Vietnamese Cuisine : more than food!

Vietnamese cuisine, a delectable tapestry woven from centuries of history, stands as a testament to the cultural richness and gastronomic prowess of this Southeast Asian nation. In Vietnam, food is more than sustenance; it’s a way of life, a language of love, and a bridge connecting generations. The intricate flavors, vibrant colors, and diverse ingredients that characterize Vietnamese dishes tell a tale of resilience, fusion, and evolution.

Flavors that Echo through Time

From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil villages along the Mekong Delta, Vietnamese cuisine is a vivid expression of the country’s identity. As a nation that has weathered a turbulent history, Vietnam’s culinary tradition reflects its adaptability and the influence of various cultures that have left their mark. A mosaic of flavors melds seamlessly into a symphony of taste, paying homage to the past while embracing the present.

Historical Threads and Culinary Roots

Vietnam’s culinary journey begins in the mists of time, where indigenous ingredients and cooking techniques formed the foundation of its cuisine. The abundance of rice paddies and water bodies played a pivotal role in shaping the cuisine, with rice becoming a staple that sustains both body and spirit. Amidst lush landscapes, an intricate web of herbs, fish, and vegetables emerged, creating a distinctive flavor profile that endures to this day.

Influence of Ancient Civilizations

As trade routes opened, the tide of history brought Chinese influences to Vietnam’s shores. The Chinese occupation of Vietnam introduced not only political shifts but also culinary transformations. Rice cultivation techniques and stir-fry methods made their way into the country, shaping the way meals were prepared. But the Vietnamese adapted these influences, weaving them into their culinary fabric and adding their own unique twists.

Colonial Imprints and Culinary Fusion

In the 19th century, the arrival of French colonists ushered in an era of fusion that would further enrich Vietnamese cuisine. Baguettes became “banh mi,” a symbol of East-meets-West collaboration, and the streets of Hanoi filled with cafes serving “ca phe sua da” – Vietnamese iced coffee with a French flair. This culinary marriage showcased Vietnam’s knack for transforming foreign elements into creations that resonated with their own palate.

Unity in Diversity

One of the most captivating aspects of Vietnamese cuisine is its regional diversity. The North boasts hearty and flavorful dishes that embrace the cold climate, while the Central region celebrates elegant and elaborate dishes influenced by its imperial history. The Southern cuisine, influenced by tropical fruits and seafood, is a fusion of bold flavors and international touches. This regional diversity is a testament to the country’s diverse landscapes and cultural tapestry.

As we delve deeper into the annals of Vietnamese cuisine history, we’ll explore the intersections with neighboring countries, the key ingredients that lend their magic to iconic dishes, and the evolution of street food culture. This journey through time and taste promises to unravel the layers of flavors that have made Vietnamese cuisine a global sensation.

5 things about Ho Thi Ky Flower Market

Ho Thi Ky Flower Market is the largest flower market in Ho Chi Minh City and one of the most popular. It supplies flowers to the whole city and some provinces in the South of Vietnam.


This market is an amazing place to visit to be totally immersed and swept up into a whirlwind of colors and smells! It is a never-ending maze of flower stalls, private houses, hidden and quiet “hems” (alleys), typical street food stalls… A real treat for the eyes!

Here are few facts you should know before going to Ho Thi Ky market.

1. Where is it located?

Around 5km from the heart of the city, the market is located on the street of the same name: Hẻm 52 Hồ Thị Kỷ, Phường 1, Quận 10, Hồ Chí Minh City. To get there, it should cost you approximately 125,000 VND by Grabcar.

2. What time should you go there?

Well it’s open 24 hours so it’s up to you! It depends what kind of experience you are looking for.  

It could be a a very unusual experience to go there in the middle of the night! From midnight to early morning, flowers from everywhere arrive by truck and shoppers cut, trim, prepare and package them so they can be put on the shelves for sale. From 2AM to 7AM, it is the busiest time, atmosphere being quite hectic and chaotic! 

In the morning, traders come here to buy flowers in big quantities for the shops and for smaller markets.

As it is getting hot quite quickly we recommend you to go there before 9AM or after 7PM

3. How old is this market?

It was founded in the 1980’s and it is the largest flower market in Ho Chi Minh City. 

