Ho Chi Minh

Saigon Food in Vietnam: 25 Amazing Must-try Dishes

Ho Chi Minh City, otherwise known as Saigon, always has a few pleasant surprises awaiting her visitors. One thing you must try is Saigon food. Vietnamese cuisine first entered the hearts and homes of ordinary people when Christine Ha won the 3rd MasterChef US in 2012. 

Before that, Anthony Bourdain had always been a strong advocate of Vietnamese food globally. He was also with Barack Obama when they had bun cha Hanoi during the former president’s trip to Vietnam in 2016

Also, Gordon Ramsay fell in love with the most simple and authentic Vietnamese dishes when he came across them during Gordon’s Great Escape in 2011. He even used the Vietnamese hu tieu as a challenge in MasterChef US season 4.

Many popular food YouTubers like Strictly Dumplings, Mark Wiens, The Food Ranger, and Best Ever Food Review Show have since exposed the secrets of not only everyday Vietnamese foods, but also those of finer dining.

Vietnamese Food Differs By Region

Vietnamese Food Differs By Region
[ by Natalia Mok from Unsplash ]

Like any other country, Vietnamese cuisine differs from region to region. Being the country’s economic hub, the lively and opportunistic city of Ho Chi Minh is a melting pot of Vietnamese diaspora, together with their culture and, of course, food.

Northern Vietnam emphasizes saltiness, typically with fish sauce (nước mắm) and fermented shrimp paste (mắm tôm). 

Central Vietnam emphasizes spiciness with the saltiness from fermented pastes and the heat from chilies and peppercorns.

Southern Vietnam emphasizes sweet and sour. The sourness usually comes from tamarind or lime and balanced with sugar or coconut juice. For sweetness and creaminess, coconut milk is used and is thickened with corn or tapioca starch.

Many dishes have their places of origin in their names, including foreign regions, like bun bo Hue, mi Quang, Sichuan roasted duck (vịt quay Tứ Xuyên), hu tieu Nam Vang, bun cha Hanoi. The places are also added into the names of regional variations like Northern vs Southern pho, com tam, bun dau mam tom, and so on.

Interesting Facts about Saigon Food in Vietnam

Interesting Facts about Saigon Food in Vietnam
[ by Thoa Ngo from Unsplash ]

Little added fat: Except for some of the obviously fried dishes, most Vietnamese dishes are either boiled, steamed, or braised with little to no fat added.

Mostly gluten-free: Besides banh mi and Turkish doner kebabs, Vietnamese dishes are mainly made of rice flour, with the addition of ample vegetables to go along. 

Many vegan options: Being a country with a prominent Buddhist culture, Vietnam, and of course, Saigon, have many vegetarian and vegan restaurants. 

Cheap: Most of the Vietnamese food, especially the ones we introduce here cost not much more than 40 000 to 60 000 VND (2 – 3 USD) or even cheaper from street vendors.

Drinking culture and drinking out (đi nhậu) also differs from region to region: 

  • In Hanoi, you tend to see small groups of two or three drinking beer in family street diners while eating peanuts or other snacks. Northern Vietnamese also prefer their rice wine (rượu đế) during mealtimes.
  • In Saigon, it’s mostly about big groups sitting in diners shouting ‘Một! Hai! Ba! Dzô!’ (the equivalent of ‘One! Two! Three! Cheers!’) and chugging their beer. And on the table will be grilled dishes finished with a hotpot.

Basic Food Words to Know in Vietnamese

Foodie Venture: The Best Thing to Do in Ho Chi Minh
[ by Van Thanh from Unsplash ]

Carbohydrates: com (cơm) means cooked rice; banh (bánh) is a common prefix for bread, cakes, and pastry; pho (phở) is a type rice noodle shaped like linguine; mi (mì) are egg noodles of all shapes; bun (bún) is a type of thin rice noodle that requires yeast while hu tieu (hủ tiếu) doesn’t; mien (miến) is cellophane or glass noodles which is made from some kind of yam or green bean flour; bot (bột) means flour.

