China Town is a very large area. Back in the old days, the place where China Town now located was regarded as the city’s center of commerce, in comparison with Dist. 1 – the center of administration. It includes Dist. 5, Dist. 10, a part of Dist. 11 and Dist. 6 of Saigon city. It is a famous indispensable destination of any tour program in Saigon.
Built in 1928, China Town is the largest Trading Center of the Chinese people in Saigon. China Town reminds everyone to the scenes of vibrant handicraft workshops, dense restaurants and small outlets with Chinese flavors, etc. Most of Chinese people live in District 5 – where all culture values, architectures and religions since hundred years ago are still preserved. The tube-tiled roofs with specific design has made Chinese town a classical beauty, let you feel like you are strayed into an ancient China town since previous centuries.
Trần Hưng Đạo Boulevard is supposed to be the key road, the spine of China Town. It is really a hustle and bustle town with many people gets in and out, with chains of Hong Kong–like luxurious stores. Especially, there are up to more than 30 shops selling multi-typed glasses along House of Culture in Dist. 5 toward Châu Văn Liêm intersections. The interest thing is that most of these shop have the same final name on their signboard such as: Đại Quang, Tân Quang, Nghệ Quang, Sanh Quang, Ái Quang, etc.).
Especially in oriental medicine, nowhere is better than in Dist. 5 for tourists. Throughout the routes of Hải Thượng Lãn Ông, Lương Như Học, Triệu Quang Phục, etc, hundreds of antique shops with innumerable herbal remedies spreading their fragrant flavors, you can easily find and buy the most valuable and rare oriental medicine. On big occasions, especially on the Lunar New Year, the First Luna Month of New Year, red lanterns are hang up thoroughly on both sides of the road, create a jubilant and fanciful space.
Moreover, on other roads like Trần Hưng Đạo, Triệu Quang Phục, Châu Văn Liêm, Lương Như Học, etc, you will also have opportunities to contemplate chains of Chinese houses built from hundred years ago whose styles are mixed of French and Russian architectures. Besides, every temple, shrine, club-house there is also useful for you to discover characters and culture of Chinese people in Saigon. Actually, the Chinese pagoda – China Town looks very ancient and attractive to many tourist generations, in which, Bà Thiên Hậu pagoda is most famous and common.
Every time mention to China Town, tourists would eager to try food in any restaurant here. All restaurants have signboard in two languages of Chinese and Vietnamese and especially, the shop owners can speak both Chinese and Vietnamese definitely. You will surprise to see an icon of a Chinese shop owner everywhere: a fat man with big belly, cheerful face and a white cloth on his shoulder. The best luxurious dishes with best flavors are served in famous restaurants or hotels like: Á Đông, Thiên Hồng, Ái Huê, Bát Đạt, Đồng Khánh, etc.
The area, that selling Sủi Cảo (ravioli soup) on Hà Tôn Quyền road, Dist. 5 (near the intersection of Trần Quý road), is also a famous place for tourists who like eating at night. Besides, you can try the following restaurants which are always jam-packed by guests: Dân Ích (serve Fish Hot Pot), Đông Nguyên (serve chicken rice) on Châu Văn Liêm road, or Đại Gia Lạc (serve rice) in No. 1, An Dương Vương street, Dist. 5 near An Đông market). For more lower price, with more than 40-50 year of experience in serving stew dishes like: bao tử (stomach), ruột heo (black pudding), lưỡi heo (pork tongue), tàu hũ (soya cheese), dưa cải (salted vegetables), etc, is Hạnh Nguyên restaurant (serve Teochew rice) (open from 15pm till approximately 10 pm). Although not located in Dist. 5, but the store selling hủ tiếu (rice noodle), hoành thánh (wontou) in front of lane 66 of Lê Đại Hành street is the place where many guest know and visit (still be dense at midnight). Especially, if you have time to visit the Đại Thế Giới water park, and ask the guide for No. 418/4D Trần Phú street. This shop sell bún cà ri vịt (duck curry noodle) specialize for Chinese people from noon till about 9pm.
For those who like sweeten things, Hà Ký shop with chè (sweeten porridge) is worth for your reference. It opens from 2mp till about 11pm, with various type of sweeten porridges from normal types to rare types like: chè hột sen nhãn nhục (sweet lotus bean and longan), chè hạnh nhân (sweet almond), hột gà trà (sweeten egg tea), táo đỏ đường phèn (sweeten red apple candy), đu đủ tiềm (sweeten soya cake), etc.