An ultimate Ho Chi Minh City Eating Guide

It has been said that a trip to Ho Chi Minh could not be complete if you do not enjoy the city. As a Saigoneer, I am passionate about the amazing foods of the city which is a big part of my life. Eating lots of great foods in many places in Saigon, I would like to share with you all the things I know about the foods and eating places in the city. I also include some useful tips on transportation, currency, payment, gratuity, and not get sick 🙂 in this An ultimate Ho Chi Minh City Eating Guide.

I. Eating styles in Ho Chi Minh City

Upscale restaurants

Ho Chi Minh City has both modern skyscrapers and stilt houses. The city is home to not only rich people but poor people. Some eating places are located in luxury buildings and houses on main roads. These places are for people who like sitting in spacious and beautifully decorated areas. They are pleased to pay for perfect services, expensive but safe and delicious dishes cooked by professional cooks. However, only a small number of people living in Saigon can eat at upscale restaurants. The price of a meal at a 5-star hotel costs up to a few millions of VND (a few hundreds of US dollars). The average salaries of poor Saigon including workers, motorbike taxi drivers, porters, and dockworkers are less than 10 millions of VND. They can only pay less than 30,000 VND (~1.25 USD) for a meal.

Cuc Gach Restaurant

Casual restaurants

At casual restaurants, the prices are less expensive than at luxury restaurants. Certainly, the services there are not as perfect as at luxury restaurants. These are the choices of middle-class people including officers.

Street eats

Street foods are cheap and delicious because they are cooked and operated by the owners. The foods are sold outdoor or under roofs, and usually served at small plastic/wooden tables with stools. They even sell the foods on moving carts or motorbikes. Most of the Saigon people are familiar with eating at stalls or restaurants on the pavements, in alleyways, local markets, street food areas. Cheap eats in the city are often crowded, noisy, and sometimes dirty.

You may ask me if it is safe to eat at cheap eats. The answer is yes if you choose trusted eateries. Street eats are the choices of students, pupils, teenagers, poor people, and some rich people. Sometimes, rich people and famous artists come to famous cheap eats to enjoy their favorite foods. Famous long-standing street food stalls and restaurants are usually crowded with customers who are pleased to queue in lines.

Outdoor BBQ restaurant

The Lunch Lady – a cheap eat recommended by Anthony Bourdain

Takeaway

Some food stalls do not have tables and chairs or stools for customers to sit and eat. Certainly, noodles soups, grilled dishes, hot pots could not be taken away. They usually sell takeaway Banh mi, Steamed sticky, desserts, rice paper salad, etc.

A street food stall sells takeaway Vietnamese pizza

Fast foods

In the recent 5 years, fast food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC, Lotteria, Jollibee, Burger King, Texas Chicken, Popeyes, Pizza Hutz, Domino Pizza, The Pizza Company, have opened more and more restaurants. Young people and families love eating Western-style fast foods including pizza, hamburgers, fried chicken, etc. Although the prices of these foods are a little higher than some cheap Vietnamese foods, Western fast food restaurants are usually crowded at lunch, dinner, and on weekends.

Which is good for tourists?

If you are a wealthy tourist, I will recommend you the best restaurants offering great services in the city. However, trying some street foods at the best street food stalls is worthy. It is a good way to learn more about city life and culture. It is fun and interesting to eat like locals, right? If you are a traveler on a budget, I will share with you the most famous eating places which offer cheap, safe, and tasty foods.

II. Best foods in Ho Chi Minh City

In Ho Chi Minh City, you can find international and authentic Vietnamese foods, Northern and Central foods, snacks and main dishes. It is not easy to list the best foods in the city but it is a must. I hope the list of the best foods, the best places to eat them, and the prices helps you to eat Saigon at its best. I have chosen different eating places offering different prices so that you can choose from them for your budget. I would like to divide the amazing foods of the city into some groups as below:

Best Foods for breakfast: Vietnamese bread, Steamed sticky rice

Vietnamese bread (Bánh mì, Banh mi)

Vietnamese bread (Banh mi) is so famous that I do not need to write more about it. Check out 19 Best Vietnamese Sandwich Fillings In Ho Chi Minh City and the best places to eat. I prefer the Banh mi filled with Pork roll, Char sew pork, pate, cucumbers, pickled daikons and carrots, and a delicious sauce. Most of the Vietnamese bread shops in Saigon sell take-away Banh mi except for Bánh Mì Hòa Mã, Bánh Mì Nguyên Sinh, and Highlands Coffee coffee shops. I would like to share my favorite Banh mi shops as below:

  • Banh Mi Hong Hoa, 62 Nguyen Van Trang Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:00; Prices: 12,000 – 17,000 VND; Highlights: cheap price, great taste.
  • Banh Mi Huynh Hoa, 26 Lê Thị Riêng Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:00; Prices: 38,000 – 52,000 VND; Highlights: lots of fillings and big bread, long-standing Banh Mi shop.
  • Highlands Coffee coffee shops; there are 97 coffee shops at the time I write this blog, check locations of the shops; Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:00 (different at different shops); Prices: 20,000 VND; Highlights: reasonable price, spacious and air-conditioned coffee shops with free Wifi.
  • Banh Mi Nguyen Sinh, 141 Tran Dinh Xu Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 – 21:00; Prices: 60,000 VND; Highlights: since 1982.
  • Banh Mi Hoa Ma, 51 Cao Thang Street, Ward 3, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 10:00; Prices: 50,000 – 60,000 VND; Highlights: since 1958.
  • Banh Mi Bay Ho, 23 Huynh Khuong Ninh Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 13:00 – 18:00; Prices: 15,000 VND; Highlights: cheap prices, over 80-years-old.

