10 must-try dishes in Ho Chi Minh city and where to try

1. Pho: This consists of a bow of pork bone soup, rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef, features predominately in the local meal. It is cheap, tasty, popular and available at all hours in Ho Chi Minh city. Pho has shown its position not only in Vietnamese cuisine but also world cuisine. Pho can be seen everywhere from street stalls to high-end restaurants. Some are served with chicken or with beef. Fresh herbs, soft noodles are important factors in making an outstanding Pho.

Where to try in Saigon:
– Phở Dậu: 288, Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, ward 08, District 03
– Phở Hòa: 260 C, Pasteur, ward 08, District 03
– Phở Lệ: 413-415 Nguyễn Trãi, ward 07, District 05

Pho, where to try in Saigon?

2. Banh mi – Vietnamese baguette Sandwich: Commonly well-known along with Pho, Vietnamese baguette sandwiches, called Banh Mi, have attracted a growing fan base around the world. The uniqueness of Banh Mi is not only the light and crispy baguette, but also the variation of Vietnamese flavors fillings bring out the most amazing flavor. In the North, chefs fill the basic elements of fat, margarine, and pate but in the South (including Ho Chi Minh city), Banh Mi may contain a more colorful combination of cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh coriander and chili sauce.
Where to try:
– 22 Lê Thị Riêng, quận 1, HCM city
– Hòa Mã bakery, Cao Thắng str., District 03, HCM city
– Nguyên Sinh bakery, Trần Đình Xu str, District 01, HCM city
– Barbecue sandwich cart, 37 alley, Nguyễn Trãi str, District 01, HCM city

3. Banh Xeo – Sizzling cake: Banh Xeo is giant savory pancakes that literally translate to the sizzling cake because of the noise they make when they are being cooked. A good sizzling cake is a crispy crepe bulging with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, plus the garnish of fresh herbs that are characteristic of most authentic Vietnamese dishes. To enjoy one like a local, cutting it into slices, roll it up in rice paper or lettuce leaves and dunk it in whatever special sauce that the chef has mixed up for you.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Banh Xeo Mười Xiềm: 190 Nam Kì Khởi Nghĩa str, District 03 – 204 Nguyễn Trãi str, District 01
– Banh Xeo Ăn Là Ghiền: 74 Sương Nguyệt Ánh str, District 01
– Banh Xeo Miền Trung: 179C2 Đồng Đen str, Tân Bình District

Banh Xeo – Sizzling cake, where to try in Saigon?

4. Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Roll) and Cha Gio (Fried Spring Rolls): Salad roll ranks among Vietnam’s most famous foods and is very agreeable to the taste. Each translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced pork and shrimp. In some places, they’re served with a bowl of lettuce and/or mint. A southern variation has barbecued strips of pork wrapped up with green banana and star fruit, and then dunked in a rich peanut sauce – every bit as tasty as it sounds.
Cha Gio – Fried Spring Rolls: Vietnam’s bite-sized crunchy spring rolls might not enjoy the same popularity as fresh spring rolls, but they deserve a special mention.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Cô Tuyết: 185/30 3 Tháng 2 str, Ward 11, District 10
– “Wrap and roll”, 62 Hai Ba Trung Street, in District 1
– Propaganda Bistro Restaurant: 21 Han Thuyen, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
– Bun Cha & Spring rolls 145 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

5. Bun Rieu (Crab and tomato vermicelli soup): This fragrant vermicelli soup will blow your mind with a large combination of different ingredients, starting from the tomato soup base and crab paste (the main of the dish). Crab meat and complementary veggies add more values to the bowl, slurp on and enjoy!
Where to try in Saigon:
– Bun Rieu on Phan Bội Châu str, East gate Bến Thành market, Lê Lợi str, Bến Thành ward, District 1
– Bun Rieu, 287 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu str, District 03
– Thanh Hải, 14/12 Kỳ Đồng str, Ward 09, District 03

Bun Rieu, where to try in Saigon?

6. Ca Kho To (Braised fish in a clay pot): Another friendly dish for all the Vietnamese families, fish that is carefully caramelized in a clay pot with fish sauce. The clay pot will bring out the juiciness of the fish that a normal metal pot can’t be able to conquer, and clay pot is mainly used to braised dishes for other kinds of meats like pork and shrimps. Ca Kho To tastes both salty and sweet, bringing warmth and comfort to everyone.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Cơm Niêu Sài Gòn – 27 Tú Xương str, District 03
– Ngon restaurant – 138 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa str, Bến Nghé ward, District 01

7. Cơm tấm sườn nướng (Saigon-style broken rice)
Saigon-style broken rice is the famous and most beloved Vietnamese based dishes. It often comes with ribs, pork ham, cucumber slices, tomato slices… The ribs were marinated in honey then grilled, a piece made of pork mixed with noodles and mushrooms then steamed it. That makes the special flavor of Saigon-style broken rice.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Ba Ghiền: 84 Đặng Văn Ngữ str, ward 10, Phú Nhuận district
– Kiều Giang: 63 Song Hành, An Phú ward, District 02
– Thuận Kiều: 54 Thuận Kiều str, 04 ward, district 11

8. Bánh tráng trộn (Banh Trang Tron)
Although the dish is very common in many cities, but only in Saigon ‘Banh Trang tron’ is the most delicious and most attractive. The toughness of rice paper, the sour of mango, shredded beef jerky, the taste of Vietnamese mint and quail eggs… make many people consider it is the best snack in Saigon.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Chú Viên: 38 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền str, ward 05, District 03
– Cô Long: 24 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền str, ward 5, District 03
– “Chảnh”: Turtle (Con Rùa) lake, Phạm Ngọc Thạch str, ward 06, District 03

Banh Trang Tron, where to try in Saigon?

9. Hủ tiếu Nam Vang (Hu Tieu Nam Vang)
Originated from Cambodia, Nam Vang noodles soup is made by the Chinese. The raw materials are dry noodles, minced pork, pig’s offals, shrimp and quail eggs. The soup is made from pork bone stew. Boiled noodle then adding bean sprout, chives, minced pork and pig’s offals. Depending on each person, you can replace the minced pork by shrimp, crab, squid… but minced meat is necessary.
Where to try in Saigon?
– Hu Tieu Nam Vang Thành Đạt: 25 Cô Bắc str, Cầu Ông Lãnh ward, District 01
– Hu Tieu Thanh Xuân: 62 Tôn Thất Thiệp str, Bến Nghé Ward, District 01
– Hu Tieu Nam Vang Nhân Quán: 27 Âu Cơ str, Ward 14, District 11

10) Xoi (sticky rice): Unlike the usual rice we have for lunch/dinner, sticky rice literally means…rice that stick altogether. This is a go-to breakfast in Saigon for its convenience where students and officers usually dig in. Steamy sticky rice is served with some hard boiled eggs, sausage and dried shredded chicken floss. Sprinkling some soy sauce on top and it is good for you to take away.

Xoi – sticky rice, where to try in Saigon?

Where to try in Saigon:
– Xôi Bà Chiểu: 318/1 Bùi Hữu Nghĩa str, ward 01, Bình Thạnh district
– Xôi “nhà xác”: 409 Trần Phú str, ward 07, district 05
– Xôi Tám Cẩu: Điện Biên Phủ & Cao Thắng crossroad, district 3
– Xôi Bình Tiên: 88 Minh Phụng str, ward 05, district 6


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