Thit (thịt) means meat: heo is pork; bo (bò) is beef; ga (gà) is chicken. Ca (cá) means fish; hai san (hải sản) means seafood; thap cam (thập cẩm) means a little bit of everything. Trung (trứng) is eggs.

Rau means vegetables. There isn’t a clear distinction between vegan and vegetarian in Vietnam, but as long as you see the word chay, they have something for you. 

Chien (chiên) means fried; xao (xào) means stir-fried; nuong (nướng) means roasted; hap (hấp) means steamed; luoc (luộc) means boiled; ham (hầm) means braised in a lot of liquid.

Nha hang (nhà hàng) means restaurants and quan (quán) means diners.

Street Food Culture in Saigon

Street Food Culture of Saigon
[ by Alpha from Flickr ]

The origins of Vietnamese culture emanate from commoners rather than nobles or royalties. The food diversity in Saigon is also brought together by historical migrants and immigrants.

Some of the best food you can find not only in Saigon but also in entire Vietnam will be at street vendors and family shops without any name signs. They’re also where foods from other places get adapted to the local taste preferences.

However, some foreigners may be worried about hygiene as the shops are not inspected by the FDA. That’s more reason to have a local guide that can show you the shops that have been around for a long time with a good reputation.

Getting to Know the Best Street Food of Vietnam in Saigon

Bun Cha Hanoi
[ by @zuizuii from Unsplash ]

The streets with the best food in Saigon

Saigon and its street food go by districts. Some districts are more famous for specific dishes than the others. If you want to know better how to get around Saigon, check out our articles on ‘25 Best Things To Do in Ho Chi Minh City’.

From early in the morning to late at night, you can enjoy the best grub on your way out or way back from a full day of sightseeing. There are also great foodie tours, by day or by night, on Saigonstreeteats.com or Tripadvisor. Walking tours are popular, hop on the back of a scooter tour, and you can join tours for vegans.

The dishes we’re going to mention can be eaten whenever and however you’d like — even though a lot of locals think of them as breakfast dishes. Here are the popular foods in top-ranking order you must try when eating out like a local:

1. Pho of Saigon Food

[ by Markus Winkler from Unsplash ]

Pho (phở) is one of, if not the most, popular dish of Vietnam. It typically has a rich beef or chicken broth with rice noodles, and slices of the respective meat. The noodles are made from rice flour with a similar shape to linguine.

The broth is made by simmering bones for a few hours with onions, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and spring onions. It’s usually eaten with bean sprouts, aromatic herbs, cracking an egg in, picked garlic and shallots, and other condiments.

Check out our curated map for the must-try pho in Saigon.

  • Phở Phú Vương, 339 Lê Văn Sỹ, District 3
  • Phở Minh, 63/6 Pasteur, District 1
  • Phở Tàu Bay (Áo Đỏ), 435 Lý Thái Tổ, District 10

2. Banh Mi of Saigon Food

Banh Mi
[ by sstrieu from Flickr ]

Banh mi (bánh mì) or Vietnamese baguette has a range of fillings. First choose your spread of pork liver paté, mayonnaise, and soy sauce. Typical fillings are Vietnamese cured ham (chả lụa) or sausage, roasted pork, char siu, fried egg (ốp la), and fried fish cake strips (chả cá).

Garnishes often include julienned cucumber, shredded pork floss (chà bông), pickled radish and carrot, topped with fresh chilies and cilantro. Non-meat-eaters should be careful of what to choose— especially pork liver paté!

Check out our curated map for the must-try banh mi in Saigon.

  • Bánh Mì 37 Nguyễn Trãi, 37 Nguyễn Trãi, District 1
  • Huynh Hoa Sandwich Shop, 26 Lê Thị Riêng, District 1
  • Bánh Mì Cô Điệp, 238 Võ Thành Trang, Tân Bình District

3. Com Tam of Saigon Food

Com Tam in Saigon
[ by An Vu from Tripadago ]

Com tam (cơm tấm) or broken rice is a love of many people. The rice is served with a slice of charcoal-grilled pork chop and a house-recipe fish sauce. Extras can include steamed egg mixed with minced pork, an egg sunny side up, lạp xưởng (a type of Vietnamese sausage), and julienned steamed pork rind with roasted rice flour.

