Photo: Burning incense at a Cholon pagoda.

Eat and meet


Eating on the cheap in Saigon

Saigon is a big city with plenty of high-dollar, splurge restaurants ready to take your hard-earned vacation money. Luckily for the thriftier of travellers, however, it’s still easy to eat on the cheap in HCMC. Here’s how to eat for less than 100,000 VND (US$5) a... Read our full review of Eating on the cheap in Saigon.

Hidden charges at Saigon restaurants

Food in Saigon is usually a bargain; even most of the city’s “expensive” restaurants are cheap when compared to similar quality in the West. But a strange thing happens to many who visit this fair city: they can develop a sense of cheap food entitlement and start to argue over small surcharges on the bill. Having recently witnessed another tourist meltdown over the equivalent of less than a... Read our full review of Hidden charges at Saigon restaurants.

Top of page

Street food dishes

A wrap on some of the main dishes you might encounter on the delicious streets of Ho Chi Minh City. See the street food section for specific recommendations of where to eat.

Bo la lop

Vietnamese go gaga over two things: grilled meats and wrapping said meats. Bo la lop combines these two things in a harmonious flavourful... Read our full review of Bo la lop.

Bo bia

Bo bia is one of those street snacks that tends to be overlooked by the average travelling street muncher. Maybe it’s due to its similarity in appearance to goi cuon, the famous Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. However, once you’ve had a few –- and you can have a few at one go – you’ll see why bo bia is a different roll... Read our full review of Bo bia.

Bun mam

Bun mam is not for the faint-hearted palate. Rich and flavoured with a base of fermented fish or shrimp, it’s one of those dishes that takes a bit of time to appreciate. But once you do, you’ll be coming back for... Read our full review of Bun mam.

Bo kho

The vestiges of the French can be seen in Vietnam through its diacritic-laden written language, regal colonial buildings and cooking. While most point to pho or banh mi as banner-bearers of francophile gastronomic influences in Vietnamese cuisine, the humble bowl of bo kho can’t be... Read our full review of Bo kho.

Bun thit nuong

At first glance, a bowl of bun thit nuong can look a bit manic. A sprinkling of garnishes along with grilled meat are placed on top of a bed of noodles with some greens poking through underneath. However, how each of these elements complement each other is what makes this one of the most popular dishes in Southern Vietnam. It’s dead simple to prepare, is one of the prettiest to look at and... Read our full review of Bun thit nuong.

Bun rieu

Bun rieu is one of the lesser-known noodle soups in Vietnamese cuisine, perhaps due to its rather unappealing hodge-podge, thrown-together appearance. However, each part of the soup complements the whole and definitely makes it one of the must tries on Saigon’s... Read our full review of Bun rieu.

Mi xao gion
Tran Hung Dao, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City

Mi xao gion, originally brought to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants who mostly settled in District 5, or Cholon, at first glance seems like a simple dish — but like many items in Vietnamese cuisine, the preparation and delivery are... Read our full review of Mi xao gion.

Make friends with a drink vendor

Street food in Saigon: it basically makes life here worth living. If you walk down any street in HCMC you will probably find some food, but the problem is that you can’t be guaranteed much of a selection. For this reason I say that the best place to get street food in Saigon is by going to a local... Read our full review of Make friends with a drink vendor.

Saigon street food safety

Saigon isn’t much of a city for famous world-class landmarks — though certainly there are a few, it’s really the food on the street that’s something special. But despite the street food being great some people, rightfully, are concerned about the safety of food sold on the street in a country where you can’t drink the tap water. So, to get to the bottom of Street Food Safety 101, I... Read our full review of Saigon street food safety.

Saigon's best street soups

Saigon has no shortage of street food but the city’s selections of soups are where you will find some particularly impressive dishes. Here are a few soups that you should give a try while trawling the streets of the... Read our full review of Saigon's best street soups.

Pho: A very brief primer
323 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3836 8515

No dish is more identifiable in Vietnamese cuisine than the humble bowl of pho. Simple in delivery yet nuanced in preparation, no two bowls taste alike — unless you eat at Pho 24, considered by many as the McDonalds of Vietnam. Each region has their own take on the dish, while most individual pho restaurants have recipes that span generations. Whether it’s in the choice of noodle, broth or... Read our full review of Pho: A very brief primer.

Bun bo hue
19 Lo C, Chung Cu Tran Quoc Thao, District 3
T: (09) 3628 2404

When people visit Vietnam all they seem to talk about is pho: pho this, pho that, pho T-shirts. Little do they know that there are other, dare I say better, soups in Vietnam. One of the soups vying for your VND is bun bo hue, a culinary dish that originated in Hue… obviously. A perfect example of a food that is much better on the street than in the chain restaurants around town, bun bo hue is... Read our full review of Bun bo hue.

Banh cuon la
96 Ham Nghi, D.1
T: (08) 913 8033

Eaten in Vietnam for breakfast, lunch and dinner, banh cuon (pronounced: bon-koo-on) looks like a soft spring roll, filled with a questionable substance, served with chunks of unknown meat and bread. But don’t worry, it tastes delicious and the ingredients are common... Read our full review of Banh cuon la.

Che dau hu

Saigon street food isn’t all about main meals — yummy drinks and sweets are also on offer. Among the sugary offerings is che dau hu, a confection that can be tricky to find, but is worth the effort. Keep your eyes peeled: the roaming vendors are often surrounded by groups of students or children seeking a sugar... Read our full review of Che dau hu.

Banh mi

A staple of the Saigon street food world is banh mi (pronounced bun-mee), or Vietnamese baguette sandwiches. These tasty sandwiches are extremely popular and can be found all over the city, and make a perfect meal on the go if you’re walking around the city. Knowing what to order from a cart, however, can be tricky for a first... Read our full review of Banh mi.

Banh bao

Banh bao look more like big Chinese dumplings than something Vietnamese. Not to be confused with the also popular banh mi, banh bao does actually have Chinese roots, being introduced to the country by Cantonese immigrants. But the buns have become a dietary mainstay in Saigon, where they can be found sold by street vendors, convenience stores, and even Buddhist... Read our full review of Banh bao.

Banh trang nuong

Something that I particularly love about Saigon is the fact it is a very walkable city. As you meander through town on your tour of the various sites you may work up an appetite, but you don’t always want to stop for a proper meal. If you’re looking for quick food on the go, stop and grab one of Saigon’s favourite snacks, banh trang nuong, a rice paper treat so delicious and cheap you... Read our full review of Banh trang nuong.

Canh bun

Canh bun starts with a large rice noodle, usually orange in colour. The noodle is similar to what you find in bun bo hue in texture and taste but much thicker. Next, minced crab — which looks a bit like ground pork or beef — is added with the broth, and a generous helping of boiled morning glory is added to the bowl. From here the canh bun can get a variety of additional toppings including... Read our full review of Canh bun.

Hot vit lon

It has taken a year for me to get brave enough to try the Vietnamese specialty of hot vit lon (hot veet lone), also known as balut or boiled duck embryo. The thought of eating a partially developed egg had never seemed particularly appealing to me but, after some prodding from friends, I finally took the plunge and tried this roadside... Read our full review of Hot vit lon.

Banh kep

Banh kep is basically a waffle made from a rice-based batter. They are usually cooked thin, sometimes more like a cookie than a waffle, which kind of reminds me of the Norwegian Christmas treat... Read our full review of Banh kep.

Banh khot

A dish that you won’t find many places outside of Saigon, the southern specialty known as banh khot is a small hearty pancake that originated in the nearby beach town of Vung Tau but is now a special part of Saigonese... Read our full review of Banh khot.

Banh xeo

Banh xeo is common in restaurants as an appetiser, but if you’re on the streets it makes for a great sit-down... Read our full review of Banh xeo.

Com tam di nam
255 Khanh Hoi, District 4
T: (08) 3826 4381

Com tam is a popular food for anytime of the day in Ho Chi Minh City. It looks like a plain dish of rice, but looks can be a little... Read our full review of Com tam di nam.

Hu tieu

One thing that surprises me about street food in HCMC is the variety of soups. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t live without my daily ration of bun bo hue or pho, it’s just that it is always so hot and humid here that soup isn’t traditionally the first food that would come to mind if I was starting from scratch. Even though it’s hot, there is no shortage of street soups; the version I... Read our full review of Hu tieu.



When I’m feeling extra hungry and I want to make sure that I’m going to be full, I go for Saigon’s most filling street food:... Read our full review of Xoi.

Mi xao

To initiate yourself into HCMC’s street food culture try a simple dish like mi xao (pronounced mee... Read our full review of Mi xao.


A Saigon soup staple, chao -- congee in the Western world -- is basically a type of rice porridge; rice is cooked in a large pot of water until it softens into a creamy... Read our full review of Chao.

Saigon tra

If you sit down at a restaurant in Saigon and ask for water nine times out of ten they’re going to give you a 10,000–30,000 VND bottle instead of a free glass. So if you want to eat out on a tight budget drink what the locals drink: tra (pronounced... Read our full review of Saigon tra.

Goi cuon

The appetiser or snack goi cuon is one of Vietnam’s must-try street... Read our full review of Goi cuon.

Mi quang

Walking the streets of downtown Saigon, you may notice the street food can seem to get a little repetitive. Street carts selling soup are a dime a dozen, but they mostly sell either pho, bun bo hue or hu tieu. If you’re interested in sampling something a bit more unique, you’ll have to leave the comforts of District 1 and head to the outer districts of the city. And that’s where you’ll... Read our full review of Mi quang.

Banh canh

One favourite soup of the south, and a must try on a trip through Saigon, is banh canh — a soup that’s probably not as recognisable to the typical travellers as perhaps pho or bun bo... Read our full review of Banh canh.

Top of page

Street food

Pho Hoa
260C Pasteur, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
T: 08 3829 7943

Recently an influx of tourists, reading recommendations from various sources, has begun to descend on the restaurant. With the tourists come some of the less desirable elements of the city, and now it's commonplace to have shoe shine boys try to follow you inside. The extra business has yet to affect overall quality as the pho here is still top notch. They pay extra attention to the quality... Read our full review of Pho Hoa.

Chicken Vendor Truong Dinh
Corner Truong Dinh and Vo Van Tan, District 3

Most HCMC neighbourhoods have a lunch place — usually run by a woman donning a traditional non la hat — dishing out one or two dishes that everyone seeks her out for. A lunch vendor in District 3 specialises in a dish that we can only describe as crack fried chicken; see her out for an array of yummy lunch time... Read our full review of Chicken Vendor Truong Dinh .

Sui Cao Viet Huong
964 Tran Hung Dao, District 5
T: (09) 3378 5258

While Vietnamese food in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is diverse, one kind of preparation is woefully underrepresented – the humble dumpling. For that, you have to head to District 5 or Chinatown for some delicious sui... Read our full review of Sui Cao Viet Huong.

Goi du du bo kho in District 1
259A Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

While one can find an abundance of noodle dishes, soups and grilled items on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, salads seem underrepresented and only found in restaurants. Luckily, one vendor in District 1 bucks that trend and makes one of the best goi du du bo kho you can find in... Read our full review of Goi du du bo kho in District 1.

94 Quan Thuy
84 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1

They are famous for their crab, which they offer in a variety of styles. Their most popular dishes include cha goi cua, a fried crab spring roll, and mien xao cua, glass noodles sauteed with crabmeat. They also serve just plain soft shell crab coated in your choice of sauce. The best part is obviously the low budget price, which makes crab affordable teven to penny-pinching backpackers.... Read our full review of 94 Quan Thuy .

