Have you ever been in Saigon and heard about Ho Thi Ky market? Most of the travelers are stuck in District 1, Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels and visit must-see places on their trip to Saigon. Located in an area of Ho Thi Ky street and its alleys, Ho Thi Ky market is a Saigon’s hidden gem with the biggest flower market of the city and the Cambodian market inside the flower market. Coming to this market, you will have chances to not only admire the beauty and enjoy the fragrance of hundreds of colorful flowers but also taste flavorful dishes in the Cambodian market (Le Hong Phong market) where there are many Cambodian, Cambodia-Vietnamese vendors sell Cambodian products and foods. Are you ready? Let me tell you about my Saigon street food tour in Ho Thi Ky flower market. Most of the foods are great tasty, strange and unique so that they are worth your try.
1. Beef hot pot (Lẩu bò)
When you order Beef hot pot, they will bring to you a mini gas stove with a pot of hot pot’s broth, lean beef, beef organs, beef balls, garlic chives, onions, daikon on it. The hot pot is served with Pho noodles, egg noodles, mushrooms, vegetables, taro, tofu, tofu skin.
Where to eat? – Lẩu bò cô Thảo restaurant at 84/10 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 1:00 AM – 12:00 PM; Price: 100,000-220,000 VND
Lẩu bò cô Thảo also serves stir-fried dishes from beef, beef organs. Grilled dishes at the restaurant are also tasty, you can order some portions of marinated beef, beef breast, pork organs, wild pork, etc. and grill it at the table yourself.
2. Clear rice noodle soup with snail (Hủ tiếu ốc)
Similar to other kinds of Vietnamese rice noodle soups, Clear rice noodle soup with snail consist of clear rice noodles, broth, and toppings. Clear rice noodles are thin, chewier, stickier and more smelling in comparison to rice noodles which are used to make Spring rolls or Rice noodles with grilled pork. The broth is cooked from pork bones, snails, lemongrass, chili pepper so that it is rich, clear, smooth and hot. This amazing noodle soup is topped with crunchy and sweet-tasty boiled snail meat, steamed clams, some slices of Vietnamese pork roll, minced pork and wood ear meatballs, chopped green onions and herbs. Clear rice noodle soup with snail will satisfy your taste and warm your stomach.
Where to eat? – Hủ tiếu ốc chú Tũn restaurant at 57/21 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM; Price: 15,000-30,000 VND
At this restaurant, all of the ingredients are chosen carefully, they must be fresh so that the broth and toppings taste delicious. Besides Clear rice noodle soup with snail, Hủ tiếu ốc chú Tũn restaurant also serves Phá lấu ốc which is cooked from snail, curry, coconut milk. Its broth tastes like curry dishes’s broth which is rich, greasy, sweet, salty, and hot. It is served with aromatic Vietnamese mint and crispy and warm plain bread.
3. Stir-fried worm-like rice flour jelly (Bánh lọt xào)
Droplets of worm-like rice flour jelly are ingredients of many delicious desserts in Vietnam such as Worm-like rice flour jelly with mung bean and coconut milk, Agar agar, mock pomegranate, and worm-like rice flour jelly, etc. In Ho Thi Ky flower market, you can find a unique food which is made from the jelly: Stir-fried worm-like rice flour jelly. It is a simple recipe: stir-fry droplets of worm-like rice flour jelly with bean sprouts, creamy egg, tender garlic chives. However, the cook should be experienced so that worm-like rice flour jelly is sticky, chewy, not too tender, the bean sprouts are not tender but juicy, crunchy, the egg blends the others well. The food is served with sweet, salty and hot soybean sauce dip. It is a perfect mix of all ingredients. Although it is a little oily, you should give it a try. You can not find it out of the market.
Where to eat? – Bột chiên Phụng street food stall at 87/23 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM; Price: 15,000-25,000 VND
Bột chiên Phụng is also famous for tasty Pan-fried scrambled egg rice cake. To make this kind of street food, fry steamed rice flour pieces with egg in a flat pan until crispy. Then serve it with pickled shredded green papaya, sweet, sour soybean sauce, and minced chili pepper. Crispy outside, tender inside rice flour pieces go well with creamy egg and the sauce.
4. Grilled beef on lemongrass stick (Nem bò nướng sả)
Anyone who passes by a street food stall at 57/27B Ho Thi Ky could not stand for the charming smell of Grilled beef on lemongrass stick on charcoal. Ground pork and beef are mixed with minced onion and spices are wrapped around lemongrass sticks, brought to grill until smelling, well-done, brown, crispy outside, and tender inside. Instead of using bamboo or wooden sticks or skewers, they use lemongrass stick which enhances the flavor of this grilled dish. Grilled beef on lemongrass stick is served with morning glory pickle, Vietnamese mint, and chili sauce.
