Street Hawkers of Saigon: Carriers of Livelihoods and Dreams

Admin_Mar - October 17, 2021

Forever etched in our memories of the more bustling days, the image of street hawkers filling up empty sidewalks comforts those dreaming of a near normal future.

For as long as street food culture remains prominent in Saigon, street hawkers will remain an indispensable part of the lives of those calling this city home. Their food provides a certain homeliness that even restaurants lack, and with it, a sense of authenticity that almost resembles one’s own home cooking. 

This article is dedicated to celebrating as well as reminding all of us to be more appreciative of street hawkers, whose lives have been made more difficult during these trying times, through a collection of photos gathered from the internet.


Street hawkers carry not only food to their usual gathering spots everyday, but also their children’s dreams, sometimes even their own. More than self-employed merchants themselves, they are their families’ breadwinner.


Street hawker in front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. Source:

street hawker in Saigon

Street hawker in downtown Saigon. Source:


In a city that never seems to rest, most make it a routine to stop by a street hawker or two to catch their breath. There is something about watching one’s food being prepared right before one’s eyes. That sight can mean more to a person especially when they’ve been cooped up in their office or classroom for hours. Though short, the time spent with one’s familiar street hawker might just be as rejuvenating as their food, promising enough energy for more to come.

street hawker on the street of Saigon

You could find street hawkers almost everywhere in Saigon. Source:

street hawker on the streets of saigon

street hawker on the streets of Saigon

Street hawkers on sidewalks. Source:


There’s no denying that Saigon’s fast pace and growth can easily leave many street hawkers wondering about their chances in the city. However, those with a strong will to attain better chances at life have accumulated an unwavering spirit over the past decades, and with time, that mentality has no doubt been passed onto one another. This has created a major contrast between the sparkling lights illuminating skyscrapers and a large number of persistent street hawkers, vying for their livelihoods and dreams.


street hawker in the 60s

A street hawker in 1966 through the lenses of an American photographer. Source:

street hawker selling to kids in Saigon

A street hawker selling to kids. Source:

To those of you who have made it this far, know that Covid-19 affects people in different ways. For those of us in the position to help, we should be considerate of people who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic such as these street hawkers. This is so that when a new normalcy is established, every part and person of Saigon will bring this vibrant city back to life.

Interested in more content like this? Check out our blog for more! Or if you’re planning a trip around the city once everything is back up and running, check out the tour packages we offer! For now, stay safe and stay sane!


Written by Linh Lê

Image source: Google

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