I got up early the morning after we arrived and took to Cho Chau Doc, the central market. My rule of thumb when visiting a new place (especially in Southeast Asia) is to hit the market first because it’s usually the heart of activity in town. Even in a place like Saigon where the market (Ben Thanh) is extremely touristy, you can find tons of great street food lining the surrounding streets because everyone knows that’s where they’ll find the foot traffic to support their business. Cho Chau Doc is a fun little market because it’s generally not a very touristy town and it’s also a functional market for the locals. Inside the market you’ll find what you find in many of the markets in Vietnam – inexpensive clothes, bulk fabric, household supplies, and raw foodstuff like dried fermented fish, coffee, etc. Outside, you’ll find hawkers selling some of the best food in town.
As with most markets in Southeast Asia, the very early morning is the best time to visit because that’s when everyone is doing their shopping for the day.
These were all shot with a Canon 5D MKII and all but the first with the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. I love this little lens for shooting in the streets because the focal length allows you to get a closer without disturbing your subjects when shooting people, it’s sharp, renders great color, and has almost no perspective distortion. Its small form-factor is great for both street and travel photography. Despite being the longest focal length lens I own, it is physically the smallest. At just under 400g, it weighs less than HALF of the Canon L-series 85mm which weighs in at almost 1000g. It’s also a steal, at fraction of the price at under $400 USD. This all makes it a great 85mm lens for travel. You could buy and break or lose FOUR of these before even coming close to the price of one 85mm L-series lens.
Look out for more from our trip down the Mekong River soon.
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My new friend, the bun rieu lady.