Lined with enormous concrete electricity pylons, Nguyen Thuong Hien is a straight and narrow street leading northeast from District 1. Yellow street lamps poke up above the squat, boxy houses, and tangled electricity cables hang in front of neon signage like jungle vines. At night, there’s a sense of Dionysian abandon on this street: hundreds of diners take their seats at sidewalk restaurants, munching on shellfish, throwing empty beer cans under their tables, talking loudly, and singing along to acoustic guitars. There’s a lot to eat and drink on Nguyen Thuong Hien, and a lot of fun to be had.
The liveliest section of Nguyen Thuong Hien is between the cross streets of Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Vo Van Tan. Settle down to some snails and shellfish – a classic Saigon night out – at A Soi (237-239 Nguyen Thuong Hien). Oysters, clams, crab claws, sea snails and local beer are all on the menu here. Although Nguyen Thuong Hien is famous for its seafood, it’s also become the unofficial fruit juice street of Saigon. Near the intersection with Nguyen Dinh Chieu and with Nguyen Thi Minh Khai there are several large ‘juiceries’ where all number of tropical fruits are freshly squeezed into plastic bottles to take away (try Phat Dat at 125 Nguyen Thuong Hien). Finally, head to Nhân Quán (72-74 Nguyen Thuong Hien) for a bowl of its famous hủ tiếu Nam Vang noodles: slices of pork, whole shrimp and quail eggs in a clear sweet broth seasoned with shallots, spring onions and kale.