Check out our curated map for the must-try com tam in Saigon.

  • Cơm tấm Ba Ghiền, 84 Đặng Văn Ngữ, Phú Nhuận District
  • Cơm Tấm Bụi Sài Gòn, 100 Thạch Thị Thanh, District 1
  • Cơm Tấm Bãi Rác, 73 Lê Văn Linh, District 4

4. Sticky Rice or Xoi of Saigon Food

Xoi of Saigon Food
[ by chrisada from Flickr ]

Xoi (xôi) or sticky rice can have either sweet or savory toppings. Vietnamese sticky rice is used as breakfast and an item in festive food trays.

Choices vary from savory shredded chicken to Vietnamese cured ham, roasted pork, char siu, shredded pork, or boiled quail eggs. Toppings include crispy fried shallots. Other varieties are sweet steamed corn kernels, peanuts, and all kinds of beans either green, red, or black.

Check out our curated map for the must-try xoi in Saigon.

  • Xôi Gà Tân Định, 297 Hai Bà Trưng, District 3
  • Xôi Nhà Xác, 409 Trần Phú, District 5
  • Xôi Sầu Riêng Bánh Phồng Chị Phương, 847 3 Tháng 2, District 11

Discover more about sticky rice

5. Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue
[ by Pho & Grill from Facebook ]

Bun bo Hue (bún bò Huế) or Hue beef noodle soup is very different from pho. The broth is made by simmering pork bones, flavored with a signature fermented shrimp paste (mắm ruốc), lemongrass, and other spices. Condiments usually are lime and chilli oil.

The rice noodles for bun bo Hue in Saigon are shaped like spaghetti. It’s served with slices of beef shanks, a thick slice of pork hock, and possibly Hue cured ham. The original bun bo in Hue, however, uses thinner noodles similar to vermicelli and some different seasonings.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bun bo hue in Saigon.

  • The Lunch Lady (Nguyen Thi Thanh), Lô D Chung Cư Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 1
  • Bún bò 31 Mạc Đĩnh Chi, 31 Mạc Đĩnh Chi, District 1
  • Bún Bò Út Hưng, 6C Tú Xương, District 3

6. Goi Cuon and Cha Gio or Nem of Saigon Food

Goi Cuon
[ by RODNAE Productions from Pexels ]

Spring rolls (gỏi cuốn) usually comprise a rice paper wrap, rice noodles, and your choice of vegetables and meat.

Fried spring rolls (chả giò or nem) are a bit different from the fresh ones with a typical filling of ground meat, some kind of potatoes, wood ears, and bean sprouts.

Check out our curated map for the must-try goi cuon and cha gio or nem in Saigon.

  • Gỏi cuốn Lê Văn Sỹ, 359 Lê Văn Sỹ, District 3
  • Gỏi Cuốn – Bì Cuốn – Bò Bía 69 Trần Văn Đang, 212/A47 Nguyễn Trãi, District 1
  • Gỏi Cuốn Tôm Nhảy, 424 Lạc Long Quân, District 11

7. Banh Xeo and Banh Khot of Saigon Food

Banh Xeo and Banh Khot
[ by Quán Ăn Ngon from Facebook ]

Banh xeo (bánh xèo) or Vietnamese savory pancakes is one of the most famous street foods in Saigon. It’s basically a thin crispy golden wrap (the color is from turmeric powder) with pork, shrimp, bean sprout, and spring onions fillings.

It’s served with lettuce on the side and dipped in a house-recipe fish sauce. And banh khot (bánh khọt) is basically the bite-size and crispier version of it.

Check out our curated map for the must-try banh xeo and banh khot in Saigon.