Hong Hanh
17A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1

This is where you can try banh cuon, a thin, steamed pancake rolled around a filling usually consisting of a mixture of diced pork and mushrooms. Like most street stalls, they are light on decoration and you are seated on a plastic stool in an open-air dining area, but what it lacks visually is washed away by the quality of the banh cuon. They also make a variety of fresh fruit juices and... Read our full review of Hong Hanh.

Com Dong Nhan
11 Ton That Thiep, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 4312 2516

So if the surrounding high prices have you feeling the pinch, or you just want to try some local street food, this is your place. Here they serve com, rice with your choice of a variety of toppings. Their com tam, rice served with a juicy grilled pork chop, is particularly good and they also offer fried egg, tofu, and mixed vegetables as vegetarian options. They stay open late, making... Read our full review of Com Dong Nhan.

Pho Anh
8-10A Ky Dong, W.9, District 3
T: (08) 3843 7480

A trip to Saigon, or Vietnam for that matter, isn’t complete until you sit down for a bowl of the famous pho. Although plenty of restaurants in Saigon serve pho, you may find the best bowl right on the side of the... Read our full review of Pho Anh.

Banh Xeo 46A
46A Dinh Cong Trang, District 1
T: (08) 3824 1110

Some of the best restaurants in Vietnam are special because they focus on just a single dish. While these spots tend to not occupy the most prestigious locations in town, searching them out is worth your time if you really love to eat well. One case in point: Banh Xeo... Read our full review of Banh Xeo 46A.

Nam Son Beefsteak
157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3930 3917

Nam Son Beefsteak, which has two locations in downtown Saigon within short walking distance of the Reunification Palace, is a great no-frills Vietnamese beefsteak restaurant. If you can get past the barebones setting, and the limited menu, you’ll find some of the best steaks in... Read our full review of Nam Son Beefsteak.

Saigon street smoothies

Cold drinks seem to always taste better in hot places, and Saigon is no exception. From iced beer to coffee, the streets here offer a huge variety of cold drinks to choose... Read our full review of Saigon street smoothies.

Enjoying street food at Saigon's markets

I’ve mentioned before that I think the greatest thing about my city is the food and the best food is usually on the street. Obviously, I talk a lot about street food but honestly I get most of my “street food” from markets. The problem is that besides Ben Thanh Market, and maybe Binh Tay, most people don’t know many good markets to hit in order to get their food fix. Here are a few of my... Read our full review of Enjoying street food at Saigon's markets.

Quan Nuong Anh Tuyet
71 Ngo Tat To, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City

Tucking into some cheap beer and tasty food in a no-frills, eat-with-the-locals kinda place is a great opportunity to experience the buzz of Ho Chi Minh City. Never is this more true than at Quan Nuong Anh Tuyet in Binh Thanh... Read our full review of Quan Nuong Anh Tuyet.

Co Ba Vung Tau
59B Cao Thang, District 3
T: (08) 3629 8118

Co Ba Vung Tau is popular for their banh khot, small, deep-fried rice pancakes topped with various ingredients, but most commonly a seafood combination of shrimp and scallops. Besides the banh khot, they also make a great ban xeo, crispy crepe stuffed with various ingredients. This dish originates from the beach city of Vung Tau, hence the restaurant's name — and if you don't have time to... Read our full review of Co Ba Vung Tau.

Ben Thanh Market
Le Loi, District 1

When most people think about Ben Thanh market, they think about shopping. And while the market is a great spot to find souvenirs, it also happens to be a great spot to grab a bite to eat. If you’re planning on a visit to Ben Thanh, and you happen to be hungry, here’s where to... Read our full review of Ben Thanh Market.

Pho 2000
1-3 Phan Chu Trinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3822 2788

Famed for a visit from former US president Bill Clinton, they are the self-proclaimed best pho in town. While we'd make a case that it's not actually the best in town, the pho is decent and better than what you find in fancier chain restaurants. Because of their fame, you will pay slightly more for a bowl here than you would in similar street establishments, but at only 40,000 VND a bowl... Read our full review of Pho 2000.

Top of page


Cuc Gach Quan
10 Dang Tat, Ward Tan Dinh, District 1
T: 08 3848 0144

Hidden down a Saigon back road in a part of District 1 that is more District 3, especially if you’re in Pham Ngu Lao, resides one of the more popular Vietnamese restaurants in the city. Cuc Gach Quan, located at 10 Dang Tat in an easy-to-miss building, is developing a great reputation for serving delicious food amid a great atmosphere; but does it live up to the hype and is it worth the... Read our full review of Cuc Gach Quan.

Vy Da Quan
62 Ly Tu Trong, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3822 1599

Centrally located on Ly Tu Trong near Ben Thanh Market, Vy Da Quan hits all the right notes for your typical streetside Vietnamese restaurant. Blue plastic chairs, wet napkins and beers with ice are all there. And if you peek down Nguyen Trung Truc and notice the smoke, you'll get a hint of what makes this joint so special: grilled... Read our full review of Vy Da Quan.

21 Han Thuyen (next to 30-4 park), District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 
T: (08) 3822 9048

While we are huge fans of sitting on blue plastic chairs and grabbing a delicious meal on the cheap, every once in a while we like our settings a bit more upmarket. The chic and modern Propaganda takes a spin on Vietnamese classics in a setting that would make Uncle Ho proud and offers an inventive menu with top-notch... Read our full review of Propaganda.

Quan Nem
15E Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

You don’t have to head north from Saigon to enjoy quality renditions of specialty dishes from that region, as proper northern establishments have set up shop in the big city down south. One such joint is Quan Nem, a restaurant specialising in the crispy, northern crab spring roll nem cua... Read our full review of Quan Nem.

3T Quan Nuong
29 Ton That Thiep, District 1
T: (08) 3821 1631

The partially covered, palm-decorated rooftop gives the feeling of outdoor patio dining. What the restaurant lacks in decor is made up for by the food, which you grill on your table. Like most Asian barbecues it is best enjoyed in groups so you can try a wider variety of dishes but a table-for-two can't go wrong choosing the beef with cheese. Their staff is eager to help first-time grillers.... Read our full review of 3T Quan Nuong.

