Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat was founded by two Frenchmen, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou, whose devotion to creating world-class chocolate has put Vietnam on the map as a gourmet chocolate destination. All ingredients in Marou Chocolate are from cacao plantations in the Mekong Delta. Everything is made in the factory, one of which is located on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, while the second much smaller one in Ben Thanh doubles as a café and patisserie.Where to buy: Maison Marou 167-169 Calmette, District 1
Sitting on top of the list is the ao dai, the Vietnamese national regalia. The ao dai’s unique design accentuates the inherent beauty of Vietnamese women, making them more attractive. It is demure yet charming, and highly elegant. Many foreign visitors have fallen in love with this traditional long dress and even order several tailor-made ones to take home.Where to buy: Nhat Nguyet: 28 Mac Dinh Chi, District 1Huong Collection: 67 Thu Khoa Huan, District 1Nice Silk: 237 Le Thanh Ton, District 1 Thu Silk (235 Le Thanh Ton, District 1)
The non la is not only an accessory but also a cultural symbol. It first appeared in the mid-13th century and has gone through the vicissitudes of time and now plays an important role in Vietnamese people’s life, especially farmers. In addition to protecting the wearer from the heat in the summer and the downpours of the rainy season, the non la also emphasizes the beauty and charm of Vietnamese women when combined with the ao dai and ao ba ba (another kind of Vietnamese traditional costume). The quirky non la is a perfect choice for folks who’ve admired Vietnam from afar through the pages of National Geographic.Where to buy: head down to Ben Thanh or Binh Tay market (LTK37 to LTK43 stall) and you will encounter numerous stalls selling non la. The Bui Vien Area is also worth a visit.
Bring home some tea and coffee. One cup will instantly transport you back to those early mornings sitting in your favorite open-air coffee shop enjoying the irresistibly addictive cups of Vietnamese robusta.Where to Buy: In terms of coffee and tea, hundreds of famous exotic brands such as Starbucks, Cafe Benne, and The Coffee House have set up shop in Saigon but Phuc Long Tea and Coffee still prevails and retains a firm foothold in the market. Because Phuc Long is only located in Ho Chi Minh City, their uniquely flavored is highly coveted all around the country and by foreign purveyors. Their products vary from fruity peach teas to soothing green teas and traditional black teas. All of their roasts and loose leaf teas are lovingly dressed in gorgeous packaging, reflective of the growing design culture in Vietnam.
Propaganda art is a form of political propaganda often used to raise awareness for safety and public health. Most propaganda posters were originally created during the country’s turbulent years to help raise the spirit of both workers and military troops. Nowadays, they are increasingly recognized as works of art and are gradually becoming a trendy retro art movement. You can find this kind of art on t-shirts, canvas totes, and calendars. It might be the coolest gift you could possibly get for that hipster friend at home.Where to Buy: Come to Saigon Kitsch (43 Ton That Thiep, District 1) and let the in-house specialist recommend a piece that best suits your personality. The store specializes in promoting and distributing Vietnamese propaganda products from postcards and souvenirs, to jackets and T-shirts. Here, you can add a little color to your wardrobe as well as your home decor. This place has skillfully merged Vietnamese propaganda art with urban fashion, as well as souvenir items.
Ceramic products have long been a typical souvenir of Vietnam. The idyllic life of Vietnamese people is exquisitely portrayed as painted illustrations on these porcelain cups. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There is no doubt these handcrafted items and their products have turned into a tourist attraction for foreigners who are enchanted by Vietnamese culture.Where to Buy: If you have a car at your disposal, drop by the pottery village in Thu Duc district, which is about 40 minutes outside the city. This is where you can get your ceramic products with a touch of your own personality. Pick a design, select your own color scheme, and make your own souvenir to take back to your family at home. They’ll love it! Or you can purchase pre-designed handcrafted pieces. It’s still a highly personal gift given you have to sort through the inventory of hundreds of shapes and patterns. In addition, the savings are exponential when you buy items at the workshop as opposed to within the city.
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