  • Banh Xeo 46A, 46A Đinh Công Tráng, District 1
  • Bánh Xèo Mười Xiềm, 227 Nguyễn Trãi, District 1
  • Bánh Xèo Tôm Nhảy Thanh Diệu, 164 Nguyễn Thị Nhỏ, District 11

8. Banh Trang Nuong, Banh Trang Tron, and Banh Trang Cuon of Saigon Food

Banh Trang Nuong, Banh Trang Tron and Banh Trang Cuon
[ by Mai Tiến Đạt from Tripadago ]

Banh trang nuong (bánh tráng nướng) or the debatable Vietnamese pizza is rice paper roasted over charcoal, with a quail eggs and margarine base, topped with minced pork, dried shrimp, and spring onions.

Banh trang tron (bánh tráng trộn) or rice paper salad usually consists of julienned rice paper and green mango, beef jerky, boiled quail eggs, peanuts, spring onions, and tamarind sauce.

There’s also banh trang cuon (bánh tráng cuốn) which is the roll version but with a more chewy rice paper wrap. 

Check out our curated map for the must-try banh trang nuong, banh trang tron, and banh trang cuon in Saigon.

  • Bánh tráng nướng 61 Cao Thắng, 61 Cao Thắng, District 3
  • Bánh Tráng Nướng Đà Lạt, 384 Lê Văn Sỹ, District 3
  • Bánh Tráng Cô Lan, 1 Ba Tháng Hai, District 10

9. Banh Cuon and Banh Uot of Saigon Food

Banh Cuon and Banh Uot
[ by phuonghoang thuy from Pixabay ]

Other more handy to eat choices are banh uot (bánh ướt) or steamed rice paper served with slices of Vietnamese cured ham and cucumber. Another is banh cuon (bánh cuốn) or rolled steamed rice paper (batter may include eggs) filled with minced pork and wood-ear mushrooms. 

Check out our curated map for the must-try banh cuon and banh uot in Saigon.

  • Bánh cuốn chợ Bàn Cờ, 174/28 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, District 3
  • Bánh cuốn Song Mộc, Hẻm 107 Vườn Chuối, District 3
  • Bánh Cuốn Trứng Vạn Kiếp, 55/19 Vạn Kiếp, Bình Thạnh District

10. Vegan Food in Saigon

Vegan Food in Saigon
[ by @dara_photo from Unsplash ]

The dishes are usually strictly vegan with vegetables, mushrooms, and no animal products. One of the interesting things about Vietnamese vegetarian food is that tofu, and tofu skin, are prepared in many ways to mimic the texture of meat. 

Another cool thing is that there are vegan choices for common dishes mentioned throughout this article so you won’t miss out on anything. Restaurants and diners, not only in Saigon but also in other places, try to incorporate this into their food menus.

Check out our curated map for the must-try vegan restaurants in Saigon.

  • Sen Vàng (Golden Lotus Vegetarian), 152 Nguyễn Trọng Tuyển, Phú Nhuận District
  • Nhà hàng chay và cà phê Bông Súng Vegetarian, 86 Nguyễn Du, District 1
  • Cơm chay Bồ Đề Tịnh Tâm, Trần Não, District 2

11. Bun Thit Nuong of Saigon Food

Bun Thit Nuong
[ by Sean Madden from Flickr ]

Bun thit nuong (bún thịt nướng) or grilled pork noodles is another common choice for breakfast. Think of it as a salad with rice noodles. The dish has charcoal-grilled pork slices and fried spring rolls with pickled julienned radish, carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce all dressed with a house-recipe fish sauce. It’s topped with crushed peanuts, spring onions cooked in oil, and aromatic herbs.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bun thit nuong in Saigon.

  • Bún thịt nướng Kiều Bảo, 339/12 Tô Hiến Thành, District 10
  • Bún Thịt Nướng Hải Đăng, 149 Chấn Hưng, Tân Bình District
  • Bún Thịt Nướng Anh Ba, 126 Lê Văn Sỹ, Phú Nhuận District

12. Bun Cha Hanoi

Bun Cha Hanoi in Saigon
[ by Markus Winkler from Unsplash ]

Bun cha Hanoi (bún chả Hà Nội) or Hanoi grilled pork noodles is arguably the OG (original gangster) one with charcoal-grilled pork patty doused in a lighter fish sauce that can also be used to dip the noodles in.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bun cha Hanoi in Saigon.

  • BÚN CHẢ PHỐ CỔ, 225 Phan Xích Long, Phú Nhuận District
  • Bún chả Trư bát Giới, 72 Trương Quyền, District 3
  • Bún Chả Ánh Hồng Hà Nội, 140 Lý Chính Thắng, District 3

13. Bun Dau Mam Tom of Saigon Food

Bun Dau Mam Tom
[ by Mai Tiến Đạt from Tripadago ]

Bun dau mam tom (bún đậu mắm tôm) originates from the North and gets quite different in the South. The core of the dish is the thin rice noodles pressed together, cut into squares. The main proteins of this dish are fried tofu, slices of pork hock, and a specific Vietnamese cured ham (chả cốm).

Everything is eaten by dipping in a specific shrimp paste (mắm tôm) whisked together with some type of citron juice. The paste can be quite pungent so be careful.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bun dau mam tom in Saigon.

  • Hẻm Đậu- Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm, 140e Lý Chính Thắng, District 3
  • Bún Đậu Homemade, 1 Nguyễn Văn Tráng, District 1
  • Bún đậu mắm tôm Tiến Hải, 409 Nguyễn Tri Phương, District 10

14. Mi Quang of Saigon Food

Mi Quang in Saigon
[ by Mai Tiến Đạt from Tripadago ]

Mi Quang (mì Quảng) or Quang noodles soup originates from Quảng Nam Province, Central Vietnam. It has chicken broth and gets a bright yellow color from turmeric. The rice noodles have similar shapes to fettuccine. 

It’s served with slices of pork, shrimps, chicken, maybe frog, boiled quail eggs, and baby greens. The toppings are crushed peanuts and pieces of charcoal-grilled rice paper.

Check out our curated map for the must-try mi quang in Saigon.

  • An La Nho Quang Noodles Restaurant, 123 Trần Quốc Thảo, District 3
  • Quán Gì Đó, 26/16A Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Bình Thạnh District
  • The Traditional Quang Noodle, 163 Đường Lê Văn Thọ, Gò Vấp District

15. Bun Rieu of Saigon Food

Bun Rieu
[ by @huongthu98 from Unsplash ]

Bun rieu (bún riêu) or rice paddy crab noodle soup comes from Southern Vietnam. The broth comes from straining ground rice paddy crabs with the bright red color of stir-fried tomatoes. It’s served with rice paddy crab cakes, fried tofu, boiled pig blood cubes, tomatoes, and fresh greens.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bun rieu in Saigon.

  • Bún riêu Yến, 1348 Trường Sa, Tân Bình District
  • Quán 7 Bún Riêu, 122 Đường Hậu Giang, District 6
  • Quán Bún Riêu Ốc Giò Chả Thu Nga, 64 Nguyễn Hữu Hào, District 4

16. Banh Canh Cua of Saigon Food

Banh Canh Cua
[ by Ron Dollete from Flickr ]

Banh canh cua (bánh canh cua) or crab noodle soup has a pork bone broth, noodles with a similar shape to spaghetti made out of rice, tapioca, or cassava (a type of yam) flour. It’s served with crab meat along with pork, shrimps, straw mushroom, and possibly Vietnamese cinnamon cured ham.

Check out our curated map for the must-try banh canh cua in Saigon.

  • Bánh canh cua Hoàng Lan, 484 Vĩnh Viễn, District 10
  • Bánh Canh Ghẹ Muối Ớt Xanh, 484 Nguyễn Tri Phương, District 10
  • Bánh canh cua Út Lệ, 210 Tô Hiến Thành, District 10

17. Bo Kho of Saigon Food

Bo Kho
[ by Prince Roy from Flickr ]

Bo kho (bò kho) or Vietnamese beef stew has a dominant red color from achiote (annatto) and defined fragrance from bay leaves. It’s usually eaten with bread or your noodles of choice.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bo kho in Saigon.