4 Nguyen Thiep, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3822 4005

Their attractive dining room is on the smaller side, so hopefully you're okay with getting intimate with those around you because it is regularly full to capacity. Making a reservation is highly recommended if you don't like a wait. The menu features southern Vietnamese cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood, and is geared more toward tourists than locals, which is evident in their customer... Read our full review of Lemongrass.

Temple Club
Ton That Thiep, District 1
T: (08) 3829 9244

Built in what was once an actual temple, it is decorated with Buddhist tapestries, throw rugs and antique furniture, all of which is also for sale. The gourmet menu covers all the major regions of Vietnam and is quite good, but very expensive for Vietnamese food, with mains starting around 120,000 VND. While it may be expensive, you have the option of skipping the food and hanging out in... Read our full review of Temple Club.

3A3 Bun Bo Hue
39A Ngo Duc Ke, District 1
T: (08) 829 3526

Similar to what Pho 24 brings to pho, these restaurants bring you traditional hue with a Western fast food atmosphere at a reasonable price - around 35,000 VND a bowl. If you've already cut your teeth on this traditional dish a visit likely won't blow you away, however it does offer cleanliness you're not likely to find in a more local establishment. While there are better, and cheaper, Hue... Read our full review of 3A3 Bun Bo Hue.

Vinh Nghiem Chay
339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 3
T: (08) 6683 5563

Set inside the grounds of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is the aptly named Vinh Nghiem Chay, a restaurant specialising in all things chay or vegetarian. Unlike most places in Ho Chi Minh City advertising vegetarian dishes that seem to have just a bit of pork or fish sauce, this is the real... Read our full review of Vinh Nghiem Chay.

Splurge Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon

It’s true that in Saigon you can get some of the world’s best food right on the street; on the other hand, plenty of tourist-trap fancy restaurants are poised ready to pounce and charge you ridiculous prices for average dishes. But if you’re interested in sampling a variety of Vietnamese dishes in better surrounds than what the street offers, there are a few places in town that fit the... Read our full review of Splurge Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon.

Cheap Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon

Finding cheap eats in Saigon is a very easy task, given some of the best food you may ever eat is served right on the street. Not everyone however is eager to dive into street cuisine and while you can find Vietnamese restaurants worth a splurge, many more affordable proper restaurants can be tourist traps. If you want to sample local offerings somewhere a little fancier than a street cart or the... Read our full review of Cheap Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon.

Barbecue Garden
135A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1, Saigon
T: (08) 3823 3340

Within walking distance of many of Saigon’s more popular sites, such as Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral, barbecue restaurant Barbecue Garden is located in a surprisingly peaceful spot considering it is in the middle of some prime real estate. Barbecue Garden isn’t a fancy looking spot; it’s about a hundred tables on an outdoor terrace shaded by some big trees. If you’re worried... Read our full review of Barbecue Garden.

Lang Nuong Nam Bo
283-285/145 CMT8, District 10
T: (08) 3863 2309

Just a short trip from the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, extremely large Lang Nuong Nam Bo sits off the main road down a long, wide alley. Set in an area that is rarely visited by tourists, you may feel like you’re in a different city when you find the restaurant even though you’re only 10 minutes’ away from the tourist... Read our full review of Lang Nuong Nam Bo.

Xu Restaurant
71-75 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
T: (08) 3824 8468

Inconspicuously tucked behind an average exterior on the busy street of Hai Ba Trung, just around the corner from the Saigon Opera House, the stylish Xu Restaurant is among the finer restaurants of the... Read our full review of Xu Restaurant.

Nha Hang Ngon
160 Pasteur, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

In the midst of Saigon’s downtown areas of interest, walking distance from the Reunification Palace and the Notre Dame Cathedral, you might suspect Nha Hang Ngon is a highly priced tourist trap. However, with surprisingly low prices and a large selection of well-made Vietnamese dishes, it’s a good spot to introduce you to the city’s... Read our full review of Nha Hang Ngon.

Chao Vit Sai Gon
40 Tran Cao Van, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Just a stone’s throw from Turtle Lake in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3, Chao Vit Sai Gon is an easy-to-miss joint squeezed between several larger establishments. If you’re a culinary fan of duck, this spot is one of the more famous in town, particularly for its namesake dish, duck served in the Vietnamese rice porridge,... Read our full review of Chao Vit Sai Gon.

Co Ngu
222 Pasteur, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3827 5703

Rice is a Vietnamese staple but many restaurants in HCMC don’t really give it the attention it deserves, serving tired rice dishes seemingly as an afterthought. Although many carts on the street sell rice dishes, and some cheap Vietnamese restaurants focus on a single rice dish, it can be hard to find a restaurant that serves a variety of quality dishes. One restaurant that takes rice seriously... Read our full review of Co Ngu.

Le Banh Mi
12 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3822 1036

On nearly every corner in Saigon you’ll find a street cart selling banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches. While these are delicious and cheap, sometimes you might hanker after something similar but of a higher quality. While you’ll find a big jump in prices when visiting most sandwich shops in the city, Le Banh Mi offers a higher quality sandwich without the sticker... Read our full review of Le Banh Mi.

Hoang Ty
72 Vo Van Tan, District 3
T: (08) 3930 5210

While most street food in Saigon could almost be classified as fast food, where you sit down and pretty much immediately start eating, some dishes from the streets make you work a little harder: banh trang is a case in... Read our full review of Hoang Ty.

Com Tam Ba Ghien
Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3846 1073

Hidden away down a sidestreet in Saigon’s Phu Nhuan district, Com Tam Ba Ghien is known far and wide for their specialty com tam suon, or a pork chop served over broken rice. About a 20-minute taxi ride out of downtown, eating at this street spot will require you to overlook some grungy conditions, with the reward being some of the finest street food in the... Read our full review of Com Tam Ba Ghien.

