Need a sushi fix?
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 town.
Perhaps the most well known sushi spot in town is Sushi Bar, a chain sushi restaurant with multiple locations throughout the city, but prominent on Le Thanh Ton. A thick menu is on offer here, so Sushi Bar probably can cover any of your sushi desires, from rolls and sashimi to tempura and bento boxes. It’s not the cheapest sushi in town, but still not expensive by Western standards; expect most individual items like rolls and sashimi to fall in to the 70,000 to 200,000 VND range. They really push combos and bentos, which are more expensive but better value if you piece it out. Either way, the average meal here will be about 250,000 VND a person. For the extra dough, you do get a more luxurious atmosphere and touches compared to the competition.
A cheaper chain option is Tokyo Deli, Sushi Bar’s main competitor and its atmospheric polar opposite. Where Sushi Bar is quiet with dark mood lighting, Tokyo Deli is loud and bright. This lack in atmosphere does however translate to savings passed on to you. It’s another spot with a big menu, with an extra few pages of non-sushi related food like salads and rice dishes. Expect to pay in the range of 50,000 to 150,000 VND for sushi/sashimi, with the average meal coming in at around 200,000 VND a person. Their set menus are a good deal, although several are almost sushi-less. Like Sushi Bar, Tokyo Deli has locations all over the city; its easiest to find location is also on Le Thanh Ton, right behind Ben Thanh Market.
Speaking of Le Thanh Ton, generally considered to be HCMC’s “Little Japan“, if you’re up for a sushi adventure, a walk down this street will lead you to more than a dozen smaller sushi spots, with a huge concentration between Hai Ba Trung and Ton Duc Thang. These restaurants cater more directly to Japanese guests and have a reputation for bringing in higher quality fish from Japan — although said quality is likely debatable — and they have higher prices.
The most affordable sushi option in town would have to be Sushi Ko, one of the first Japanese street food stands around. Although it’s on the street, quality here is on par with most anything else in the city, and prices are lower. Typically your dish will be another 20,000 to 30,000 VND cheaper than what you’ll get at Tokyo Deli; this should lead to cheaper prices per person, but for us it just means we eat more. You’ve been warned.
The Sushi Bar 1
2 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
T: (08) 3823 8042
240 Le Thanh Ton
T: (08) 5402 1133
122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, District 4
T: (01) 222 568 152
By Max Murta
Last updated on 23rd October, 2014.