Saigon ice cream

Cool off

What we say: 3.5 stars

It’s usually pretty warm in Saigon — even the early mornings of December and January rarely dip below 20 degrees Celsius — but the last couple of weeks here have been hot! We’re only in March; things are going to get even hotter over the next month. If you’re walking around the city when it’s extra hot, I can recommend cooling down with ice cream — Saigon has quite a few spots where you can get yourself a sweet treat.

The ice cream king of Saigon!

The ice cream king of Saigon.

The king in Saigon ice cream right now is Fanny Ice Cream. Fanny has four locations throughout the city but quite a few restaurants also offer Fanny’s for their own desserts. If you’re seeing the sights downtown, Ton Thap Thiep is a pretty central location. The ice cream at Fanny is popular for a reason: it is delicious. They have more than 30 flavours including the standard favourites but I’m a big fan of their sorbets, especially the mango and passionfruit. If you happen to be in town on the first Friday of the month, head to Fanny’s for their 110,000 VND ice cream buffet between 18:30 and 23:00 and eat all the ice cream you want. If that’s too much, a single scoop will set you back 30,000 VND.

This is where the good chocolate is!

This is where the good chocolate is.

Baskin Robbins is new to Saigon, and opened the first of their three ice cream parlours in the city on the corner of Le Lai and Truong Dinh, just down the street from the Ben Thanh Market. Technically, Baskin Robbins isn’t completely new to the city; they originally opened some stores in the early 1990s. Back then ice cream was a luxury item that few could afford, forcing the chain to struggle and eventually fold. Now they’re back, with plans to open all over the country. A scoop is more expensive here, starting at 45,000 VND, but in particular, if you need a chocolate fix, it is well worth it!

One of Saigon’s street food secrets is actually ice cream, or kem; look out for the sign out the front of hole-in-the-wall shops all over the city. Most of these spots offer low-priced soft-serve of varying flavours, though a few of the street spots do offer a homemade hard serve kem. My favourite is a spot tucked away down an alley on Mai Thi Luu where you can get a 10,000 VND scoop of either coffee or loganberry ice cream. The former tastes just like someone made ice cream out of a cup of Vietnamese cafe sua; this particular spot also serves fish balls, deep-fried balls of mystery fish, which you can order with your kem. It may sound weird but I suggest you try it before you make a judgment.

Logan berry or coffee? I'll take both!

Loganberry or coffee? I'll take both!

Fanny Ice Cream
29-31 Ton Thap Thiep
T: (08) 3821 1633

Baskin Robbins
1 Truong Dinh

Kem Nhan
4 Truong Han Sieu
T: (08) 6674 6763

If you’re an ice cream fan travelling around the region, we’ve covered Bangkok, some spots in Bali and Phnom Penh ice creameries too.

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