Cha Ca La Vong
3-5 Ho Xuan Huong, District 3
T: (08) 3930 5674

Cha ca, a fish dish of legendary reputation made famous by the Cha Ca La Vong restaurant in Hanoi, has been listed as one of the 1,001 dishes to eat before you die. If you’re in Vietnam though, you don’t have to go all the way to Hanoi to get a taste; a restaurant of the same name and owned and operated by the same people in charge of the Hanoi version is located in Saigon, and dare I risk... Read our full review of Cha Ca La Vong.

Nhu Lan Bakery
50 Ham Nghi, District 1
T: (08) 3829 2970

Many people come to this bakery because it offers tasty food at street-cart prices without sacrificing cleanliness. The menu includes many Vietnamese standards, including sandwiches, pho and rice dishes. You will notice the lack of air-con in the afternoon heat but you can cool yourself off with one of their more than 50 fresh fruit juices starting at under 20,000 VND. At peak times it... Read our full review of Nhu Lan Bakery.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
9 Phan Chu Trinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 8848 0807

With many locations across Saigon, Pho 24 is basically the pho version of fast food. With a simple menu offering a variety of pho styles, and a limited selection of other Vietnamese dishes, you'll find an adequate, but not great, bowl of the popular soup. The air-con restaurants are clean, they make ordering easy, and the pho is relatively inexpensive. While the pho isn't as tasty as what you can... Read our full review of Pho 24.

Top of page

Korean and Japanese

Sushi Ko
122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (012) 2256 8152

When you think of Saigon street food, you might think of a steaming bowl of pho or hu tieu or perhaps a few banh bao, direct from the bamboo steamer. Now you can add in sushi, thanks to Sushi... Read our full review of Sushi Ko.

Sushi Bar
2 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3823 8042

Situated on the busy intersection of Le Thanh Ton and Ton Duc Thang, The Sushi Bar has been the standard by which all other Saigon sushi is measured. Open since 1999, the consistent quality delivered by the Sushi Bar has made it a favourite among locals, expats and tourists... Read our full review of Sushi Bar.

Asian Kitchen
185/22 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1
T: (08) 3836 7397

Located down a quiet alley, they offer typical Japanese cuisine and ice-cold beer. The food isn't the most authentic in town, but it is tasty. Staff are extremely service-oriented, none more so than owner Larry, who possesses a wealth of local knowledge. Prices are very pocket friendly, with most main dishes topping out around 65,000 VND. The bamboo-decorated eatery has a very relaxed... Read our full review of Asian Kitchen.

Sushi in Saigon

Although it would be blasphemous to eat anything other than Vietnamese food on a short trip to Saigon, a longer stay may eventually require a sushi fix — as Ho Chi Minh City offers plenty of affordable, high-quality spots around... Read our full review of Sushi in Saigon.

Tokyo Deli
240 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 5402 1133

Just a half block away from the Ben Thanh market on Le Thanh Ton, Tokyo Deli may have one of the most convenient locations in Saigon for a traveller in search of Japanese... Read our full review of Tokyo Deli.

Seoul House
33 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3829 4297

In its latest location it continues to attract customers because of its full service Korean menu, offering hot pots, grilled meat, and its ever popular kim chi tofu soup. For those ordering a meat dish, such as bulgogi, you get the added bonus of watching as your dish is grilled at the table. There is not much about Seoul House that sticks out aesthetically, but their fun seating arrangements... Read our full review of Seoul House.

Top of page

Other Asian

74/6 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3930 4839

Featuring both northern and southern dishes it has something for everyone, including a large selection of vegetarian options. It doesn't have the best Indian food in the world, or Saigon for that matter, but the speedy staff and three floors of air-con make the dining experience enjoyable. Its long history in the city, and prime downtown location, has kept it a popular destination, with... Read our full review of Tandoor.

Spice Restaurant
27 Le Quy Don, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3930 7873

The menu contains almost a hundred traditional dishes covering the gamut of Thai foods. Hot pots here are very popular as is the barbecue, which they give you the option of grilling at your own table or having one of the chefs prepare in the kitchen. Also, every Thursday they host a 100,000 VND lunch buffet. If you order 150,000 VND worth of food, they will deliver to anywhere in Ho Chi Minh... Read our full review of Spice Restaurant.

Mai Thai
19 Ton That Thiep, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3821 2920

Traditionally decorated right down to staff dressing in Thai style clothing — this is one of the few restaurants in Saigon delivering authentic Thai cuisine. With a large menu covering the standards they remind you what Thai food should taste like in a city where it can often be hit or miss. Get in early if you're heading there for lunch as their lunch sets attract many workers from... Read our full review of Mai Thai.

Golden Elephant
34 Ha Ba Trung, District 1
T: (08) 3822 8554

The themed decor, including pictures of the Thai royal family, and warm yellow walls make for an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. The menu offers a wide range of dishes, from curries and noodles to soups and salads as well as several vegetarian options. They also carry some Thai beer hard to find elsewhere in the city. Waiters are friendly and helpful. Free delivery is available for... Read our full review of Golden Elephant.

Monsoon Restaurant
1 Cao Ba Nha, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 6290 8899

If you’re a food lover, then Saigon is a great spot to spend some time, with restaurants down every alley and on every street. You may, however, struggle to find in HCMC any variety in Southeast Asian cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants around town, but if you are looking for Cambodian or Thai food your options will be much more limited. Luckily, this... Read our full review of Monsoon Restaurant.

43 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1
T: (08) 3829 9033

While the decor and overall feel of the building leaves something to be desired, Alibaba does deliver some tasty food, including a variety of curries and vegetarian dishes. Their flat breads are also well made but are on the small side of what you may be used to. Prices are similar to other restaurants in the area, with most dishes starting around 70,000 VND. Waiters are generally friendly... Read our full review of Alibaba.

