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Saigon Street Food & Where To Find Them

Apart from the sightseeing in the heart of the city and Cu Chi Tunnels, what is the most enriching experience in Ho Chi Minh City you may ask. It is surely Saigon street food! There are hundreds of street food stalls, markets, carts and restaurants that will rock your taste buds. 

The scrumptious street food in Ho Chi Minh is the special allure to visitors for obvious reasons: the rich aroma, eye-catching colors, power-packed flavours. Is your mouth watering now? Try to find the best street food on your food walking tour and enjoy it in this culinary wonderland in nothing flat.

Best Saigon street food

If you want the really great Saigon street food, then don’t skip the irresistible street food in Ho Chi Minh City. Which one to try first and which will provide the authentic local experience?

Vietnamese Baguette – Banh mi

Saigon street food
Banh mi has become a Vietnamese culinary brand | Photo by Flickr: Chris Goldberg

On top of the list is Banh mi which was considered as the Queen of street food. The first Banh mi was introduced to Saigon during the French colonial period and has become one of the most popular street food not only in Vietnam but around the globe over the years. 

People in Saigon love eating Banh mi with vegetables to add flavor and zest to the food by adding different ingredients such as a few slices of cucumber, pickled carrots, a few stalks, etc. Banh mi is consumed most in the morning but it doesn’t mean you can’t find Banh mi stall anytime else in the day. Nowadays it becomes a Vietnamese culinary brand that any tourist must try when being on Vietnam tours

»» Where to eat? 

  • Banh mi Huynh Hoa: 26 Le Thi Rieng, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 30,000 – 50,000
  • Banh mi Hoa Ma: 53 Cao Thang, Ward 3, District 3 | Price: VND 70,000 – 100,000
  • Banh mi Nhu Lan: 64-66-68 Ham Nghi, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 15,000 – 55,000
  • Banh mi Nguyen Sinh: 141 Tran Dinh Xu, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 32,000 – 38,000
  • Banh mi Bay Ho: 23 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da Kao Street, District 1 | Price: From VND 17,000 

Beef intestine stew – Pha lau bo

To someone who tries this dish for the very first time, the taste might be a little confusing but it’s sure that they will feel satisfied for next times. For one serve, different visceral organs are used such as a stomach, small intestine, heart, liver and lungs. Don’t think of an unpleasant smell when trying them! Thanks to a perfect recipe that contains five flavors, vinegar, cinnamon powder, you can enjoy the best dish and it still smells good! 

If you come to Ho Chi Minh in the rainy season, a bowl of hot, tasty and spicy beef intestine stew served with sweet and sour fish sauce can brighten up your day! Gourmet would not skip the chance to combine beef intestine stew with baguette or noodle to enjoy different levels of toughness. You can never go wrong with this local favorite Saigon street food. 

»» Where to eat? 

  • Pha lau Li: 1A Suong Nguyet Anh, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 20,000 – 50,000
  • Pha lau Ngoc: Nguyen Dinh Chieu Apartment, Da Kao Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 15,000 
  • Pha lau Co Thao: 243/29G Ton Dan, Ward 15, District 4 | Price: VND 20,000 – 30,000
  • Pha lau bo 102: 102 Phan Van Tri, Ward 2, District 5 | Price: From VND 15,000

Mixed rice paper – Banh trang tron

The most mouth-watering street treat to the young must be mixed rice paper. Just some basic ingredients are enough to wake up all your taste buds: thin strips of rice paper, shredded green mango, scallion, seasoned fried onion, lime juice… Name just some as it’s up to the vendor’s creativity that you can be served different styles of Banh trang tron, a hidden treasure of Vietnamese street food.  

Actually you can come across many street vendors serving mixed rice paper or just call any conical hat-donning woman carrying weighty baskets over her shoulders to get a portion of rice paper customed to your tastes. As cost next to nothing, Banh trang tron is obviously a must-try dish if you’ve already spent too much on your full day city tour

»» Where to eat? 

  • Banh trang tron Co Yen: 171 Co Yen, Co Giang Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 15,000 – 30,000
  • Banh trang tron Chu Vien: 38 Nguyen Thuong Hien, Ward 5, District 3 | Price: VND 20,000 – 35,000
  • Banh trang tron on Hoa Hao Street: In front of Block S Ngo Gia Tu Apartment, District 10 | Price: From VND 20,000 
  • Banh trang tron Nhat Quynh: 78/10 Ho Thi Ky, Ward 1, District 10 | Price: VND 10,000 – 20,000 

Fresh spring roll – Goi cuon

The best spring roll should have the fresh and strong flavors | Photo by Flickr: Kirk K

You don’t have to wait until spring to get a roll of pork, prawn, vegetables, rice vermicelli and many more ingredients. Fresh spring roll is the quintessential Vietnamese appetizer, served with peanut sauce or other Vietnamese dipping sauces. 

