Saigon is a town for food lovers, and although it is better known for its pho, there’s no shortage of great shops for you to visit after dinner (or before because remember life is short) selling delicious, sweet treats. If you have a sweet tooth, here are some places you can go for dessert.
It’s so hot in HCMC you may only want a cold treat. If that’s the case, you’re in luck because ice cream in Saigon is easy to find. While I’m a fan of the ice cream sold right off the street, called kem, and some big name ice cream chains, like Baskin Robbins, have ventured into the city’s limits, the premiere ice cream parlour in Saigon has to be Fanny Ice Cream. With a few central locations, like the flagship store on Ton Thap Thiep or their store in the Vincom Centre, Fanny’s consistently delivers great ice cream. Offering more than 30 flavours and a book with dozens of different sundaes, I find myself partial to their sorbets, especially the mango. On the first Friday each month, Fanny’s is home to an 110,000 VND all you can eat ice cream buffet between 18:30 and 23:00.
A number of places offer the ice cream alternative of frozen yogurt. Several of these shops have easy to find locations, like Yogurt Space on Tran Hung Dao or Yogen Fruz on Pasteur, but if you want a quality cup of frozen yogurt head to District 3’s Yofana. Yofana, on Ky Dong, is a build your own yogurt shop where you serve yourself, add your own toppings and then pay by the gram. You won’t find as many toppings or flavours of soft-serve frozen yogurt as at some of the city’s other establishments but you will find great tasting yogurt. Although it is out of the way, the freshness and quality of their ingredients makes it worth the 10-minute taxi trip out of downtown.
If a frozen snack wasn’t what you had in mind the city is full of shops selling sweet baked goods. A handful of bakeries have multiple locations in HCMC but the best would have to be Tous Le Jours, with locations all over the city including Tran Hung Dao just across from Ben Thanh market, where you will find a large variety of sweet cakes and rolls starting at as little as 12,000 VND. It’s almost as if the French never left when you walk into what has to be the best smelling spot in town. This is also one of the top places in Saigon to buy cakes and their subsequent slices; these cakes will be extra sweet and heavy on the frosting but, starting at around 200,000 VND, they are hard to beat elsewhere for the price.
Saigon’s cupcake scene has also started to take shape, with a few stores now dedicated solely to the small desserts. If you’re close to the Reunification Palace or the Notre Dame Cathedral take the short walk down Nguyen Du to Pacey Cupcakes, a small cafe that sells 29,000 VND cupcakes, the best being their coconut frosted red velvet or the chocolate banana. If you want a more traditional sized and styled cupcake, including a great red velvet, head to L’Usine for a selection of cupcakes from Sweet and Sour Bakery. For the best specialty cupcakes in Saigon, head to Cakewalk Cupcakes on Nguyen Cong Tru. Here you will find a fun cupcake bakery with a unique variety of flavours; my favourite being their banoffee.
And of course, don’t be afraid to try some of the desserts sold on Saigon’s streets. Common street desserts that are worth a try include the hot ginger and tofu pudding, called che dau hu, sweet sticky rice, known as xoi, and banh kep, or waffles grilled on the street.
Fanny Ice Cream
29-31 Ton Thap Thiep
T: (08) 3821 1633
10 Ky Dong, District 3, Saigon
T: (08) 6290 4013
151 Dong Khoi, 1st Floor, Dist 1
T: (08) 6674 3565
53G Nguyen Du, Dist 1
T: (08) 3823 3223
84 Nguyen Cong Tru
T: (08) 6295 9087
By Max Murta
Last updated on 23rd October, 2014.