4. Where do the flowers come from?

Most of the flowers come from Dalat and Mekong Delta region but others come from the Netherlands or Hungary. You can find all kind of flowers, roses, lilies, tulips, hydrangeas, sunflowers, orchids and many more.

5. What you should not forget to bring when you go there

Confortable shoes, light clothes and of course your camera or your smartphone to take plenty of pictures! And you can return home with a nice fresh bunch of your favorite flowers!

The pictures below were taken in Ho Thi Ky Market just before TET, at this crazy time of the year when all locals buy flowers to decorate their homes and shops. It was a really unforgettable experience to wander around those beautiful and flamboyant flower stalls!

If you are interested in getting an overview of Saigon’s essentials in an original way, come and join our city tours in vintage cars.

Saigon Central Post Office


Saigon Central Post Office is one of the most impressive colonial buildings of Ho Chi Minh City.

It counts with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. It was designed and constructed by the French between 1886 and 1891. It is a beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia. Inside at the far end of the building, don’t miss inside the large portrait of Ho Chi Minh hanging high above everyone. Painted onto walls overhead are two maps of the region, one of them showing the telegraph lines that crisscross Vietnam and Cambodia and the other displaying a map of the Saigon region in 1892. It’s open every day from 7am to 7pm.

Often erroneously attributed to Gustave Eiffel, the Post office has been built between 1886 and 1891 by architect Marie-Alfred Foulhoux on the site of the former headquarters of the Commandant des troupes.

On its outside plaques, you can see the names of famous people including Samuel Morse, Benjamin Franklin and Michael Faraday. The reason is that Foulhoux intented to illustrate Human advancement. 

Behind the large portrait of Ho Chi Minh on the rear wall, is the city’s coat of arms, inscribed with Paulatim crescam, “Developing little by little”. But it was covered over in 1975 so it is not possible to see it anymore now.

If you want to explore Saigon in an original way and get an overview of the city’s essentials in a short time, don’t miss our morning drive.



The flag of Vietnam

The Vietnamese flag was designed in 1940 and was used in the uprise against the French rule in Southern Vietnam.

The red color was the symbol of the social revolution. It represents as well the blood shed by the Vietnamese during the struggle for independence and fredoom of Vietnam.

The 5-pointed yellow star in the middle symbolizes the five main classes of the society: intellectuals, farmers, workers, military men and youth working together in the construction of socialism.

This flag was first used in the North Vietnam and was later adopted as the flag of the reunified Vietnam after 1975.

For every important national days, you can see flags every where in front of the shops, the houses, on the taxis.

If you are interested in getting an overview of Saigon’s essentials in an original way, come and join our city tours in vintage cars.

flag Vietnam

Saigon Opera House

Built by the French next to historic rue Catinat in 1872, Saigon Municipal Theatre is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.


Its history is quite eventful and turbulent and here’ s a summary.

Did you know that the first purpose-built city theatre was constructed in 1872 on the site of today’s Caravelle Hotel?

It was originally built to entertain Saigon’s developing middle class in French colonial times. At the time it specialized in comic operas.
Made of wood, it burned in 1881 and was reconstructed in stone the following year.

Later it was decided that Saigon needed a much larger and more elegant theatre building to reflect the power of the French empire.
A number of French Architects were involved with the creation of this third building and it was completed in 1898. The current theater was inspired by «The Petit Palais» in Paris built the same year. The ornaments, balustrades and roof of the theatre building were originally imported from France.

Fun fact: at the time the theater could only function 4 months a year (from October to January) because of the heat!

Later, the façade got remodeled during the Japanese occupation of Indochina in the beginning of 1940’s. Then it finally got severely damaged by Allied bombing in 1944. Closed during World War II, it reopened in 1955 after the Geneva Convention and became the Southern Vietnam’s Assembly House.

In May 1975, it was officially named Saigon opera house.

It finally reopened as a theatre in 1982 and was completely refurbished and modernized at the end of the 1990’s with French support to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Saigon.

Saigon Opera House was certified as a national relic in 2012. Nowadays, with its 468 seats, it still daily provides high-quality performances.

You can look at its programme right here.

If you are interested in getting an overview of Saigon’s essentials in a short time and in an original way, join our vintage car tour.