Where to eat? – 57/27B Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM; Price: 10,000 VND
5. Green papaya salad (Gỏi đu đủ)
Green papaya salad is a favorite snack which is made from various ingredients. To make this salad, mix shredded green papaya, Mắm ruốc fermented shrimp paste, peanuts, herbs, a mixture of minced long yard beans, limes, chili peppers, shallots. The salad has a great taste and it will whet your appetite.
Where to eat? – 57/15 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM; Price: 15,000-20,000 VND
6. Steamed pumpkin dessert (Chè bí chưng)
Pumpkin is filled with a mixture of coconut milk, condensed milk, egg yolk, then steamed until cooked through. Cutting the pumpkin into pieces which have tender, yellow pumpkin flesh and smooth, creamy, opaque white filling. I would like to recommend to eat a portion which consists of Steamed pumpkin, palmyra fruit pulp, jelly, durian, tamarind white kernel, coconut milk sauce, shaved ice.
Chè cô Huôi which was established about 40 years ago is the best place to eat delicious dessert in Ho Thi Ky market.
Where to eat? – Chè cô Huôi at 57/21A Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM; Price: 15,000-20,000 VND
At this stall, you can also eat Steamed sticky rice with durian sauce and coconut milk sauce, Grilled banana and coconut milk dessert, Tamarind and coconut milk dessert which is made from sticky and chewy tamarind white kernel, etc.
7. Num bo choc rice noodle soup (Bún num bò chóc)
Num bo choc rice noodle soup is a must try food in Ho Thi Ky market thanks to its unique taste, strange name, perfect ingredient combination of and complex recipe. When you come to a stall or restaurant serving Num bo choc rice noodle soup, you can smell the typical and attractive smell from the boiling broth which spread in the air. Ordering a portion of Num bo choc rice noodle soup, they will bring you a bowl which consists of white rice noodle, yellow broth, snakehead flesh, a plate of vegetables (pink banana blossom, light purple water lily stem, yellow river hemp, green morning glory, celery, long yard bean) and a plate of aromatic herbs (great basil, spearmint). What a colorful food! It has been said that you should eat colorful food which provides a range of health benefits and affect your happiness.
The smelling and rich broth, which is made from snakehead, turmeric, lemongrass, auttum crosscus, kaffir lime, pro hok fermented fish, etc. is the soul of this food. A broth is usually difficult to cook because of the typical fishy smell of snakehead. The cook must be experienced and skillful to use all of the spice above to cook a flavorful, clear, smelling broth. When eating, you can feel the broth plays of the tender, slippery, a little chewy rice noodles and the sweet-tasty, tender, firm snakehead flesh. All of the vegetables and herbs are fresh, each of them has its own texture, taste, and aroma which enhance the flavor of the noodle soup. Some customers prefer to order snakehead head to eat with the rice noodle soup.
Although there are some stalls and restaurants in Ho Thi Ky market where you can eat this food, I would like to recommend Tu Xe restaurant which is approximately 50 years old. The restaurant is named after Mrs. Tu Xe – Cambodia-Vietnamese who established it. According to the current owner of this restaurant is Mrs. Tu Xe’s son – Mr. Ngo Van Khoa, he uses wild snakeheads which are caught in rice fields, swamps, lakes, rivers to cook the food so that it is better than that includes farmed snakehead. Every 3-4 days, he goes to Cambodia to buy pro hok fermented fish and other ingredients for the noodle soup. Although this food is originated in Cambodia, it has been changed to meet the local taste of Saigon people. Especially vegetables such as water lily stems, river hemp, banana blossom are specialty food of Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.
Where to eat? – Tư Xê food restaurant at 57/27 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM; Price: 40,000-65,000 VND
8. Canh bun rice noodle soup (Canh bún)
Canh bun rice noodle soup is a traditional Vietnamese food which is very popular in South Vietnam, especially Saigon. The rice noodle soup has many toppings including blood pudding, fried tofu, Vietnamese pork roll, Vietnamese beef roll, crab cake, morning glory. The broth is very clear and rich, it is cooked from pork bone, dried shrimp, onion, crab meat, etc. You can add fish sauce, lime juice, minced chili to the noodle soup at your wish. A portion of Canh bun rice noodle soup can fulfill and warm your stomach.
Where to eat? – in an alley at 382 Le Hong Phong, District 10; Open time: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM; Price: 23,000-25,000 VND
9. Grilled rice cracker (Bánh tráng nướng)
Grilled rice cracker originated in Dalat where it is cool during the year. Grilled rice cracker has become one of the most favorite street food in Saigon. To make this food, the vendor at 57/19 Ho Thi Ky tops Phan Rang rice cracker with quail egg, sausages, corns, pork floss, deep-fried shallots, cheese (optional) then bring to grill until the cracker crispy. To serve, the vendor cut the round cracker into pieces, top them with mayonnaise and chili sauce. The food should be eaten right after grilling so that the cracker is still crispy.
