Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, as many Vietnamese people still refer to it, is a heaven for food lovers. From luxury restaurants, charming cafeteria to lovely food stalls, you will be surprised at the excellent mix of flavors that come from fresh and simple ingredients.
You will see people eating and preparing food anywhere and anytime. On the streets, down alleyways, and in every other “hole in the wall”, food is everywhere and there are hundreds of fine dining options for you.
Wandering around the crowded streets of the bustling second largest city of Vietnam, you’ll smell all sorts of wondrous things.
Pho in Saigon is quite different from that of Hanoi as it is sweeter. Pho is served with flat rice noodles in a beef broth that usually takes several hours to prepare. The broth is usually topped with green and white onions, coriander leaves and bean sprouts. Accompanied with the soup is an array of garnishes that consists of bean sprouts, basil, scallions, lime, chili sauce and sliced chilies.Place to eat:
- Pho Anh, 8-10A Ky Dong, W.9, District 3
- Pho 2000, 1-3 Phan Chu Trinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Take a walk anywhere in Saigon and you will eventually run into someone selling banh mi. Tasty, filling and most importantly quick to prepare, these sandwiches are perfect for fast paced Saigon life.
Literally translated as “broken rice”, this hearty dish is a must-try in Saigon. It is usually served with many different meat options such as barbecued pork chop, shredded pork skin, steamed pork and egg patty or fried egg. Diced green onion in oil is sprinkled on the meat and a side of pickled vegetables and sliced cucumber finish the plate. And don’t forget to serve it with a bowl of the ubiquitous dipping sauce.Place to eat:
- 113 Nguyen Phi Khanh, District 1
- Cali Restaurant, 222 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
- 77 Restaurant, 77 Bui Vien, District 1
Bun thit nuong
Brightly coloured and fresh in flavour, this noodle dish is a great alternative to the heavier pho or com dishes served in Saigon. Every ingredients are in one bowl. Fresh chopped leaf lettuce, sliced cucumber, bean sprouts, pickled daikon and carrot, basil, chopped peanuts, and mint are served with vermicelli rice noodle and topped with grilled pork shoulder.The sauce is poured into the bowl. Mix it all up and what you have is a taste sensation in your mouth.Place to eat:
- Co Ba Restaurant, 287/68 Nguyen Dinh Chieu St., District 3
- Ba Tam Restaurant, 299 Vo Van Tan, District 3
- Chi Thong Restaurant, 195 Co Giang, District 1
Though pho is the starlet of Vietnamese cuisine, its humble Saigonese cousin hu tieu is a soup that shouldn’t be overlooked.Place to eat:
- Hu tieu Tylum, 93 Huynh Man Dat St.
- Hu Tieu Lien Hua, 312 An Duong Vuong St.
- Hu Tieu Hong Phat, 389 Vo Van Tan St.
A savory coconut fritter that is topped with either ground pork or a prawn and a pile of fresh herbs ripped from the stalk. Washing it all down with freshly pressed sugar cane juice, Nuoc Mia with a hint of kumquat.Place to eat:
- Co Ba Vung Tau, 59B Cao Thang, District 3
European and other Asian cuisines
Saigon is truly a food paradise. A plenty of restaurants offer a variety of exotic European and Asian food, ranging from French, Italian to Japaness, Thailand, Indian.Place to eat:
- Sushi Ko, 122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, District 4
- Sushi Bar, 2 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
- Tandoor, 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
- Spice Restaurant, 27 Le Quy Don, District 3
- Monsoon Restaurant, 1 Cao Ba Nha, District 1
- Le Jardin, 31 Thai Van Lung, District 1
- La Fourchette, 9 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1
- The Refinery, 74 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
- Uniquely Middle Eastern, 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi
The city entertainment industry is growing fast, though it’s still not a city for round-the-clock entertainment – most places close soon after midnight. But what’s available is quality fun. You’ll find plenty of places where you can get the party started, especially in the city center.Place to eat:
- Chill Skybar, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai
- Apocalypse Now, 2C Thi Sach, District 1
- Lush, 2 Ly Tu Trong, District 1
- Crazy Buffalo, 212 De Tham, District 1
- Go2, 187 De Tham, District 1
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