Saigonese usually say “Ăn cơm Tàu ..” which means “having Chinese meals …”
If you’ve come to Saigon, it’s a pity that you aren’t going to visit Chợ Lớn.
If you’ve come to Chợ Lớn, it’s a pity that you aren’t going to “ăn cơm Tàu”.
A typical Chinese pagoda in Chợ Lớn
Ok, talking about Chợ Lớn first. This part is going to be an overview of the Saigon Chinese town – Chợ Lớn.
Chợ Lớn is a area of district 5,10,11,6; which are residence of Vietnamese-Chinese in Saigon. Most of them gathered in district 5. At the first time, Chợ Lớn was a different town to Saigon, built by Chinese refugees in 18th century. Most of them are from Guang Dong, Chao Zhou; some other are Fu Chien, Guang Xi, … In 1930, the two town, Saigon and Chợ Lớn had met each other at the area now is Nguyễn Văn Cừ street. They were called Sài Gòn – Chợ Lớn as the whole big city, until 1956 – The first Republic of South Vietnam – “Chợ Lớn” was dropped from the name, and the city become known as Sài Gòn.
From that time, and till now, Chợ Lớn has been a lively and bustling area by Chinese do what they can do best – trading. It’s the biggest market area of Saigon, and most likely because of that, it’s named Chợ Lớn – The big market. But anyway, The big market isn’t a market which is big, it’s a area with plenty of malls and markets in. Those most popular are An Đông mall, Bình Tây market, Kim Biên market, …
Bình Tây market, the used to so called Chợ Lớn mới – The new big market.
There was another big market in Chợ Lớn area, the old big market, in the area of Chợ Lớn post-office. But it was burned and authorities couldn’t know how, so merchants move to this market and because it was really big, they named it Chợ Lớn mới – The new big market.
Put aside Chinese trading gift, they have other gift, as cooking. The area is full of restaurants, run by Chinese, who carry the restaurant from their fathers, who carry those restaurant from their grandfathers, who carry restaurants from their grand-grandfathers, and so on, so forth.
And that’s for Chợ Lớn and today, so next post is coming up for the “cơm Tàu” – Chinese meals.
SaigonStay – All the best a local friend can give you!