Top of page

Cafes and coffee

Up Cafe
269 Nguyen Trung Tuyen, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3845 2155

Just a short 10-minute drive from downtown, the cafe's made itself the most unique in the city by flipping everything over. Light fixtures and paintings are turned upside down, a full dining set is on the ceiling, and even the outside looks like an upside down building. Luckily, the drinks and food are still served bottom down, however you may be too caught up in the scenery to notice you've... Read our full review of Up Cafe.

176 Bui Vien, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (09) 5870 6580

All profits received from the sale of delicious American-style coffee, muffins and cookies goes back to the training and education of the staff. The positive energy of the cafe gives it a great overall atmosphere and many people, both local and tourist, are there to enjoy it. They also host informal English speaking clubs a couple of evenings a week where local students come to converse with... Read our full review of Sozo.

Bobby Brewers
45 Bui Vien, District 1
T: (08) 3920 4090

When the humidity goes up and the mercury rises, doing anything outdoors in Ho Chi Minh City can be unbearable. When I can no longer stand the punishment I often find myself ducking into one of the city’s numerous cafés. Bobby Brewers, one of my favourites, has a few locations scattered about the city but the establishment I frequent is slightly off the beaten path, on 400B Le Van Sy in... Read our full review of Bobby Brewers.

Saigon's best cafes

One thing’s for sure, Saigon loves its coffee. You can find a café on any given block in the city — more than likely, there will be more than one. Like most major cities, Ho Chi Minh City has its fair share of chain coffee houses, such as Highlands Coffee and Coffee Bean, but you may want to find a spot that’s more than just air-con and average coffee. So, after the rigorous trial of... Read our full review of Saigon's best cafes.

Saigon's top cupcakes

I might be addicted to red velvet cupcakes. I spent a summer in New York, where cupcakes are a big deal, and I got hooked. Then, all of a sudden, cupcakes started becoming a big deal everywhere: now weddings have cupcakes instead of regular cakes, and cupcake bakeries have popped up all over, even in Saigon. Since I fancy myself as a sort of cupcake connoisseur, I took on the burden of trying... Read our full review of Saigon's top cupcakes.

More of Saigon's best cafes

There are probably thousands of cafés in Saigon. Seriously. Yesterday, while walking around the Crescent, I counted five cafes on just one corner. It’s crazy! I’ve already written about my selections for Saigon’s best cafes. While I would say that these are still some of the cream of the crop, I wanted to let you know that I will never stop searching for new, great cafes (ed: it’s hard... Read our full review of More of Saigon's best cafes.

151 Dong Khoi, 1st floor District 1, Saigon
T: (08) 6674 3565

Tucked away down a tight alley in the heart of Saigon, one of the city’s most pleasant cafes perches in an upstairs loft. Only a short walk from most of the city’s major sites, like the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Opera House, L’Usine is a quiet oasis. Although it’s on the major shopping street of Dong Khoi it’s hard to find to the untrained eye. It will require a short walk... Read our full review of L'Usine.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
7 Cong Truong, District 1
T: (08) 3822 5017

With several locations in various prime locations throughout the city, Highlands Coffee is the Vietnamese version of a Western chain coffee establishment. More budget friendly than its Western competitors, the menu offers a wide range of espresso, smoothie, and juice options mixed with Vietnamese beverages. Their food includes Western-style breakfasts and sandwiches along with a mix of local... Read our full review of Highlands Coffee.

Top of page


No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
31 Thai Van Lung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3825 8465

Around the back of the French Cultural Centre, Le Jardin gives you a choice between sitting in the garden area outside or the cosy dining area inside. Its simple food, fresh-tasting fare rarely disappoints and this has made it quite a popular venue - so popular in fact that it can get quite packed in the evenings, so making a reservation is recommended. The food is well made, especially their... Read our full review of Le Jardin.

La Fourchette
9 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1
T: (08) 3829 8143

The wood panelled dining area is small, but still comfortable, and adds to the warm, homely atmosphere. A good spot for a business lunch or an intimate dinner, here they serve traditional French dishes, such as escargot, goat cheese salad and onion soup. Prices are high by Vietnamese standards but the ambiance of the restaurant makes it worth paying extra if this is within your budget.... Read our full review of La Fourchette.

The Refinery
74 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3823 0509

While it doesn't possess the longest menu in the city The Refinery does have a good variety of light cafe fare, such as salads and sandwiches, which makes it an especially good choice for lunch. They also have an extensive wine list. Prices are reasonable and main courses start at 100,000 VND. Interestingly, the restaurant gets its name from the fact that it was built in the headquarters of... Read our full review of The Refinery.

Top of page

Other Western

71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1
T: (08) 3823 3822

Whether you sit in the outdoor dining area or in the restaurant's ample interior space you will experience an atmosphere that is uniquely Middle Eastern. The food is also worth the visit whether you go for falafel and mutabbal or the kebab, and the portions are generous. Besides food Warda also offers flavoured tobacco, including apple and strawberry, which you smoke from one of their... Read our full review of Warda.

Amigo Grill
55 Nguyen Hue, District 1
T: (08) 3824 1248

Here you get to pick from a variety of premium cuts, cooked to order, with your choice of marinade and side. The beef is truly delicious in a city where it can be tough to find a good steak. Ribs, a large selection of seafood, and a salad bar are also available. Waiters are very professional and their attitude matches the overall upscale feel of the restaurant. Their Sunday champagne brunch... Read our full review of Amigo Grill.

Frozen yoghurt in Saigon

Over the past couple of months temperatures have been rising in Saigon; this usually isn’t much of an issue because there are so many ice cream shops… but now that I’m planning to run a half marathon I need to start eating a little healthier. So I’ve switched from ice cream to frozen yogurt, meaning I’ve some tips for finding your own fro-yo... Read our full review of Frozen yoghurt in Saigon.

Saigon ice cream

It’s usually pretty warm in Saigon — even the early mornings of December and January rarely dip below 20 degrees Celsius — but the last couple of weeks here have been hot! We’re only in March; things are going to get even hotter over the next month. If you’re walking around the city when it’s extra hot, I can recommend cooling down with ice cream — Saigon has quite a few spots where... Read our full review of Saigon ice cream.

