The House of Saigon
The House of Saigon is an all-in-one handmade goods, café and tea shop, featuring unique handcrafted items, a 1940s-Saigon-inspired décor and yummy treats. Also available are homemade spices, a personal tea master that brews up savory samples for guests and handmade jewelry – all at reasonable prices.
It’s not hard to find souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City. They’re on every corner and in every form, from art to traditional dress to local items like coffee powder, tea leaves and spices. The House of Saigon aims to elevate the experience of handicraft and souvenir hunting to a safe environment, where authentic handmade items don’t need to be ruthlessly haggled over, and where customers can sit down with some coffee or tea in the middle of their shopping experience and enjoy some peace between chaotic street vendors and overbearing weather.
Every item in The House of Saigon has a backstory, and each is selected for its quality and affordability. Materials used to craft the handmade souvenirs are both recycled and natural. Natural materials include bamboo, sedge, rattan, ceramics, coconut shell, cotton, hemp, linen and leather. Outsourcing partners across the country include local ethic groups like the Catu and H’Mong minorities. These minorities deliver traditional embroidered patterns that The House of Saigon uses in combination with modern design techniques to create a customary-chic look.
The House of Saigon is a three-floor establishment. Exploring the floors is fun – there’s always something interesting to discover. The shop feels like a mix between an artisanal museum and a fashion gallery, with tea and coffee breaks in-between.
On the first floor you will find accessories like bags, purses, jewelry, ceramic coffee sets, spices and more. The second floor includes a tea station where a tea master brews samples and sells 12 varieties of leavesfrom around the country (ranging from VND 70,000 for standard offerings to rarer teas topping VND 900,000). Also on the second floor are men’s and women’s clothing hovering around mid-range prices, including custom Ao Dais made with The House of Saigon’s signature mix of ethnic minority patterns and modern design.
The third floor is a quaint coffee shop and eatery. The 1940s Saigon décor is more apparent here, along with some industrial elements and a touch of art deco. You’ll be more focused on the tasty coffees and bite-size pastries, however. There is also a good deal of smoothie options and three well-priced set lunches. The Vietnamese treats go well with the various teas and coffee (especially the Vietnamese sponge cake), and the café itself is a great place to laze out in the middle of a Saigon shopping session.
If you’re a difficult shopper and are seeking some guidance, favorite souvenirs and accessories include spices (lemongrass chili salt from Cao Lanh and pepper salt from Phu Quoc, each at VND 65,000 per container), coconut and lemongrass soap(VND 95,000), ceramic coffee and tea sets(VND 120,000), coconut shell bowls (VND 105,000) and leather card holders (VND 50,000). The eclectic fashion accessories are also popular among shoppers.
If you’re more of an explorer, the best way to discover The House of Saigon would be to walk the three floors yourself and get a good feel for what the shop offers. If you’re into traditional garb and accessories tailored with a trendy modern look, The House of Saigon presents many carefully crafted options. If you’re looking for more standard-fare souvenirs, the space tends to avoidkitsch, but you’ll still find some creative mugs and t-shirts for the trip home. For the most part, the handcrafted items are made to be used, worn and showed-off – not left on the shelf askeepsakes.
When you’re at the shop, do try the sample teas and grab a bite at the café in the middle of your browsing session – the space is a great getaway from the chaotic streets outside The House of Saigon’s doors.