What can you expect from Goi cuon, one of the best Saigon street foods? Definitely the fresh and bold flavors. While many restaurants include this dish on their menu, you can find fun sitting on a plastic chair and enjoy every bite of the roll. Choose your favourite culinary style and wait for cool rolls on the way to your mouth!

»» Where to eat?

  • Goi cuon Minh: 84/33 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 12,000
  • Cuon va Cham: 93 Bis Nguyen Van Thu, Da Kao Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 8,000 – 15,000
  • Goi cuon Tran Van Dang: 207/A Tran Van Dang, Ward 9, District 3 | Price: From VND 5,000

Sweet soup – Che

If you love fats then Che Thai is just great! | Photo by Xoi Che Bui Thi Xuan

In the mood for some sweet cooling dessert? If you have a sweet tooth then you’ll soon have an eye for different kinds of sweet soup. There’s nothing more enjoyable on a boiling hot day than eating this sweet dish. It’s your choice to have different ways to devour the sweetness. 

Once you’ve filled up your stomach with a main dish, one serve of sweet soup is really needed to see how diverse Saigon street food is! There are endless variants of Che to choose from and all are super affordable and tasty for sure. If you want to enjoy as many flavors as possible, try Che thap cam (mixed sweet soup), if you’re into some herbal remedies, Sam bo luong (Ching bo leung) and Che hat sen (lotus seed sweet soup) are both fine, if you’re addicted to fats then get ready to be crazy about Che Thai (Thai sweet soup) with jackfruit, lychee, longan, etc, mixed with coconut juice. 

»» Where to eat?

  • Che Co Giang: 85 Co Giang, Co Giang Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 15,000 – 20,000 
  • Be Che: Kiosk 1154-1130, Gate 7 Ben Thanh Market, Phan Chu Trinh, District 1 | Price: VND 17,000 – 39,000
  • Xoi Che Bui Thi Xuan: 111 Bui Thi Xuan, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1 | Price: VND 25,000 – 55,000
  • Che Thai Y Phuong: 380 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Ward 4, District 10 | Price: VND 20,000 – 40,000 
  • Che Hien Khanh: 718 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ward 1, District 3 | Price: VND 15,000 – 33,000

Snails – Oc

Lost yourself in “snail culture” | Photo by Oc Khanh

May it be time to forget fast food? Slow down with “snail culture” in Ho Chi Minh where it’s not so hard to see hundreds of street stalls selling hundreds of types of snails, catering to your own taste. Eating snail alone? It’s a pity as your story will not complete, drinking beer makes things even more fun! 

The best part of eating snail you should name is definitely when you deep snail in the spicy and sour sauce, in addition to eating fresh herbs like lemongrass, Vietnamese mint or some slices of cucumber. To be a part of “snail culture” in Vietnam, you should try clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, shrimp and many other shellfish you’ve probably never seen or heard in your food life before. 

»» Where to eat? 

  • Oc Dao: C79 Nguyen Trai, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 60,000
  • Oc Khanh: 25/5 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 25,000
  • Oc Oanh: 534 Vinh Khanh, Ward 8, District 4 | Price: From VND 50,000
  • Oc Nhu: 650/4/29D Dien Bien Phu, Ward 11, District 10 | Price: From VND 30,000
  • Oc Vinh Nho: 5 Thao Dien, Thao Dien Ward, District 2 | Price: From VND 30,000

Sizzling pancake – Banh xeo

Discover what’s inside this crispy crust | Photo by Flickr: shapegirl80

People say much about various dishes of Vietnamese noodles but few know that the quintessence of Vietnamese cuisine also manifests in the sizzling pancake. The tempting name recalls the funny sound when each pancake is made. Traditionally, the pancake is made out of rice flour, turmeric powder, water, and that’s for the crispy yellow crust while the fillings are generously packed with shrimp, slices of pork, bean sprouts, and onions. 

Thanks to the skilled makers, you can enjoy the crispy tasty pancake and with every bite, don’t skip the opportunity to smell the exquisite coconut fragrance that will last long after that. For those who want more vegetables, simply wrap a piece of sizzling pancake in mustard leaf, lettuce leaf and stuffed with mint leaves, basil, fish mint and other herbs.    

»» Where to eat? 