  • Bò Kho Võ Văn Tần, 194 Võ Văn Tần, District 3
  • 109/7 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, District 3
  • 343 Tô Hiến Thành, District 10

18. Hu Tieu Nam Vang of Saigon Food

Hu Tieu Nam Vang
[ by Mai Tiến Đạt from Tripadago ]

Hu tieu Nam Vang (hủ tiếu nam vang or hủ tiếu for short) originates from the Cambodian dish ‘kuy teav’ and ‘Nam Vang’ is how Vietnamese used to say Phnom Penh. The word ‘kuy teav’, however, derives from ‘ 粿條’ meaning long-grain rice noodles of Chaozhou dialect in China.

It typically comprises a pork bone broth, thin rice vermicelli topped with thin slices of pork, some shrimps, and quail eggs. You can easily find this noodle soup at street vendors in Saigon.

Check out our curated map for the must-try hu tieu in Saigon.

  • Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang Thành Đạt, 34 Cô Bắc, District 1
  • Hủ Tiếu Bò Viên, 1046 Trường Sa, District 3
  • Hủ Tíu-Mì VẠN LỢI, 69 Phan Đăng Lưu, Phú Nhuận District

19. Bun Mam of Saigon Food

Bun Mam
[ by Alpha from Flickr ]

Bun mam (bún mắm) or fermented paste noodle soup originates from Cambodia with a pungent smell and defined saltiness. Southern Vietnamese took it and used their own kinds of fermented paste combined with sugar and lemongrass. It’s served with pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, roasted pork, and greens.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bun mam in Saigon.

  • Chị Sen – Lẩu Mắm & Bún Mắm, 108/1C Bến Vân Đồn, District 4
  • Bún Mắm Phan Bội Châu, 22 Đường Phan Bội Châu, District 1
  • Bún mắm 47, 91 Lê Quang Sung, District 6

20. Bot Chien of Saigon Food

Bot Chien
[ by Mito Luu from Facebook ]

Bot chien (bột chiên) or fried rice flour cake is another popular street food of Saigon. The crispy cake is fried with eggs, served with julienned green papaya, and a sweet and spicy soy sauce.

Check out our curated map for the must-try bot chien in Saigon.

  • Bột Chiên Đạt Thành, 277 Võ Văn Tần, District 3
  • Bột chiên Vạn Thành, Hẻm 185 Võ Văn Tần, District 3
  • Bột chiên (phía sau trường), R34A Bến Vân Đồn, District 4

21. Bo La Lot and Bo Nuong Mo Chai of Saigon Food

Bo La Lot and Bo Nuong Mo Chai
[ by Street Food Adventure – Tours that bring Vietnam local experience from Facebook ]

Bo la lot (bò lá lốt) is ground beef fingers wrapped in an aromatic edible leaf and grilled over a charcoal fire. It’s served with rice paper, rice noodles, lettuce, and other greens you roll into a spring roll and dip in a fermented anchovy sauce— mắm nêm. A more juicy alternative is beef fingers wrapped in caul fat— bo nuong mo chai (bò nướng mỡ chài).

Check out our curated map for the must-try bo la lot and bo nuong mo chai in Saigon.

  • Quán Ăn Cô Liêng, 321 Võ Văn Tần, District 3
  • Bò lá lốt Hoàng Yến, 121 Cô Giang, District 1
  • Trung Hiếu – Bò lá lót mỡ chài, D1A Cư Xá Phú Lâm B, District 6

22. Snails

[ by bomhehe100 from Pixabay ]

Snails (ốc), both freshwater and saltwater, can be prepared in many ways. From boiled and dipped in fish sauce, to stir-fried with garlic in margarine with or without morning glory. They’re also served with instant ramen and a tamarind sauce.

Check out our curated map for the must-try snails in Saigon.

  • Quán Ốc Quang Anh, 189 Tô Hiến Thành, District 10
  • Quán Ốc CK, 404 Phan Văn Trị, District 5
  • The diners in Vinh Khanh Food Street, 40 Vĩnh Khánh, District 4

23. Balut

[ by Thanh-Tung Nguyen from Flickr ]

Balut (hột vịt lộn) and quail balut (trứng cút lộn) are duck and quail embryos, and you usually buy them at the same store as the snails. They are definitely not for the faint of heart but the taste is quite rewarding. They are usually prepared and served in the same way as the snails mentioned above.

