For recognized street food, head for Nguyen Van Chiem in downtown

Food vendors will open their stands from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m everyday

Customers savor food on Nguyen Van Chiem Street in District 1, HCMC

A customer buys food at a stand on Nguyen Van Chiem Street

Nguyen Van Chiem on August 28 became HCMC’s first street officially dedicated to low-income vendors, paving the way for street food sellers to earn a living and meeting high demand for street food among city dwellers and foreign tourists.

Some 40 households have been approved by local authorities to do business on a pilot basis along a 40-meter-long sidewalk from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m everyday. This is a project aimed at coping with encroachment on sidewalks by street vendors as city authorities have shown a strong determination to crack down on illegal sidewalk occupation.  

The vendors on Nguyen Van Chiem Street do not have to pay a rental for using sidewalk space but are required to sell to-go food only, ensure food safety and hygiene, classify waste and have professional sale skills.

Nguyen Thi Lanh, a woman vendor of bun moc (vermicelli soup with meat balls) at the site, told the Daily on the opening day that she is pinning high hopes that the area would become popular among locals, students and especially white-collar workers at nearby buildings and companies.

Trinh Viet Liem, a 77-year-old resident in District 1, said he is pleased that the city government pays much attention to poor vendors and creates favorable conditions for them to earn their daily bread.

He expects the site would not only serve as a place for business but also contribute to introducing street food and tourism to international tourists, Liem added.

Duong Thi Viet Kieu, a 27-year-old office staff in District 1, said the site is expected to attract a lot of guests, especially those from abroad, as it is close to tourist attractions and high-end shopping and entertainment venues such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Diamond Plaza, Intercontinential Plaza.

“(I) just hope that the municipal government would arrange such space in other districts for street vendors to help them lead a stable life and boost the development of  the city,” Kieu said.

The second location at Bach Tung Diep Park, also in District 1, where some 30 households are allowed to conduct business from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., is scheduled to open late next month, according to local media reports.