  • Banh xeo Dinh Cong Trang: 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 75,000
  • Banh xeo An la ghien: 74 Suong Nguyet Anh, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1 | Price: From VND 60,000
  • Banh xeo 335: 335 Dien Bien Phu, Ward 4, District 3 | Price: From VND 45,000
  • Banh xeo Long Huy: 129 Cach Mang Thang 8, Ward 5, District 3 | Price: From VND 90,000 
  • Banh xeo Nhat (Japanese style sizzling pancake): 15B/11 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 | Price: From 50,000

Grilled banana – Chuoi nuong

Saigon street food
Coconut meat and peanuts are sometimes added to the grilled banana dish | Photo by Flickr: Thảo Huỳnh

Each and every single Vietnamese street food has a special allure, but grilled banana is extremely special as it’s also listed in the list of Top 20 Street Food Masters of the Year at the World Street Food Congress. If you love banana then try it in a different way of cooking – grilled over charcoal.   

There are two typical ways to serve the grilled banana: plain grilled banana or grilled banana with sticky rice. The dish becomes unique thanks to thick sweet coconut milk that is draped all over it. In an effort to make the dish of grilled banana more varied, the seller may sometimes add coconut meat and peanuts into the mix. Even so, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, just tell the seller beforehand to have less coconut milk. 

»» Where to eat?

  • Chuoi nep nuong Nam Bo – Ut Lua: 115 Phan Dang Luu, Phu Nhuan District | Price: From VND 13,000
  • Chuoi nep nuong Vo Van Tan: Alley 378 Vo Van Tan, District 3 | Price: From VND 15,000
  • Chuoi nep nuong Tran Dinh Xu: 115B Tran Dinh Xu, District 1 | Price: From VND 15,000 – 22,000
  • Chuoi nep nuong Xom Chieu: 72 Xom Chieu, District 4 | Price: From VND 9,000

Great streets for Saigon street food

Streets in Ho Chi Minh City are too infamous for motorbike galore when tourists have confessed that crossing street is a true nightmare. But wait, there are things worth your effort: mouth-watering street treats. Just stop at one of these streets and have a bite of your favorite Saigon street food.

1. Co Giang Street, District 1

A busy corner at Co Giang Street

Apart from the well-known Bui Vien Street, if you’re strolling around District 1, rejuvenate and reward yourself after a day of sightseeing on the city streets with food. If it’s hard to choose what Saigon street food to eat, eat where the locals eat, and it’s going to be good. The more, the merrier, isn’t that right?

»» What to eat? 

Sweet soup, rice noodles with grilled meat, steamed baguette, coconut sticky rice.

2. Alley 177 Ly Tu Trong, District 1

You can find ample stalls selling different types of Saigon street food in this small alley

After you have had enough exploration at Ho Chi Minh Museum, it’s a good idea to head straight to the Alley 177 Ly Tu Trong to look for what makes the alley really stand out. This is where you find super cheap Saigon street food that fits all students’ budget, and some students really love speaking English with foreigners.

»» What to eat? 

Beef intestine stew, fresh fruits, fun guo, fried rice flour cake with eggs

3. An Duong Vuong Street, District 5

If you stop at An Duong Vuong Street, don’t forget to try the delectable grilled octopus

The street connects two big districts namely District 5 and District 10. Saigonese often joke that: “If you want to eat the best, head to District 5; if you need to have a good sleep, make your way to District 3”. This is no exaggeration as District 5 is home to ample restaurants to street stalls serving all and everything you need to satisfy your taste buds.

»» What to eat? 

Fresh spring roll, smoothies, grilled chicken leg, grilled octopus

4. Alley 76 Hai Ba Trung, District 3

Just choose whatever food you want at a super cheap price

The alley stretches over 10 meters is where you can come across local students, office workers and foreign tourists flock to. You don’t have to worry too much about food safety. Despite at a super cheap price, these street dishes are made by kind vendors who put their hearts into every single dishes.

»» What to eat?

Thai noodles, chicken rice, rice noodles with grilled meat, beef intestine stew, snails, sweet soup

5. Around the Turtle Lake, District 3

Saigon street food
Eating and watching the traffic zooming around you will be cool!

If you love authentic Vietnamese street food you will love visiting the Turtle Lake. This spot has more to offer than a fresh breath for urban citizens, that’s the street food. Just look for the ad hoc stalls, the plastic chairs, feast out on delicious food and watch the vehicles traveling around you.

»» What to eat?

Grilled rice paper, stir-fried corn and chilli, tofu pudding with ginger soup, steamed sticky rice

Don’t worry about street food safety or how challenged it is to communicate with local vendors for your favorite dish. Go with us to enjoy the fresh food and get the opportunity to interact with the locals cheerfully. Contact us here.

Trinh Tran

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