Check out our curated map for the must-try balut and quail balut in Saigon.

  • Hột vịt lộn Kim Thảo quận 2, 104 Xuân Thủy, District 2
  • (street vendor) 418/44 Lê Hồng Phong, District 5
  • Quán Ốc 219 Đồng Giá 20k, 219 Lê Quang Sung, District 6

24. Desserts in Saigon: Che and Boba Tea

Desserts in Saigon-Che and Boba Tea
[ by Quang Nguyen from Flickr ]

Che (chè) or sweet soup is a general name for desserts that comprise a syrupy soup (usually with coconut milk and sugar) and eaten with all kinds of beans, yams, and fruits. Che can be either hot or cold with crushed ice. It originates from China and is a common dessert choice for Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodians.

Boba Tea/ Bubble tea (trà sữa) at street vendors is just as tasty and usually half or one-third of the price of chain stores.

Check out our curated map for the must-try che and boba tea in Saigon.

  • Chè 75, 77 Trần Huy Liệu, Phú Nhuận District
  • Chè Kỳ Đồng, 16C Kỳ Đồng, District 3
  • Chè Tường Phong, 83 An Điềm, District 5
  • Trà Sữa Kubin, 35 Nguyễn Phúc Nguyên, District 3
  • (street vendor) Trà sữa cô Út, 7 Ngô Thời Nhiệm, District 3

25. Honorable Mentions

Food in Saigon Chinatown
[ by Mai Tiến Đạt from Tripadago ]

Dim sum is a Cantonese style breakfast with bite-size types of steamed buns, noodles, and dumplings to name a few. In Saigon, you can easily find street vendors and family Chinese diners selling things like wonton (hoành thánh), jiaozi (sủi cảo), har gow (há cảo), and shumai (xíu mại).

  • Sủi cảo 162, 162 Hà Tôn Quyền, District 11

Pha lau (phá lấu) or Vietnamese beef offal stew originated from China and got popularized by southern Vietnamese. This teenagers’ favorite consists of pig and beef organs braised in coconut water colored with achiote (annatto).

  • Phá lấu Ngọc, Lô D Chung Cư Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 1

Banh tam bi (bánh tằm bì) is a rich noodle salad with soft and silky noodles mixed with julienned pork, pork rind, pickled radish and carrots, then drizzled with coconut milk.

  • Sadec Quán, 154 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 3

Nem nuong (nem nướng) are Vietnamese fresh pork sausage fingers grilled on bamboo skewers and perfect to go with some drinks.

  • Hoang Ty Restaurant, 120 Thành Thái, District 10

For a more international flavor try Turkish doner kebabs (bánh mì Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ) sandwiches.

  • Bánh Mì Tràng Thi, 151 Trương Định, District 3

Check out our curated map for the must-try dim sum, pha lau, banh tam bi, nem nuong, and doner kebabs in Saigon.

Famous People and Their Experiences with Food in Saigon

Famous People and Their Experiences with Food in Saigon
[ by David S. Holloway from CNN ]

Anthony Bourdain savored countless dishes in all corners of Vietnam and spoke of his love for the culture, landscapes, flavors, and smells. His favorite experience in Saigon was the bun bo hue at the Lunch Lady of Ms. Nguyễn Thị Thanh. He also said the banh xeo at 46A Dinh Cong Trang Street was a must-try.

Mark Wiens knew very little about Saigon, so he reached out and asked for suggestions in one of his videos. The responses were overwhelming and he and his wife had an unforgettable trip put together.

Trevor James from The Food Ranger came to Saigon for the street food and certainly made the most out of it

Sonny Side from Best Ever Food Review Show has established a pretty strong Vietnamese fanbase by exploring the nooks and crannies of the country. Saigon was one of the places where he had his $100 challenges.

Mike Xingchen from Strictly Dumping has explored every aspect of the food in Saigon. From all the street food, the best noodles (of course, pho included), to one of his all-time favorite seafood buffets at Hotel Nikko Saigon.

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