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.
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.
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.
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 is one of those street snacks that tends to be overlooked by the average travelling street muncher.... Read our full review of Bo bia.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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 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.
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.
One of the soups vying for your VND in Ho Chi Minh City is bun bo hue, a culinary dish that originated in Hue…... Read our full review of Bun bo hue.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The appetiser or snack goi cuon is one of Vietnam’s must-try street... Read our full review of Goi cuon.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.... Read our full review of Enjoying street food at Saigon's markets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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... Read our full review of Barbecue Garden.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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... Read our full review of Saigon's top cupcakes.
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.... Read our full review of More of Saigon's best cafes.
Tucked away down a tight alley in the heart of Saigon, one of the city’s most pleasant cafes perches in an upstairs loft.... Read our full review of L'Usine.
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.
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... Read our full review of Saigon ice cream.
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.
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.
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 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> opportunities — one place worth trying is Japanese Pizza 4P’s, where you’ll find some of the best pizza in... Read our full review of Pizza 4P's.
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... Read our full review of Black Cat.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Karaoke is a popular pastime in Asia, 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.... Read our full review of iBox Karaoke.
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.
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.
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.