Xin chao from Vietnam!
Early this month we headed off to Vietnam for the annual Metalex Vietnam exhibition held at the SECC (Saigon Exhibition Convention Center) in Ho Chi Minh City. Located 15 minutes from Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, in District 7’s new area called “Phu My Hung,” SECC has an exhibition space of 9,000 sqm with an outdoor exhibition space of 6,000 sqm with plans to expand to 40,000 sqm and 20,0000 sqm respectively.
Front of SECC (Saigon Exhibition Convention Center)
Outside of SECC
Read on below for my recommendations on the most convenient places to eat, drink, and stock up on supplies when you’re exhibiting at SECC.
Namlong Coffee is located right inside the exhibition center and serves delicious coffee as well as cold bottled water and soft drinks. They open as early as 8:30AM and provide very quick service. I recommend the iced Vietnamese Coffee if you enjoy something bittersweet. At 30,000 VND (\150), it’s a steal! The guys working there are also very friendly.
Vietnamese banh mi (baguette) sandwiches are the go-to food for a quick and delicious pick-me-up. Located inside the SECC, Banh Mi Ba Hung is serviced by some friendly women and everything is delicious and homemade.
The combo sandwich + drink at 50,000 VND (\250) is a great deal. Besides sandwiches, they also serve xoi (sticky rice) and other snack foods.
The menu is in English and has photos so it’s easy to choose what you want.
Banh Mi Ba Hung menu
For something more filling and satisfying, I recommend heading across the street from SECC to Pho 24. Pho 24 is a popular but delicious chain restaurant that serves Vietnamese pho (noodle soup). The inside of the shop is air-conditioned and clean so it’s a nice escape from the heat of the city.
Interior of Pho 24
Beef pho and kumquat juice
Across the street on the left side of SECC is a small, stylish café called Barista Coffee where you can spend some time if you need a change of atmosphere. It’s a popular place for locals to come hang out and relax and it’s a short walk from SECC.
If you need tape or scissors for packaging or unpackaging, there is a vending machine located on the 1st floor of the SECC near the entrance inside. The machine only takes small bills however so it’s best to change to smaller bills beforehand.
Crescent Mall is located just a couple minutes away from SECC by taxi.
On the B1 floor (basement 1st floor) is Giant Supermarket where you can stop by to grab some supplies.
Be forewarned, the fish sauce smell is very overpowering once you get there...
Near the back of the supermarket they have a household section selling many different types of necessities such as office supplies, power outlets, construction tools, locks, etc.
Phu My Hung, the area nearby where SECC is located, has many places to shop and a large selection of restaurants to dine at. During the daytime, it is quite serene and at night, it’s a nice place to take a nighttime stroll.
After the exhibition, I highly recommend you head to Hoang Yen restaurant nearby Crescent Mall. It’s a great place to have dinner as the food is local, authentic Vietnamese cuisine and the atmosphere is very relaxing. If you get a chance to dine here, I recommend sitting on the 2nd floor near the windows as there is a beautiful view at nighttime.
View during daytime. (The nighttime view is much better).
Trung Nguyen is a famous coffee producer and has numerous stylish cafés located throughout the major cities in Vietnam. It’s not uncommon for there to be multiple cafés even on one block.
Trung Nguyen Legend in District 1
Interior of Trung Nguyen Legend
I recommend getting a Vietnamese iced coffee as they serve the coffee in the traditional Vietnamese way.
The banh mi sandwiches here are also pretty good!
If you are staying in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, I highly recommend grabbing dinner or drinks at SH Garden. It is located on the rooftop of one of the buildings on Nguyen Hue street. They serve traditional Vietnamese cuisine in an open-air atmosphere. It’s a great place to entertain guests for dinner.
Nighttime view from SH Garden
Delicious cocktails at SH Garden
Exhibiting at SECC in Ho Chi Minh City can be a breeze if you know where to eat, drink, and get supplies. I hope my recommendations can make exhibiting in Ho Chi Minh City a little easier (and fun) for you!