A Saigon food tour in Xom Chieu market

Saigon (former name of Ho Chi Minh city) is a paradise of street foods which can be found everywhere in the city. Street foods are sold popularly on pavements of main streets, at corners in back alleyways, at local markets, in street food areas. Xom Chieu (or 200) market in the center of District 4 is one of the most famous street food areas in Saigon. Xom Chieu market is surrounded by 4 streets: Le Van Linh, Dinh Le, Le Thach and Le Quoc Hung. There are over 50 street food stalls which serve a wide range of delicious street foods which are originated in different regions of the country. The day Xom Chieu market opens in the morning and afternoon with local vendors who sell fresh produce, household supplies, clothes, etc. The night Xom Chieu street food market opens from 5:pm until late night every day. Xom Chieu market is a favorite place for many foodies in Saigon because street foods are cheap and delicious. When the sun is going down, Xom Chieu market is crowded and noisy, vendors quickly serve the foods to customers who chat and laugh while eating and drinking. All of the customers look happy and satisfied. It is something very Saigon where people go out for street foods at night after a long working day. Let’s do a Saigon food tour in Xom Chieu market and find out what we can eat there. I promise you will not be hungry leaving the market.

Savory foods

1. Crab soup, pork brain, and century egg (Súp cua)

What a colorful soup! Crab soup is one of the most favorite street food in Saigon because it is at low price, nice-looking, healthy, comfort and tasty. This amazing soup is made from not less than 10 ingredients: tapioca starch, crab meat, egg, chicken, quail egg, shrimp, corn, century egg, coriander, pork brain, crab stick, sautee, soybean sauce, ground black pepper, etc. Tapioca starch is used to make the crab soup gelatinous. The soup should be served hot. Vendor keeps the soup warm on an oven. A portion of crab soup can warm your stomach and satisfy your taste.

Where to eat? – Súp cua Hằng street food stall at C200/18, Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

Where to eat? – Súp cua Phượng street food stall at C200/18, Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

2. Stewed organs (Phá lấu)

Vietnamese people have turned pork and beef organs which are usually thrown away. Organs (intestines, stomach, liver, lung, etc.) of pork or beef are washed carefully, marinated with various spices (ginger, garlic, galangal, fish sauce, soybean sauce, chili powder, five spices, star anise, cinnamon, curry leaf), cooked for several hours until tender. Stewed organs are crunchy, chewy, tender and broth is rich and smelling. The food is usually served with crispy outside, airy and tender inside plain bread, dipping fish sauce, and Vietnamese mint. They also serve Noodle soup with stewed organs which is worth a try.

Where to eat? – Phá Lấu Oanh street food stall at C200/20, Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

3. Noodle soup with baby clam and snail (Mì ốc hến)

A hot bowl of Noodle soup with baby clam and snail can fulfill and warm your stomach. This street food consists of a flavorful broth which is cooked from snails and baby clams, noodles (rice noodles or instant noodles), toppings (baby clam meat, snail meat, Vietnamese mint, deep-fried shallot), and morning glory. The soul of this food is the crunchy, chewy but tender baby clam meat and snail meat. Because the broth is cooked from baby clams and snails so that it tastes different from other Vietnamese noodle soups.

Where to eat? – Mì Ốc, Hến Dì Lan street food stall at 92B/20 Ton That Thuyet, District 4, HCMC

3. Snail and seafood in bowl (Ốc tô)

Snail and seafood in some street food stalls in Xom Chieu market are not served in plates but bowls. There are various kinds of snails and seafood which are cooked in various cooking methods for your choice. Most of the snail and seafood dishes are cooked right after ordering, the ingredients are fresh. So that you will have a chance to enjoy the best Snail and seafood dishes when you come to Xom Chieu market. Some of the recommended dishes: Toasted sweet snail with salt and chili pepper, Stir-fried mud creeper with coconut milk, Steamed clam with lemongrass, Toasted ocean crab leg with salt and chili pepper, Stir-fried blood clam with tamarind.

Where to eat? – Ốc Tô street food stall at C218 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

Where to eat? – Ốc Tô street food stall at 224 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

4. Vietnamese bread (Bánh mì)

Vietnamese bread is famous around the world and it is always listed as one of the must-try foods in Vietnam. Although there are hundreds of Vietnamese bread in Saigon, you can find an outstandingly tasty version of Banh mi in Xom Chieu. You can ask the vendor to fill crispy and warm plain bread with a combination of some fillings including Vietnamese pork roll, Vietnamese pork head roll, Vietnamese cold cuts, pork floss, char siu pork, pork ear, pork liver, Doi truong pork sausage, pork skin strips, canned fish, chili pepper (or chili paste). Crunchy, sweet and sour daikon and carrot pickles, juicy cucumber, aromatic coriander, greasy patee, butter should not be missed.

