​Ho Chi Minh City plans on special zones for street food vendors

This follows the success of ‘food streets’ in District 1

The food corner on Nguyen Van Chiem Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City authorities are planning to establish separate areas for street food vendors along some 159 routes following the successful operation of its ‘food streets’ in the past months.

Leaders of district-level administrations across the southern hub have proposed reserving specific zones for local street food sellers.

Surveys are being carried out on 159 streets in the city to prepare for the potential establishment of such food hubs. 

The proposal is aimed at providing a legitimate place for vendors and ensuring order along city sidewalks.

It follows the opening of the first ‘food streets’ on Nguyen Van Chiem Street and at Bach Tung Diep Park in District 1.

The Nguyen Van Chiem ‘food street’ was opened on August 28. A total of 40 businesses take turns to operate on two shifts: between 6:00 am and 9:00 am in the morning, and 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in the afternoon.

The second food hub was introduced at Bach Tung Diep Park in early October. It is home to up to 30 catering businesses run by former street vendors, who also take turns to occupy the stalls on two shifts: from 6:00 am and 9:00 am, and from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  

L., a vendor on Nguyen Van Chiem Street, said the new venue has helped her sell more food compared to when she was operating along local sidewalks.

The food hub in Bach Tung Diep Park. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The food hub at Bach Tung Diep Park in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Officials at seven out of 10 wards in District 1 have already submitted their proposals on similar models.

In Binh Thanh District, an examination is being carried out to prepare for the trial of a food hub on the promenade of Dien Bien Phu Street, in front of HUTECH University.

About 20 stalls will be established for local residents to sell their dishes, said Duong Hong Thang, vice-chairman of the Binh Thanh People’s Committee.

More ‘food streets’ will be opened in the neighborhood following the test run, Thang added.

According to Tran Thanh Binh, vice-chairman of the People’s Committee in District 3, the administration is mulling over several food corners at the Turtle Lake and nearby streets, namely Vo Van Tan, Tran Cao Van, and Pham Ngoc Thach.

The plan is to provide favorable conditions for street vendors to earn a living, Binh elaborated.

Careful consideration

The city’s Urban Traffic Management Zone No. 3 has recently suggested the establishment of a food hub at Gia Dinh Park, Go Vap District.

According to Deputy Chairman Nguyen Huu Nghia, authorities are weighing whether the size of the park is sufficient given the large number of vendors in the district.

A vendor sells his food on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A vendor sells his food on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

If there is not enough space, the plan will go sideways, resulting in more regular occupation of sidewalks and roadways, Nghia explained.

The Urban Traffic Management Zone No. 3 is expected to pool statistics from the operation of the Nguyen Van Chiem ‘food street’ before coordinating with the Go Vap administration to realize the scheme.

It is necessary to open more food centers to provide business opportunities for poorer residents, Nguyen Van Dung, deputy head of the Urban Traffic Management Zone No. 1 said, adding that order, hygiene, and esthetics should be taken into account.

Dung listed some potential streets for the plan, including Pham Ngu Lao in District 1 and Nguyen Trai in District 5.

“This is an effective measure to ensure livelihoods for citizens and preserve urban and traffic order,” said Vu Viet Ha, deputy chief inspector of the municipal Department of Transport.

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