10 MUST

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After two winters of stuffing my face around this đô thị I love sầu, I decided khổng lồ put together a guide khổng lồ Saigon street food, gathering some of the places I keep coming back to lớn in one place. These are not the absolute best of everything, but rather a cross-section of delicious, cheap & authentic foods that are also conveniently located. I tended khổng lồ head to lớn outer districts more often, on the hunt for that bun mam a frikết thúc told me about, or what was billed as “the best Peking duông xã in town” by my enthused landlady.

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While fun side trips lớn outer districts are great, I wanted to lớn put together a post that would be more helpful for short-term trips. The restaurants & street stalls below are fairly central to lớn where most travellers stay, meaning people can frequent them even if in town only briefly.


Table of Contents


Browse the Saigon Street Food Guide By Section:Street Food & Local Stalls in Ho Chi Minch City (Saigon) Basic Information for Navigating Ho Chi Minh City / SaigonThe Best Books và Blogs About Vietnam & its Food

The Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon Street Food Guide: Self-Guided Street Food Tour

Last Updated: May 2, 2021

One specific soup, a sweet-and-sour canh chua (photo lớn in the “street food” section below), was what initially led me to the city. I was lured in by the complicated tastes & unfamiliar sting of the rice paddy herb on my tongue. It might have sầu been one soup that brought me to Saigon, but it was the rest of the food that kept me there, and keeps me coming back. It is not just taste of food that makes Saigon so enthralling, but the act of eating as well, and all of the craziness that eating comprises. The swirling noise, the families all sitting & enjoying a meal on the street, smiling at you fumbling with your condiments. The beauty of food being not just a necessity but also a sight in và of itself: a window into lớn culture, and a source of endless wonder.

Countless moments of me smiling as an old lady came over shaking her head at my terrible rice paper folding skills, correcting my technique as we sat at the edge of traffic. Or the bo la lot vendor who discovered my love of starfruit and made sure khổng lồ have sầu extra on hand when I returned. The beloved grandpa at the pho ga restaurant below, who ran over lớn my bowl repeatedly to lớn ensure I added pickled garlic, lest I forget. The landladies that adopted me inkhổng lồ their homes, feeding me, giving me hugs, teaching me how lớn cook.

There are hundreds of moments lượt thích these baked into the aggregate of my memories in Vietnam giới. Most of them derive from food. As Luke Nguyen says in The Songs of Sapa: Stories và Recipes from Vietnam giới,

For Vietnamese people, food is our life; we are forever eating, cooking & talking about food. Food is communication – food is culture.

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Staging station for my favourite pho ga in town.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m siông xã, all I want is chicken noodle soup. Sadly this option is often off the table (literally) in North America; as a celiac, I can’t eat the noodles. But Vietnam is a perfect place for sick celiacs, because their chicken soup is made with thick rice noodles. This pho ga (ga is chicken) place also serves pho bo (bo meaning beef), but I wouldn’t go there for the beef soup. Instead opt for their flavourful, rich chicken broth and thinly sliced chicken breast. For those wanting a different fix, opt for mien ga (mien are mung bean noodles), both of which come with their signature spicy sauce, pickled garlic, and basket ‘o herbs. chú ý that this is a place xe taxi drivers frequent at all hours of the night — it’s open 24 hours a day. It was a frequent visit during bouts of the flu, or even when full but walking by; one sniff of their chicken broth và you vày an about turn and sit down for a bowl.

Where: Pho So 1 Ha Noi25 Nguyen Thi Đường Minh Khai Street, District 1mở cửa 24 hours. 

Banh Mi

I can’t eat it, since it’s wheat, so I apologize for not being able to lớn opine about the best one. However! Voracious friends recommend the two following places:

Where:

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa 26 Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành, District 1

and

Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai (aka Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng, Hẻm 39)

Also see this lovely 2020 piece from Austin Bush, about baking banh mày in Saigon.

A Slightly Fancier Meal

Bloom Saigon (formerly May Restaurant) is tucked at the over of a tiny alleyway near the canal’s edge, not far from my recommended Pho place on Hoang Sa. It’s mix in a lovely old colonial-style house, and run efficiently with delicious food. Would recommover trying the beef wrapped in mustard leaves, the tofu with lemongrass, và the sour soup, among mỏi other dishes. It’s a nice change from the more chaotic restaurants near the heart of District 1, và a lovely choice place for a date or anniversary.

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For vegetarians wanting a bit of a nicer restaurant, try Hum Restaurant, located near the War Remnants Museum in District 3.