Where to eat? – Bánh mì Thanh street food stall at 179 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

5. Grilled bread with salt and chili pepper (Bánh mì nướng muối ớt)

Grilled bread with salt and chili pepper has just become popular in Saigon for a few years ago. In Xom Chieu food market area, you can easily find bread which is pressed to be flat, covered with butter, butter, a sauce from satay chili paste, chili powder, salt, sugar, and grilled until crispy and smelling. That is not done. The bread is cut into pieces, topped with pork floss, sausage, toasted dried small shrimp, green onion oil, mayonnaise, and chili sauce. The food should be eaten warm to make sure the bread is still crispy. Are you mouth-watering and excited to eat this food?

Where to eat? – Bánh mì nướng muối ớt street food stall at 200 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

6.  Sticky rice paper roll with butter (Bánh tráng cuốn dẻo)

Sticky rice paper roll with butter is a snack which has just become popular in Saigon for a few years. Made by wrapping boiled quail egg, shredded dried squid, shredded green mango, Vietnamse mint, deep-fried shallots in sticky orange rice paper into a roll which is cut into chunks and topped with mayonnaise. The greasy sauce which is made by beating egg yolk, lime juice and oil is one of the highlights of this food. The rice paper for this food is not the one used for the famous Vietnamese spring roll. To make this food, they use sticky rice paper in Tay Ninh.

7. Fried rice paper (Bánh tráng chiên)

Rice paper is known as a wrapper for Spring roll, Fried roll, Rice paper roll, and used as the main ingredient for Rice paper salad – one of the most favorite snack. Saigon people have just created a new recipe from rice paper – Fried rice paper. Fry the paper in oil until crispy and expanded, break fried rice paper into pieces, top them with fried chicken, pork floss, ground pork, beef jerky, boiled quail egg, deep-fried pork lard, fried shallots, pickled daikon and carrot, toasted peanuts, tamarind sauce, chili sauce, tomato sauce.  Although this street food is a little oily, you should give it a try.

Where to eat? – Bánh tráng chiên Dì Đường street food stall at 200 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

8. Rice paper salad (Bánh tráng trộn)

As mentioned above, Rice paper salad has been one of the most favorite snacks in Saigon for some years thanks to low price and great taste. The main ingredient of this street food is rice paper which is cut into strips, then mixed with various ingredients including shredded green mango, minced Vietnamese mint, dried small shrimp, fried shallots, toasted peanuts, beef jerky, dried squid, kumquat juice, chili sauce, mayonnaise, a special sauce made from hoisin.

Where to eat? – C200/26 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

9. Beef jerky and green papaya salad (Gỏi khô bò)

Beef jerky and green papaya salad is a famous Saigon street food which includes shredded green papaya, beef jerky, dried beef liver, Vietnamese mint. The salad is served with a special sauce made from soybean sauce, lime juice, garlic, chili pepper. Just pour the sauce on to the salad, mix so that the sauce plays off the others, then tuck in. This crunchy, sweet, sour, buttery food is worth a try in Xom Chieu street food area.

10. Vietnamese spring roll (Gỏi cuốn)

Because Vietnamese spring roll is so famous that there is no need to talk so much about it. In Xom Chieu market, you can enjoy delicious and cheap Spring rolls made from boiled shrimp, boiled pork belly, pork ear, rice noodles, herbs, bean sprouts and garlic chives. The dipping sauce – the soul of the roll is a secret of the vendor.

Where to eat? – Gỏi cuốn Dì Út street food stall in Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

11. Stir-fried fertilized quail egg (or duck egg) with tamarind (Trứng cút/Hột vịt lộn xào me)

Fertilized quail egg (or duck egg) is well-known in a food fear factor in the world but it is a favorite of many Vietnamese people. Fertilized quail egg (or duck egg) is stir-fried with tamarind sauce and topped with Vietnamese mint, crushed toasted peanuts, fried shallots, scallion oil. Do not be afraid of this food. Let come to Xom Chieu night street food market, eat and find out how amazing Stir-fried fertilized quail egg (or duck egg) with tamarind.

Where to eat? – Trứng vịt lộn xào me Phượng street food stall in Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

12. Grilled quail egg cake (Bánh nướng trứng cút)

Grilled egg cake is also a recipe which has just created by Saigon people some years ago. Quail egg is grilled with chopped scallions, ground pork, dried small shrimps in a special pan until well-done and crispy. The cakes are topped with pork floss, chili sauce, tomato sauce, mayonnaise.

Where to eat? – Bánh tráng chiên Dì Đường street food stall at 200 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

13. Stir-fried short-tubed pasta (Nui xào)

Vietnamese stir-fried short-tubed pasta is a familiar food to Saigon people for many years. In the past, students, pupils, and workers, etc. usually eat this food as a meal. It is a simple recipe, just stir-fry short-tubed pasta with meat, vegetables (mustard greens, carrot). The food is served with sweet and sour dipping soybean sauce and chili sauce.

