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Chinese Dry Cleaners, Art Spaces & Trendy Gyms: How To Spend A Day At Ho Chi Minh Sarani

Old shopping malls, contemporary gyms, salons and spas, cultural hotspots and great eateries - Ho Chi Minh Sarani has a bit of everything. Here's a guide to this atmospheric street. 

Did you know that in the pre-Independence era, many of the city's dry cleaners were Chinese? Some of them came to the city as far back as 1922. Chung King doesn't hail as far back as that. But they are old enough (check out the retro signage, some of whose letters are falling off). Many Chinese immigrants who opened these outlets had formal training in dry cleaning in China. Most have shut shop but Chung King continues to be popular. Head here if you want to get that vintage saree or suit cleaned to perfection. 

Ho Chi Minh has two old suitmakers next to each other. Of these, Suleman & Sons has been around since 1956 and will whip up a tailored-to-fit suit, shirts, sherwanis, and other menswear in a jiffy. The other one, H Abdul Latif does tailoring for both men and women. 

If you are ever in the area or around (Camac Street, Theatre Road, etc) and hungry, you will have a wide variety of cuisines and places to choose from. There's and outlet of the popular Chinese food chain, Chowman which does reasonably good Indian-Chinese. Feel like some biryani, chaap and kebabs? Head to Saima. The tiny kiosk eatery Sutanuti does a pretty huge range of dishes from tetrazinni to omelettes, and fish and chips. Gabbars Kitchen is the fancier joint of the lot with quirky Bollywood-themed decor - lovely old posters and photos and wall graffiti with famous phrases and dialogues from films. They do Indian food really well. Then there's the old Kolkata fave, Jyoti Vihar serving South Indian tiffin fare like idli-dosa. You have an outlet of the sweet shop chain, Ganguram. If you are looking for a quick snack and drink, hit up Green Apple or MRP.

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