Chợ Lớn – the Big Market: Originally a town settled by the Chinese 11km away from Saigon. As they both expanded, the two finally merged in 1931. Today Chợ Lớn area encompasses most of district 5 and 6. At its center is Bình Tây wholesale market which has remained a major hub of commerce and trading through the ups and downs of our modern history. (In everyday conversation, Saigon is still used to refer to downtown, District 1, not to the whole city of Ho Chi Minh as erroneously claimed in so many guidebooks.)

In appearance, Chợ Lớn is not that different from other densely populated quarters of the city. There’s no strict demarcation, and you can easily miss it zipping by on your scooter or in your car. But only a short stroll in the steamy narrow alleys is enough to confirm that you’re indeed in Chinatown. Past noodle stalls, dimsum houses, small repair shops and other family businesses, you’ll hear orders placed and gossips exchanged in their native languages, Cantonese for the most part. You’ll also walk past big hometown association hội quán. Inside big blocks of spiral incense are burned day and night; all the newspapers and TV channels in the common area are in Chinese.

Chợ Lớn, Cholon, Chinatown, Vietnam, Sai Gon, Ho Chi Minh city

Chợ Lớn, Cholon, Chinatown, Vietnam, Sai Gon, Ho Chi Minh city, chùa bà, temple

Chợ Lớn, Cholon, Chinatown, Vietnam, Sai Gon, Ho Chi Minh city, chùa bà, temple

Chợ Lớn, Cholon, Chinatown, Vietnam, Sai Gon, Ho Chi Minh city, temple

Chợ Lớn, Cholon, Chinatown, Vietnam, Sai Gon, Ho Chi Minh city, temple

Chợ Lớn, Cholon, Chinatown, Vietnam, Sai Gon, Ho Chi Minh city, food store
Advertisements