Where to eat? – Mì & Nui Xào street food stall at 12 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

14. Mixed Hue cakes (Bánh Huế thập cẩm)

Famous Hue cakes including Glutinous rice flour dumplings with shrimp and pork, Duc cake, Clear tapioca dumplings with shrimp and pork, Rice flour cake with shrimp and pork, Shrimp cake are served in a plate, topped with minced dried shrimp, crispy bread cubes, pickles, coconut milk sauce. The plate of cakes is served with sweet and sour dipping sauce. Enjoying Hue foods in Saigon sometimes is interesting, the cakes are not less delicious than that in Hue.

Where to eat? – Bánh Huếstreet food stall in Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

Above are amazing savory street foods in Xom Chieu market. After eating them, let’s find some cakes and desserts to fulfill your stomach if you would like to eat more and spend more money 🙂

Cakes & Desserts

15. Fried cakes (Orange cake, Fried cassava cake, Fried sweet potato, Fried banana cake)

At a street food stall which serves different kinds of fried cake, they use big pan to fry the cakes until crispy and smelling.

Orange cake (Bánh cam)

Orange cake is a traditional Vietnamese food which has crispy glutinous rice crust coated with sesame and mung bean paste filling. It is crispy outside but tender, buttery inside.

Fried cassava cake or Hot cake (Bánh cay)

To make this food, make a dough from cassava, green onion, tapioca starch, wheat flour, chili pepper, curry powder, salt, sugar, form the dough into oblate spheroid, then fry them until crispy outside, tender, sticky and airy inside.

Fried sweet potato (Bánh khoai lang chiên)

Sweet potato is sliced, coated with wheat flour mixture, fried until crispy outside, buttery and tender inside.

Fried banana cake (Bánh chuối chiên)

Fried banana cake is a very famous street food which is made by frying banana piece coated with wheat flour mixture, fried until crispy outside, sweet and tender inside.

Where to eat? – Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

16. Braised banana with sugar (Chuối ngào đường)

Braised banana with sugar is considered as “a specialty food of Xom Chieu market” because this market is the best place to eat the food. Brown, shining, sticky, sweet banana is topped with smelling sesame can win the hearts of most people.

Where to eat? – Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

17. Cow cake (Bánh bò)

Cow cake is a favorite Vietnamese traditional cake which tastes sweet tender, airy, and greasy. It is made from rice flour, yeast, coconut milk, food colorings (pandan leaf extract, magenta leaf extract, etc.). Cow cakes are packed in plastic bags for selling in the market.

Where to eat? – Bánh bò nước dừa street food stall at C200/15 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

18. Sweet silk-worm cake (Bánh tằm)

Sweet silk-worm cake is also a favorite Vietnamese traditional cake which is made from cassava, coconut meat. Colorful cassava strips look like worms so that they are called silk-worm cake. The strip is mixed with shredded coconut meat, topped with a mixture of sugar, a little salt, sesame and peanuts. Similar to Cow cake, this cake is put in plastic bags.

Where to eat? – Bánh bò nước dừa street food stall at C200/15 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

19. Vietnamese traditional cakes

If you would like to learn more about traditional cakes, you can buy some of these colorful cakes. Ear cake, Shrimp cracker, Sugar-preserved tamarind, Fish cake, Tube cake, etc.

Where to eat? – Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

20. Flan cake (Bánh flan)

Flan cake is made from egg, fresh milk, condensed milk, sugar, coffee (or pandan leaf extract, tea powder, cheese, cocoa, etc.). The smooth, greasy, extremely tender is served with shaved ice and coffee. This great food can make you refreshing.

Where to eat? – Bánh flan bảy vị street food stall at 223 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

21. Sweet soup (Chè)

Sweet soup is one of the most popular desserts in Saigon as well as Vietnam. They sell sweet soups in most of the local markets in Vietnam. In Xom Chieu market, you can easily order some portions of different kinds of sweet soups. Jelly, tapioca pearls, lotus roots, cooked beans, coconut milk sauce are arranged in bowls. Vendors are pleased to serve the sweet soups at your wish.

Where to eat? – Chè Hà Trâm street food stall at C200/8 Xom Chieu, District 4, HCMC

22. Fried ice cream (Kem chiên)

Fried ice cream is a creative and yummy street food in Saigon. The crispy sandwich crust and cold ice cream can surprise you with its great taste. It is a perfect mix of sandwich, ice cream and the cooking method of frying.

Where to eat? – Xom Chieu market, District 4, HCMC

Are you excited at eating these amazing Saigon street food at Xom Chieu market? Saigon is not only Vietnamese street foods in luxury restaurant but street foods at local markets, in street food back alley area. If you do not know how to enjoy Saigon street food, do not hesitate to book a Saigon food tour by motorbike with local guide who are happy to introduce and serve you various foods which could not be found out of the city.

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