn their daily bread and serving the huge demand for street food among city dwellers and international tourists.

The new site features several tables and benches, allowing guests to sit down and enjoy their meals

Some 30 households have been approved by local authorities to conduct business on a pilot basis from 6 am. to 9 am and from 11 am to 2 pm at the venue everyday in an effort to minimize encroachment on public pavements by street vendors as the municipal authorities have expressed strong determination to crack down on illegal sidewalk occupation.

The vendors at Bach Tung Diep Park do not have to pay rental for using sidewalk space but are required to ensure food safety and hygiene, classify waste and show professional sale skills.

Those embracing a passion to experience a cultural space of street food should head to the newly-established street food area where tourists can enjoy a variety of dishes such as banh canh cua (rice noodle soup served with crab meat), banh uot (steamed rice pancake), banh mi (Vietnamese- style sandwich) and com tam (broken rice with grilled pork) at an affordable price, ranging from VND15,000 (US$0.6) to VND30,000 each. 

While vendors at the first venue are encouraged to sell take-away food only, the second venue is arranged with some tables and benches, allowing guests to take a cup of coffee and enjoy their meals while chatting with friends. 

Truong Thi Thanh Hao, a 55-year-old woman vendor selling soft drinks at the site, told the Daily yesterday that no words could express her joyful feelings when having a stable place for business. She hoped that the new site would capture strong attention of local youths, students and especially white-collar workers at nearby buildings and companies.

Young students are seen buying crab soup at a food stall

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet, a 47-year-old woman vendor selling Vietnamese-style sandwiches at the food court, shared her hope that local authorities would create convenience for all vendors in the area so that their business can reap sweet fruits, adding that, more similar venues should be set up in other districts in the city to help street vendors like her to run business and lead a stable life.

“It would be perfect if more street food venues are opened to the public in the downtown area at night time to meet growing demands of local youths and foreign tourists for dining and entertainment services so as to strengthen the city’s tourism development,” said Tu Anh, a 22-year-old student from the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities in District 1.

Ho Minh Trung, a 28-year-old man who is working at Diamond Plaza, a complex building of apartments, offices, and a department store in city downtown, said he is pleased as the city government has paid much attention to poor vendors and created favorable conditions for them to secure a stable job.

Bordered by Ly Tu Trong, Pasteur and Nam Ky Khoi Nghia streets and in close proximity to famous tourist attractions and high-end shopping and entertainment venues such as the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral, the site is expected to lure a large number of guests, especially those from abroad, Trung noted.

According to some vendors at the first venue on Nguyen Van Chiem Street, the trading activity has been on the rise after nearly one month of operation, owing to the enthusiastic support from students and white-collar workers nearby.