Tân Định market is a large market selling a vast array of different things, as you’d expect from any market. The outside of the place is lined with food stalls, selling an impressive variety of dishes, so it’s easy to combine a trip here with lunch.
Although the market is a great place to go if you’re in the area or live locally, there’s nothing particularly exciting or exotic about the place – although it is housed in an unusual building with a unique façade – so you do not need add it to your must visit list, or make any special effort to go there.
The really interesting thing about Tân Định market, though, is its history. In the late 19th century, the market (then known as Phú Hòa Market) was one of the most important markets in Northern Saigon. The current building, however, was constructed by the French colonial government in the 1920s – partly to improve hygiene, and partly to increase the state’s revenue. And it is in this unusual building that the market is still housed today (minus the roof, which has been replaced).
So, the market is worth finding out about for general interest, but, despite being a great local place, if you don’t ever find yourself in the area, you’re not actually missing much.