Desserts in Saigon

Saigon is a town for food lovers, and although it is better known for its pho, there’s no shortage of great shops for you to visit after dinner (or before because remember life is short) selling delicious, sweet treats. If you have a sweet tooth, here are some places you can go for... Read our full review of Desserts in Saigon.

Saigon's best Western restaurants

If you’ve been travelling for an extended period, you may hanker for a taste of the West rather than chowing down on local cuisine for yet another meal. In the last year Ho Chi Minh has been flooded with fast food joints, but if you’re craving a meal that reminds you of home — you don’t have to stoop to those levels. Here are a few places that are worth a visit in Saigon... Read our full review of Saigon's best Western restaurants.

Pizza in Saigon

If you’ve tired of Saigon’s street food and you’ve a hankering for some decent pizza, the city has more than just the big chains — here’s where to... Read our full review of Pizza in Saigon.

Pizza 4P's
8/15 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3822 9838, 0120 789 4444

In a previous post on cupcakes, I mentioned that I spent some time in New York; I came away from the city with a love for good cupcakes, but for great pizza as well. Pizza could be one of the greatest foods ever, but for all the good pizza that exists there is also terrible pizza. If you’re hankering for pizza in Saigon — once you’ve exhausted or are tired of all the wonderful street eating... Read our full review of Pizza 4P's.

Black Cat
13 Phan Van Dat
T: (08) 3829 2055

While I could eat bun bo hue or banh cuon all the time, there are times in Saigon that I miss the occasional meal from my Western world. For example, being that my port of origin is in the United States I think that somewhere deep down in my soul I was bred to enjoy a good hamburger. HCMC isn’t really a city anyone would rank super high on the list of cities to find a great burger in list; so... Read our full review of Black Cat.

Scott and Binh's
15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, District 7, Ho Chi MInh City
T: (09) 4890 1465

While you won’t struggle to find delicious, Vietnamese food every which way you turn in HCMC, a prolonged trip on the road can make you miss a solid, home-cooked meal. If you have a craving for Western cuisine, take a trip out of District 1 to Scott and Binh’s in District... Read our full review of Scott and Binh's.

119-121 Bui Vien, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3836 9220

Sitting in the middle of Saigon’s backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, Stella, or the New Stellar depending on which sign you’re reading, is a standout restaurant serving Italian and Vietnamese cuisine on a street where there is no shortage of... Read our full review of Stella.

33 Dong Khoi, District 1
T: (08) 3827 0931

The thick menu is a diverse fusion of international cuisine including pizza, pasta, steaks and burgers. They also have one of the better kids' menus in town and paper tablecloths for children and the young at heart to doodle on. This is a chain restaurant however, with two locations in Saigon, and the overall food quality reflects that. The dining room here is cramped, and it can be hard to... Read our full review of Jaspas .

9A Thai Van Lung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3822 4798

Their authentic menu provides favourite dishes, such as falafel and spanakopita, and a variety of choices of meat skewers, including a delicious lamb one. Watching the open-air kitchen in the front of the dining area, with flames jumping from the grill, is an added bonus that helps build the fine atmosphere. Waiters are friendly and helpful. For the cigar aficionado, make sure to schedule... Read our full review of Skewers.

175/1 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1
T: (08) 3837 0760

Most popular for its excellent pizza and pasta, which is some of the best in the city, the menu also has a variety of seafood, vegetarian, Vietnamese, and Tex-Mex dishes. With mains starting as low as 30,000 VND and pizza for as little as 60,000 VND this restaurant has become a favourite of both backpackers and locals alike. They also offer efficient and free delivery with a minimum order... Read our full review of Margherita.

Al Fresco's
19-21 Mac Dinh Chi, District 1
T: (08) 3823 8424

Even though you may be surrounded by a load of delicious local food in Saigon, sometimes you just want a pizza or hamburger; if that’s the case, it might be time to find the nearest Al... Read our full review of Al Fresco's.

46-48 Ton Than Thiep, District 1
T: (08) 3821 0796

With several large TVs playing everything from football to cricket to tennis, sports lovers should feel right at home with the friendly and uproarious atmosphere. The menu contains the regulars of your average sports bar, including burgers, pizza and excellent meat pies. The food is great, especially by local Western standards, and the drink prices are too, making sure that there is always a... Read our full review of Phatty's.

Top of page


No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3827 2372

Chill Skybar offers a gorgeous view of Ho Chi Minh City from 26 storeys, though the panorama comes at a price with some of the most expensive cocktails in the... Read our full review of Chill Skybar.

Saigon's top rooftop bars

Saigon is filled with bars, and it seems like new bars pop up everyday. There are all kinds of bars in the city: bars with live music, bars with trivia, pubs, taverns, and even a saloon. Quite a few rooftop bars are also sprinkled throughout the city. These happen to be my favourite, because there is something so cool about being on a roof. Here’s a rundown on what I think are the top rooftop... Read our full review of Saigon's top rooftop bars.

Saigon ladies' nights

There are places in Southeast Asia that have some pretty sweet deals on drinks. Thailand has their buckets, Hanoi has some cheap beer on the street, and Saigon is no different. While HCMC has some cool rooftop bars, and cheap drinks in general, an additional thing to keep an eye out for — at least for women — are ladies’ nights (though yes, we agree there’s something iffy about prices... Read our full review of Saigon ladies' nights.

Saigon Pub Crawl
31 Ly Tu Trong St. D.1
T: (08) 3824 3483

Besides having cafes and street food, Saigon also has a fair share of bars and clubs, I guess you need something to do once the cafes close. Since there are so many bars sometimes it can be hit and miss to find a place with people without walking all over town. The best way is to try an event night, but those seem to be a bit repetitive and sometimes gender biased. So, if you’re looking for... Read our full review of Saigon Pub Crawl.

