Food streets in HCMC both help poor vendors, ensure food safety

The official establishment of food stalls in streets in Ho Chi Minh City’s districts has both helped poor vendors improve their income and ensure food safety as well as make the city aesthetically beautiful.

Food stalls are located in a food street in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)
Food stalls are located in a food street in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

Along Nguyen Van Chiem Street, Bach Tung Diep Park in District 1 and Le Binh Street in Tan Binh District, are now the new home for eateries and street food vendors who previously occupied pavements to do business.

After the establishment of the food street, a deluge of trash from takeaway containers and disposable cutlery have no longer cluttered the streets and the pavements in the two districts.

Forty businesses in Nguyen Van Chiem Street taking turns to run them in two shifts (between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM, and 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM everyday) are bustling with customers. Vendor Bui Duc Loi said that this place is better for selling food compared to the previous one.

The administration of District 1 has provided tables, chairs, tarpaulin covers and food stalls for street vendors who registered to sell food in Bach Tung Diep Park. The park is located in Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street next to the People’s Court; hence, a lot of patrons enjoy food here.

Street vendors in Le Binh Street in Tan Binh District feel securer as the district administration has provided safe place for them to earn living since 2018 because they were fined for illegally occupying the pavement before. Furthermore, after registering to sell their food in the street, vendors were trained about food safety.

Vendor Nguyen Thi Hong An couldn’t hide her delight saying that she now feels securer because she has not illicitly occupied the pavement like before when she had to run away when police came.

According to the People’s Committee in Ben Nghe Ward in District 1, after three-year establishment of food streets, vendors’ income has improved a lot contributing much to the ward’s poverty eradication plan. Moreover, the ward authority can monitor food safety and attract visitors. Of 46 poor and near-poor households in the ward, eight poor and 36 near-poor households escaped poverty thanks to participating in the food street.

Vendors expected the local administrations to allow them to sell all days instead of shifts like presently.

The model of food streets have proved effective and successful; therefore, some people voiced their opinion that the model should be extended; yet, it need detailed plan for extension of the model.

From his own experience of organizing a food street, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ward 4 in Tan Binh District Nguyen Nhu Hung said the administration must prepare clean land fund in crowded streets for food stalls. Moreover, the local government must encourage vendors not sell the same food and beverage to avoid unhealthy competition.

A representative of the People’s Committee in Ben Nghe Ward said that the committee has proposed to set up additional food streets in Chu Manh Trinh Street, two alleys in Le Duan Street and Nguyen Du Street, Huynh Thuc Khang Street and Thai Van Lung Street to assist low-income households in the ward to escape poverty.