At the end of August 2017, Ho Chi Minh City opened the country’s first legal street food area on Nguyen Van Chiem Street in District 1. Since its opening, this street has quickly become a popular culinary destination for city residents and tourists.
Sticky rice, fried noodles, dumplings, milk tea, and various other main dishes and snacks are sold at lower prices compared to restaurants. Saigonese people often add lots of vegetables and herbs, especially when eating watery dishes like noodles or Pho. Many street food dishes also include protein to balance the meal.
The pilot implementation of this business model on Nguyen Van Chiem Street has provided stability for households, eliminating the need for roadside selling. This model not only ensures security and order but also enhances the urban beauty.
Nguyen Van Chiem Street and Bach Tung Diep Park are part of the “Pilot Food Area for Temporary Business” project proposed by District 1 to the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City. The District 1 People’s Committee does not charge fees for households assigned as street vendors. These vendors receive training in food hygiene, safety, and business skills from the authorities.
With over 20 stalls on Nguyen Van Chiem Street, visitors can easily find a variety of dishes such as Com Tam (broken rice with grilled pork chops), Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), Hu Tieu (pork noodle soup), crab soup, soy milk, iced milk coffee, fruit juices, etc.
Since all the vendors on Nguyen Van Chiem Street only offer takeaway options, customers can enjoy their food in the nearby Han Thuyen Park without any service charge.
Recently, there have been proposals to expand street vendors throughout Ho Chi Minh City. Dr. Du Phuoc Tan from the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Research suggested expanding the model used in District 1’s Nguyen Van Chiem Street and Bach Tung Diep Park.
According to Dr. Du Phuoc Tan, the experience from Nguyen Van Chiem Street and Bach Tung Diep Park demonstrates the positive effects of arranging street vendors. It not only creates job opportunities but also improves urban order, beauty, and ensures food safety and hygiene.
Concerns about street food hygiene are addressed on Nguyen Van Chiem Street. All stalls have glass covers to protect the ingredients, and vendors must be certified for hygiene to operate in the area.
Nguyen Van Chiem Food Street features 20 stalls along a 40m-long street. It is open every day from 6 am to 9 am and 11 am to 2 pm, offering breakfast and lunch options perfect for takeaway. Since its opening, Nguyen Van Chiem Food Street has been highly supported by locals due to its convenience, transparent pricing, and positive social impact.