Binh Tay Market


First impressions of the market, with its multi-tiered, mustards-colored roofs stalked by serpentine dragons, are of a huge temple complex. Once inside, however, it quickly becomes obviously that only mammon is deified here. If any one  place epitomizes, Cholon’s vibrant  commercialism, it is Binh Tay, is well regimented corridors abuzz with stalls offering products of all kinds, from dry fish, pickled vegetables and chili paste pounded before you eyes, to pottery piled up to the rafters, and the colorful bonnets crafted from knotted lengths of twine that Vietnamese women so favor. A pair of marvelously dilapidated blocks of shop houses, each capped by four Moorish domes, hems in the market; while a veritable army of cycle-driver lays siege to its front entrance. Beyond Binh Tay’s south side, a shanty-town of makeshift stalls hawk cheap snacks to hungry shoppers and traders.