Drinking beer in Saigon's Pham Ngu Lao

In Saigon’s backpacker district of Pham Ngu Lao you won’t have to walk far to find an ice cold beer. However, in hopping from one bar to another, you’ll quickly notice that prices vary widely from establishment to establishment. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find where, and how much you can expect to... Read our full review of Drinking beer in Saigon's Pham Ngu Lao.

iBox Karaoke
Third floor, SISC Buliding, 29-31 9A Street, District 8
T: (08) 5431 9111

Karaoke is a popular pastime in Asia (Bangkok and Hanoi for instance), and Saigon is no different. In fact, if you spend much time cruising the streets at night, you will quickly see that karaoke is one of the more popular activities in Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily for me, I love to sing and I’ve checked out a few places; every street has a karaoke spot, but little differentiates one from the... Read our full review of iBox Karaoke.

Alto Heli Bar
52nd floor, Bitexco Financial Tower 2 Hai Trieu, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 6291 8752

Bitexco Financial Tower is in a league of its own when it comes to Saigon’s skyline. When the tower first opened, the only way to the higher floors without paying rent was to hit Skydeck, Bitexco’s high-priced 50th floor observation room. Now you have more options, one of which is grabbing a drink at Alto Heli... Read our full review of Alto Heli Bar.


187 De Tham, District 1
T: (08) 3836 9575

Due to its late hours drinks cost more than your average Pham Ngu Lao bar and food is also pricier. The first floor is a standard sit-down bar where you can grab a typical Western meal and listen to rock music, while the second floor is a hip hop nightclub and has slightly more expensive drinks than downstairs. The first floor bar is one of the better spots to sit and drink in the Saigon... Read our full review of Go2.

Crazy Buffalo
212 De Tham, District 1
T: (08) 3836 9946

Posing as a simple Western-style bar and restaurant by day, at night it really comes alive, where the dance party on the third floor can last all night. While the food isn't anything special and the drinks aren't the cheapest in the area, what makes Crazy Buffalo special is that it is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Buffalo consists of three storeys; the first two are... Read our full review of Crazy Buffalo.

The Square 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, District 1
T: (08) 3824 2888

It has an outdoor terrace area below with an air-con section, and the bar above is complete with a stage ready for live music and DJs. Downstairs is typically populated with French expats freely conversing and is a good place to escape the local or international DJ usually performing upstairs. Drink prices are high compared to other bars in town but the crowds keep coming back, likely... Read our full review of Vasco's.

The Drunken Duck
58 Ton That Thiep, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3915 2853

With several TVs playing various live sporting events and a pool table downstairs, you may forget you're in a Vietnamese bar. If you're truly adventurous - crazy, even - you can take their 800,000 VND 15-shot challenge fwhere you take 15 shots of your choice to receive a T-shirt complete with your name on the back. Plus, if you make it through the 30-minute, no throwing up grace period, your... Read our full review of The Drunken Duck.

Apocalypse Now
2C Thi Sach, District 1
T: (08) 3825 6124

Known affectionately as Apo by locals and expats, on any given night you can expect a large crowd, throughout the two-storey building, with a healthy mix of tourist and locals. The crowds are so thick that they now charge a steep 150,000 VND cover on Friday and Saturday night. While the cover gives you one free drink, the deal doesn't seem to be worth... Read our full review of Apocalypse Now.

Top of page

Live music

Sax n' Art
28 Le Loi, District 1
T: (08) 8822 8472

If you're a fan of jazz music, there is really no other spot in town to get your fix. From 21:00 to midnight the owner, Tran Manh Tuan, plays jazz saxophone with his house band and occasional international musical guests. There isn't a bad seat in the house to listen to the performance but the best seats are on the second-floor balcony. The good music is accompanied by rather high drink... Read our full review of Sax n' Art.

6E1 Ngo Thoi Nhiem, District 3
T: (08) 3930 2239

With nightly rock 'n' roll themed music acts, consisting of both local and international musicians, you are always sure to find a crowd whenever you visit. Acoustic is small and seats can become scarce as the night moves on. The name is a bit misleading as the acts are generally anything but acoustic; more often than not the acts feature a full band, making it not uncommon to leave with... Read our full review of Acoustic.

Thi Cafe
224 De Tham, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 2210 2929

It is home to a light menu of standard Western bar food, with some surprising tasty Tex-Mex dishes, and drinks that are much cheaper than most of the neighbours. But the best reason to come to the cafe is the nightly live music, mostly acoustic rock covers and some occasional hip hop funk fusion. With no cover, this is a perfect place to head if you're looking to escape from the techno... Read our full review of Thi Cafe.

Hard Rock Cafe
Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, District 1
T: (08) 6291 7595

The large centre stage plays host to live music every night of the week, but the music comes with a high-priced American menu. The food is of the same quality as the other Hard Rock branded restaurants; so yes, it has one of the better burgers available in the city. Overall, the Hard Rock is expensive by Vietnamese standards but offers one of the best live music venues in Saigon.... Read our full review of Hard Rock Cafe.

Live music in Ho Chi Minh City

After a few nights out on the Saigon club scene, you may grow tired of the recycled house beats and ringing in your ears. An alternative? Checking out one of the many live music venues the city has to offer. Live bands, classical music, jazz: Ho Chi Minh has something for... Read our full review of Live music in Ho Chi Minh City.

Top of page


2 Ly Tu Trong, District 1
T: (09) 1863 0742

The inside features lounge-style seating both downstairs, wrapping tightly around the bar, and making for hard navigation during crowded nights, and in the small upstairs area. For a more relaxed experience, especially on crowded nights, head to the outdoor bar area in the back which isn't air-con but has plenty of elbow room. The absence of a dance floor does make dancing in this club... Read our full review of Lush.

Saigon's best nightclubs

Saigon has an active and relatively cheap nightlife. If you’re wound up from your travels and want to unwind, you’ll find plenty of places where you can get the party started; here are a few places to kick... Read our full review of Saigon's best nightclubs.

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ho Chi Minh City? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

Top of page