Vietnamese Food: 25 Must

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Saigon Vietnam is a đô thị teeming with motorbikes, coffee and soup. At least that’s what we found during our two-week exploration of the Saigon food scene. Read on if you’re wondering what to lớn eat in Saigon.


With a population exceeding 8 million people, rapidly growing Saigon rumbles with activity on every corner like a machine with chainlike lines of never-ending scooters that streak through some of the busiest intersections in the world.

The Saigon food scene is for real. There’s literally great food on every block from Southern Vietnamese style Pho to what seems to lớn be a million variations on bun or rice noodles.

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Regardless of whether you choose khổng lồ use Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll quickly notice that the đô thị loves Banh Mi. You’ll find the Vietnamese submarine sandwiches everywhere – the Banh Mi was invented in Saigon after all. Northern specialties like Banh Cuon are also popular. You will never get bored eating Saigon food!

Saigon vs. Ho Chi Minh CityThough the city’s official name is now Ho Chi Minch City, many in the electric city calls it Saigon. That’s what we Gọi it too.

If that’s not enough, you can always enjoy a seafood celebration in one of the many seafood halls that seem khổng lồ be everywhere. We encountered one seafood joint with a ginormous king crab lurking in a tank for all lớn see.

If you’re still wondering where to eat in Saigon – the answer is everywhere.

Saigon Food Experiences Not khổng lồ Miss

Saigon is a great thành phố to lớn sample a wide selection of the best food in Vietphái mạnh. The city serves up local specialties lượt thích Pho on practically every street, but it’s also easy khổng lồ find a wide selection of traditional Vietnamese food from all over the country.

But where should a tourist start? We won’t pretover lớn be Saigon cuisine experts after two weeks of eating our way through the city; however, we happily giới thiệu our favorite ways of eating (and drinking coffee) in this Vietnamese mega-đô thị here.

1. Take a Saigon Food Tour

To us, the best part of the Saigon Street Eats food tour was the picnic lunch at a temple. Tour guide Vu assembled a variety of foods from the market for us lớn eat al fresteo.

We have an ongoing love-hate relationship with food tours. We love the idea of taking food tours khổng lồ learn about the culinary aspects of a thành phố while bonding with local experts & like-minded travelers. At the same time, we hate dumbed-down tours that waste our time & bore our taste buds.

We gambled with Saigon Street Eats when we accepted their invitation for their Pho Trail morning food tour. Owned and managed by a food-loving Australian-Vietnamese couple, this tour company falls into lớn the good category of food tours. Co-owner Vu guided us around a non-touristy Saigon neighborhood for pho, market food, sugar cane juice & a temple picnic.

During the tour, Vu shared food & food tips as we wandered with purpose, plus some valuable tips on how lớn cross the city’s busy streets. We won’t tell you exactly where we went as that would just ruin the fun when you take this Ho Chi Minh City food tour yourself.

→ Cliông xã here lớn learn more about taking a Saigon street food tour with Saigon Street Eats.

2. Eat Saigon Street Food

This street vendor cooks up a mean Bot Chien. We liked it so much that we came back for seconds.

Some cities like Paris and Tokyo demvà an exploration of their fine dining scenes. Saigon is not one of them.

Sure, Saigon is a big thành phố with its fair chia sẻ fancy restaurants, but the best way to eat in Saigon is by taking it lớn the street. Each bloông xã in the thành phố has multiple casual restaurants plus a myriad of vendors serving homespun food right on the sidewalk. Popular Vietnamese street food includes Banh Mi sandwiches & Bot Chien (pictured above).

We found this bowl of Banh Canh on the sidewalk near Maison Marou. Loaded with seafood, wide noodles and mushrooms, it was well worth its cost of around $2 US.

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There are tons of internet lists with recommended street food vendors, but we found our favorite Saigon street food vendors by following our eyes & noses.

Our preferred technique is khổng lồ see where and what the local crowds are eating và then plop down on a little plastic chair lớn join them. The risk is low since prices are so reasonable, but the taste rewards are boundless.

3. Slurp Soup

Saigon is a soup city! This bowl includes meat, noodles và a ton of fresh herbs.

In many ways, Saigon serves as a “best of” for Vietnamese cuisine. If you look hard enough và retìm kiếm a Ho Chi Minc food blog or two, you can find all of the country’s specialties done with a Saigon twist.

Soup is no exception lớn this rule. Hanoi may be the original home page for Pho, but Saigon does its own sweeter version. How about Bun Bo Hue? Yep, you can easily find this Central Vietnam giới favorite in Saigon too.

As an extra bonus, most Saigon soup shops provide copious amounts of fresh herbs lượt thích Tnhì Basil, Mint, Culantro (a heartier stemmed relative khổng lồ cilantro) và Rice Paddy Herb. In Saigon, you can also add pickled garlic and a slew of condiments khổng lồ the big bowls of soup.

Watch our Soup Night video.

4. Graze through a Saigon Market

Vietphái nam is a country with more than its fair tóm tắt of natural resources, và there’s no better place khổng lồ check out the bounty of HCMC food options than at a local market. Ben Tkhô hanh Market is the city’s most famous market, but we found this huge central market khổng lồ be touristic and expensive. Instead, we preferred the smaller neighborhood markets which can be found all over the đô thị.

Saigon markets have it all from produce, meat, prepared foods & seafood. Everything is fresh and is intended lớn be eaten that day.

Pro TipAs fun as it is to siêu thị at the city’s many markets, kiểm tra out high-end Japanese department store Takashimaya. We shared a big platter of sushi and a tasty custard pastry in Takashimaya’s basement food court for very reasonable prices.

5. Eat Breakfast

The breakfast at Banh Mi Op La may be the best food in Saigon.
As much as we love traditional Vietnamese coffee, sometimes we crave sầu a classic coffee beverage lượt thích this one at L’Usine.

As the biggest thành phố in the world’s second largest coffee bean producing country, Saigon has a lot of coffee shops. And by a lot, we mean thousands if not more.

Locals drink coffee at all times of the day, usually iced & with a lot of condensed milk. Some coffee shops, like Aha Cafe in the bottom of our apartment building, are simple spaces serving coffee & smoothies in a community setting. Liberally sprinkled throughout the city, small coffee shops lượt thích Aha fuel the city with endless cups of svào, sweet coffee.

The Worksiêu thị reminds us of our favorite coffee shops around the world with its cool workspace vibe & third wave drinks.

Saigon’s growing coffee shop trover, however, is more upscale with coffee shops lượt thích L’Usine và The Workcửa hàng, fitting with the city’s growing artisan food movement. L’Usine’s space includes a kiến thiết shop & restaurant, adding up lớn an elegant coffee experience. Located on the third floor of an old industrial building, The Worksiêu thị provides a more streamlined space with sophisticated coffee drinks.

When we closed our eyes at these two modern coffee shops, we could have been anywhere in the world. We opened them and were happy khổng lồ be sipping coffee in a Saigon cà phê.

Aha Cafe has multiple locations. We drank at the one located at 92 Phạm Ngọc Thach, Phượng 6, Hồ Chí Minch, Vietphái nam.L’Usine is located at 70A-70B-68 Lê Lợi, Bến Thành, quân 1, Ho Chi Minc City, Vietnam.

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The Workshop is located at 3 / F pq 1, 27 Ngô Đức kẻ, Bến Nghe, Ho Chi Minc City, Vietnam.

Things To Do in Saigon

How much Pho can you can slurp in a day? Here are some ideas of what to do when you’re not eating in Saigon: