Pay Ho Chi Minh City’s creative community a visit. Browse traditionally woven handbags or check out bamboo crafts created in villages along the Mekong River, before wandering into a renovated warehouse and stopping off in a third-wave coffee shop. The largest city in Vietnam has so much to offer.
The designers at this boutique fuse culture with modernity and have captured the essence of Saigon-chic with their range of handmade handbags. Young and fearless, the Ladan team has tackled a difficult market which is saturated with cheaper alternatives, but the products’ quality has seen them grow in popularity throughout the city.
Utilising a traditional weaving method known as Dan Lat, Ladan’s collection of bags has bridged the generation gap in Vietnam, with both young and old seen flaunting the candy-coloured pocketbooks, clutches and totes on the newly revamped sidewalks in District 1.
This homeware hotspot is where you can find exquisite, limited pieces of ceramic, wood, glass and bamboo crafts by designers from rural Vietnamese and South-east-Asian villages along the Mekong River. From teak wood utensils and tableware to handwoven baskets and bags, they sport a contemporary aesthetic despite the traditional roots.
Quickly becoming an institution, the Libe Workshop provides exclusive Vietnamese designs at affordable prices. Using a minimalist approach, Libe aims to offer their customers a range of timeless pieces which blend simplicity with character. The brand’s remarkable rise has seen it become a fashion statement of Ho Chi Minh City’s youth and its garments, must-have additions to their wardrobes.
Founded by designer Moon Doan in 2011, this popular market has helped to establish the city’s creative community. As one of the first handmade and vintage flea markets in Vietnam, it is an inspiration for many alternative artisans and is a shopping haven for expats and travellers alike. Now found at the Boomerang Restaurant (107 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phu Ward, District 7), the market hosts local talent and continues to be a landmark event on Saigon’s shopping calendar.
A cafe-retail concept store, L’Usine epitomises the city’s shift to modernity. Set in a renovated warehouse with a Scandi-chic industrial feel, it’s one of the places to go for like-minded locals, expats and tourists to eat, shop and hang out. The team behind L’Uisine is at the forefront of promoting the city’s talented youth through art exhibitions, and products from local artisans. They’ve also very quickly, and successfully, built a brand that people trust and recognise, and it is one that’s destined to expand and develop.
Touted as a ‘third wave coffee shop’, this progressive place is an example of how the city’s cafe experience is changing. Ho Chi Minh City is renowned for its small cafes with low plastic chairs serving ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced milk coffee), and Nomad Cold Brew Coffee is a breath of fresh air in an overpopulated market. Its speciality coffee, sleek edgy look and atmospheric boutique setting are yet another sign of development in a city which is being rapidly altered by its youth and their discerning tastes.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
The information is accurate as of press time. For updated information, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings on 18 March 2018 and updated on 18 May 2021.