Ho Chi Minh City is blessed with fantastic restaurants serving a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine. Discover the best food to eat now!
With people moving to Saigon from all over the country for work and school, the city is a literal “melting pot” of delicious dishes from all three regions of Vietnam as well as authentic international fare, usually at much cheaper prices than in their originating countries.
Steamed rice rolls are made of a thin, crepe-like roll of rice flour, stuffed with a filling of ground pork, mushrooms and onions. Blanched bean sprouts, crispy fried shallots and Vietnamese pork ham flavored with cinnamon are served on the side. Douse it all in a sweet fish sauce for a wonderful breakfast or light snack.
It’s sold all over the city, but we recommend: Bánh cuốn Hải Nam, Cao Thắng Street, District 3
Cheap and delicious, mixed rice paper (Bánh tráng trộn) is ever-popular with students watching their dollars (or dong). It’s a hodge podge of dry, crackly rice paper, chili powder, dried shrimp, fried onions, and dried beef, along with soya sauce and chili sauce with a sprinkle of peanuts. All the ingredients are usually thrown together in a plastic bag or box for easy take-away.
Our recommendation: Bánh tráng trộn chú Viên, Nguyễn Thượng Hiền Street, District 3
What culture doesn’t love fried dough? The Vietnamese make a savory version with cubes of dough fried till crispy. A beaten egg is then poured over top the mixture to keep it all together. Add a sprinkling of green onions, and the whole thing is served atop shredded green papaya and doused with a chili soy sauce. Piping hot, it’s delicious any time of day!
Our recommendation: Bàn Cờ Market, District 3
The Vietnamese love their sea snails and there are a million-and-one ways to cook them up. Whole streets specializing in shop after shop of seafood have popped up all over the city. Snails aren’t just delicious, but because they’re so small and fussy (you’ll usually be presented with a pin to help extract the snails from their shell), they’re great to be shared. Try a dish cooked to order: steamed, fried, sautéed, wok-fried with chili and salt, or grilled! And don’t forget the flavorings ranging from lemongrass and coconut milk to chili sauce and scallion oil!
Our recommendation: Ốc A Sòi, Nguyễn Thượng Hiền Street, District 3
The city’s most iconic market also houses a bustling food court where shoppers can sit down for a quick bite. There are a ton of choices, from fresh summer rolls and fried spring rolls to soups and rice dishes. Clear signage and English menus mean no bargaining is required. Just point to what you want and enjoy a snack or a full meal!