If you are staying in one of the homestays and lack your own transport, you’ll probably do much of your eating there as getting into Ben Tre can be a little time consuming and/or expensive. That’s no big deal as the food in the homestays is generally reasonable and affordable.
For a morning coffee, we had a good cup at Nha In Hiep Huu, a hole in the wall cafe right by the bridge (on the east side) that runs over the Ben Tre River. For a cuppa in a more modern setting, Lekao’s Coffee is in the northeast reaches of town, set along the north bank of the Truc Giang lake and does good coffee and a reasonable range of sweets and cakes. Grab a perch at the upstairs bench and enjoy the view over the lake, or get a takeaway end enjoy it closer.
For lunch time grazing, consider bright orange, cow–themed Pho Anh Hong near the corner of Ba Thang Hai and Phan Ngoc Tong. Popular and not too pricey (30,000 dong for a down) this is a good spot for lunch and right next door there is the equally popular Moka Cafe which has a bit of an open–air setting and makes for a comfortable spot for an iced–coffee while you wait for the midday heat to dissipate.
If you’d prefer something simpler, along the west side of Ben Tre market is an open–air collection of food stalls serving typical market fare. We didn’t try a meal here, but it was humming when we cycled past in the mid morning.
Come dinner, on Ba Thang Hai you’ll find the comfortable seafood restaurant Lanh Chai 2 Seafood. We didn’t eat here this time around, but we have on past visits to Ben Tre and have found it to be of reasonable value and ticking the boxes if you’d like a restaurant experience rather than another noodle stall. Both the Hung Vuong and Viet Uc (both down by the Ben Tre river) also have attached restaurants.
Ben Tre Market food stalls Between Cach Mang Thang Tam and Hung Vuong, Ben Tre.; Mo–Su: From early morning..
Cafe Moka Ba Thang Hai, Ben Tre.; .
Lanh Chai 2 Seafood Ba Thang Hai, Ben Tre.; .
Lekao’s Coffee 28 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Tre.; T: (0886) 511 511; .
Nha In Hiep Huu Dong Khoi, Ben Tre. Right beside the bridge.; .
Pho Anh Hong 68 Phan Ngoc Tong, Ben Tre; T: (0753) 825 986; .
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.