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You are here:      Home News Sài Gòn’s Historic China town
Sài Gòn’s Historic China town

As development transforms the surrounding cityscape, one market on downtown Saigon is like a picture of history to life.

HCM City’s China town, Cho Lon, is now hemmed in vast arena of residential quarters in Districts 5 and 10 to the precincts of Districts 6 and 11. “Cho” literally means Market and “Lon” means Big. It is the façade of the Chinese district in the metropolis and the largest districts of its kind of Vietnam. It sprawls out from the West bank of Saigon River, Tran Hung Dao Boulevard, and is made up of several bazaars, in which Binh Tay Market is the largest.

If you love shopping, Cho Lon is the place to go. Services may be aggressive, but the array of goods on offer – high quality silks, dry beef, Clothes, jeweler - is enough to excuse even the roughest manner. Don’t worry if you ear afraid that you can’t speak Vietnamese, stall owners and Xich Lo motorbike drivers can speak enough English to make you feel right at home.

Cho Lon distributes products to other markets at a low price; it means activity never ends from 5am to 2am.

“People mostly sleep for 3-4huors day just because they want to keep Cho Lon alive 356 days of the years. If we stooped, Cho Lon could lose its historical value. No one here wants to do that and this is why Cho Lon accesses many diverse products from apples to antiques,” says Ms Bay, 60, who has sold mandarins here for 15 years.

Night time at the right time to buy food at the market. The quality is much better, but the wary of trying too many new things if you have a sensitive digestive system. There are Vietnamese and Chinese delights at every stall.

Many shops Close at 6pm to make for Chinese Cruise such as Dumplings, YangZhou Fried Rice, Tu Xuyen Tofu, Almond Sweet Soup, Wonton and Chinese Pancake. The serving Styles of this cuisine is very informal and free. Most of the snack shops are opened right on the pavement of the streets without any registration or licenses, but are very delicious. The market is really lively in the dark hours.

Unlike other markets, Cho Lon hasn’t changed much since the American War. Here you are definitely will find derelict shells of old French style house that still surround the market building. It is an area of the town many Saigonese are proud of. There is something about the narrow aisles, the noise, the smells and the hive of activity. People scurry around, or the narrow passages, talking and eating. It is the perfect place to come to satiate an appetite for food and culture.

Saigon wouldn’t be the same without Cho Lon.


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