Where to eat? – 57/19 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 2:00 PM – 6:30 PM; Price: 10,000-15,000 VND
10. Crab soup (Súp cua)
There are not less than 10 ingredients for Crab soup: chicken, crab meat, mushroom, quail egg, corn, green onion, coriander, chili pepper, pea, tapioca starch, pork bone, century egg, pork brain, crab stick, shrimp, etc. The soup has gelatinous broth and should be served hot. In my opinion, the extremely tender, greasy and healthy pork brain and century egg which has dark green to grey egg yolk with a creamy consistency and strong flavor and the dark brown, translucent jelly egg white with a salty flavor are worth trying. Crab soup is usually eaten with soybean sauce and chili sauce.
Where to eat? – Súp cua Thảo street food stall at 68/4 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM; Price: 15,000-20,000 VND
11. Cambodian clear rice noodle soup (Hủ tiếu Campuchia)
Cambodian clear rice noodle soup at Tứ Quý restaurant is simply topped with lean pork slices, ground lean pork, intestines, chopped green onions, deep-fried shallots, and minced herbs. Chewy clear rice noodles and the rich broth are highlights of this food. The “secret” dipping sauce which is sweet and salty attracts customers to come to the restaurant. In addition, various fresh vegetables (bean sprouts, salad, garlic chives, celery) and herbs are also served with this rice noodle soup.
If you do not like to eat clear rice noodles with the broth, you can order portion of Cambodian dry clear rice noodle. The broth is served separately in a bowl, clear rice noodles and toppings are mixed with a special sauce and served in another bowl.
Where to eat? – Tứ Quý restaurant at 84 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 6:00 AM – 12:00 AM; Price: 32,000 VND
12. Street foods from rice paper (Các món với bánh tráng)
Bánh tráng Nhật Quỳnh street food stall serves a variety of foods from rice paper. Most popular and delicious among them are:
Rice paper and butter dip (Bánh tráng chấm bơ) consists of rice paper cut into pieces, a mixture of quail egg cut in half, scallion oil, beef jerky, a special black sauce “nước khô bò đen”, and butter.
Rice paper roll consists of rice paper rolls cut into chunks, scallion oil, garlic, peanuts, shredded mango. The rice paper roll is made by wrapping Vietnamese mint, quail egg, etc. in orange sticky rice paper. This food is dipped in sweet-sour tamarind sauce.
Where to eat? – Bánh tráng Nhật Quỳnh street food stall at 78/10 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 6:00 AM – 12:00 AM; Price: 32,000 VND
13. Hue cake (Bánh Huế)
In Ho Thi Ky market, there is a famous street food stall which serves many kinds of delicious Hue cakes, you can order a portion of mixed cakes which includes Bloating-fern shaped cake, Clear tapioca dumplings with shrimp and pork, Rice flour cake with shrimp and pork, Glutinous rice flour dumplings with shrimp and pork are served in a plate, topped with Vietnamese pork/beef roll, Fertilized pork, crispy bread cubes, minced dried shrimp. The sweet-sour dipping fish sauce is poured on to the cakes and toppings when eating.
Where to eat? a street food stall which is opposite the address 57/27 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 2:00 PM – 6:30 PM; Price: 10,000-25,000 VND.
14. Fertilized duck and quail egg dishes (Trứng vịt lộn và Trứng cút lộn)
There is a wide range of dishes from 2 foods fear factor fertilized duck and quail egg. They can be boiled, stir-fried with tamarind sauce, stir-fried with butter, stir-fried with garlic, toasted with salt. Do not be afraid, you will love these foods fear factor.
Where to eat? Cô Thúy street food stall 57/23 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 1:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Price: 20,000-40,000 VND.
15. Baby clam and prostrate knotweed porridge (Cháo hến rau đắng)
A bowl of Baby clam and prostrate knotweed porridge consists of bean sprouts, prostrate knotweed, rice porridge, baby clam meat, deep-fried shallot. It is usually eaten with youtiao which is a long golden-brown deep-fried strip of dough. The food is really healthy, tasty, comfort and cheap.
Where to eat? Cô Thúy street food stall 93/24 Ho Thi Ky, District 10; Open time: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM; Price: 15,000-20,000 VND.
16. Rice noodle soup with fish cake (Bún chả cá)
The broth of this rice noodle soup is cooked from seawater fish bones and heads, so that it is rich and clear. The dish is topped with firm fish flesh, chewy fish cake, fish head (optional). Vegetables go with this dish are shredded cabbage and salad which are mixed well like salad. Mẫn restaurant will serve this dish with a very special fish sauce dip with chili pepper.
Where to eat? Bún chả cá Nha Trang Mẫn restaurant 418/44 Le Hong Phong, District 10; Open time: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Price: 30,000 VND.