A Chinatown Saigon tour? Why not?
Ho Chi Minh City is an “immigrant” city. You can meet people from all over the country living and working here. In addition to that, this place also experienced emigration and sheltering from the foreign community. Among them, the community considered the most crowded and the oldest is the Chinese one. They concentrated mainly in District 5, called Chinatown Saigon.
Chinatown Saigon – The little HongKong in Vietnam
At first Cho Lon (Big Market – trans) was the place where the immigrant Chinese live and work. Later, the surrounding area is filled with ancient HongKong styled houses. Gradually, it formed an area that locals call “HongKong beside Cho Lon”. Up to now, the Chinese people have been maintaining their culture values really well. Walking around Chinatown Saigon, you can’t help but admire the classic beauty of the architecture of previous centuries, or be fascinated by the uniqueness of the cuisine here.
In addition to that, you will see a miniature HongKong residential area built up in the late 19th century. Once entering, you will see a significant part of this neighborhood is covered by red-tiled houses decorated with red lanterns and red wallpapers. Especially, all of the signboards here are written bilingually in Vietnamese and Chinese. Plus, there are temples and pagodas built in Chinese style by the ancient Chinese but influenced bu the beliefs and religions of the Vietnamese and Khmer. Here are some destinations you should pay a visit to learn more about this unique culture.
Tam Son Assembly Hall
Tam Son Assembly Hall is on Trieu Quang Phuc Street. It’s built by the Fujian Chinese under the Minh Mang dynasty. This pagoda stands out with the vibrant red as opposed to the formal and pure atmosphere insides. Moreover, for many years, Tam Son Assembly Hall has been a religious place for childless couples.
Ha Chuong Assembly Hall
Ha Chuong Assembly Hall, also known as Chuong Chau Assembly Hall, or Ong Huoc, or Ba Ha Chuong Pagoda is on Nguyen Trai Street. This architecture is famous for its wood, stone, marble, and brick sculpture. Furthermore, ancient Chinese has designed this religious place following the style of pagodas and temples in their motherland during that period. Hence, you can see many similarities in architecture here with the Buddhist buildings in China.
Lantern Street located on Luong Nhu Hoc Street. In special festivals such as the Mid-Autumn Festival or Tet Festival, this is one of the best places to enjoy the old customs that you can’t find anywhere else in bustling Chinatown Sai Gon. People come here to buy lanterns, drums, as well as other decorating stuff. Moreover, they also stop by this street to take photoshoots or simply immerse themselves in the bustling atmosphere.
Cho Lon – the main feature of Chinatown Saigon
The market is a signature culture in Vietnam. Hence, when you are in this S-shaped country, you can find in these markets almost everything you need from grocery stuff to fashion items or souvenirs. Hence, Cho Lon is one of the popular destinations you should not miss out when wandering around Chinatown Saigon. Cho Lon, also known as Binh Tay Market, was built in the 18th century. Compared to other Vietnamese markets at that time, this one is the biggest so they called it Cho Lon (Big market – trans).
Especially, the food court in Cho Lon is always at the top of the must-go places when coming to Chinatown Saigon. You can find here almost all of the Chinese traditional food and some Vietnamese dishes in Vietnam fusion. The signature dish here is Roasted duck. Different from its sibling Bejing roasted duck, the chef in Vietnam adjusted some spices to make it more friendly to the locals. Besides, Handmade fresh noodles or Dumplings are what you should try once.
If you want to experience a new lifestyle in this city, Chinatown Saigon is where you should not miss out. Come here with a camera on your hand and you will return with the joy on your face!