Steamed sticky rice (Xôi, Xoi)

I wish that you had enough time in the city to eat all of the Banh mi at the above shops. They are all worth trying. Steamed sticky rice is also my favorite food because it is cheap, fast, portable, and filling. There are various versions of this food. Savory versions are topped with pork floss, Chinese sausage, pate, pork roll, shredded chicken, grilled pork, etc. Sweet versions are distinguished by the extras such as orange Gac meat, different kinds of beans, magenta plant extract.  Sweet steamed sticky rice is usually topped with crushed peanuts, toasted sesame, sugar, sometimes shredded coconut meat. My favorite places to eat steamed sticky rice are as below:

  • Xoi Che Bui Thi Xuan, 111 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 6:30 AM – 22:00; Prices: 15,000 – 30,000 VND; Highlights: since 1977.
  • Xoi Tam Cau, crossroads of Cao Thang Street and Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 12, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 17:00 AM – 23:59 PM; Prices: 10,000 – 20,000 VND; Highlights: over 60 years old.
  • Xoi Nha Xac, 409 Tran Phu Street, Ward 7, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 15:30 AM – 23:59 PM; Prices: 10,000 – 20,000 VND.

Best foods for light meal or supper: Pan-fried scramble egg rice cake, Grilled beef in betel leaf, Vietnamese pancake

Pan-fried scramble egg rice cake (Bột chiên, Bot chien)

You rarely see Saigon people eat Pan-fried scramble egg rice cake, Grilled beef in betel leaf, Vietnamese pancake during the day but in the evening. Although Pan-fried scramble egg rice cake is a little oily, its taste is really amazing. The cake consists of pieces of boiled rice flour, fried with egg, topped with julienne green papaya, eaten with dipping soy sauce. I usually eat this food at:

  • Bot Chien Dat Thanh, 277 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 14:00 – 21:00; Prices:  20,000 – 30,000 VND; Highlights: the oldest Pan-fried scramble egg rice cake in the city.
  • Bot Chien Phung Khac Khoan, 63 Phung Khac Khoan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 16:00 – 23:00; Prices:  15,000 – 25,000 VND; Highlights: cheap cost.

Grilled beef in betel leaf (Bò lá lốt, Bo la lot)

Grilled beef in betel leaf consists of ground beef wrapped in betel leaves, grilled on charcoal, served with rice paper, various vegetables and herbs, and a special dipping sauce. To eat, wrap all in a piece of rice paper into a roll, dip in the sauce and tuck in. I would like to recommend you to eat this food at:

  • Hoang Ty Restaurant
    • Location:
      • 70 – 72 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City;
      • 1 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City;
    • Opening hours: 10:00 – 23:00; Prices: 50,000 – 110,000 VND; Website: https://hoangty.vn/; Highlights: famous restaurant franchise, diverse menu.
  • Cô Lieng, 321 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:30 – 21:30; Prices: 50,000 VND.

Vietnamese pancake (Bánh xeo, Banh xeo)

Vietnamese pancake is popular not only in Ho Chi Minh City but also in different regions of the country thanks to its crispy crust, amazing dip, the freshness of vegetables and herbs, and flavorful fillings. The version of Vietnamese pancake in Saigon is bigger, thinner, and crispier than other versions of this cake in other places. So that it would be a huge miss if you do not eat this food in the city. The most popular version of the pancake in Saigon is filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, sometimes mung bean paste. Saigon people love to wrap the crust, fillings, herbs in a lettuce or mustard greens, then dip in a sweet and sour sauce before eating.

  • Banh Xeo Đinh Công Tráng (known as the oldest Banh Xeo restaurant in Saigon), 46A Dinh Cong Trang Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:30 – 14:00; 16:00 – 21:00; Prices: 55,000 – 320,000 VND; Highlights: the oldest Vietnamese pancake restaurant in Saigon.
  • Banh Xeo Ngọc Sơn,  103 Ngo Quyen Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 21:00; Prices: 40,000 – 110,000 VND; Highlights: one of the oldest Vietnamese pancake restaurant in Saigon.
  • Co Ba Vung Tau, 40B Tran Cao Van  Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 20,000 – 205,000 VND; Website: http://cobavungtau.com; Highlights: spacious and beautifully decorated restaurant, safe and very tasty pancake.

Noodles with grilled pork (Bún thịt nướng, Bun thit nuong)

Noodles with grilled pork is a specialty food of Saigon. The food consists of rice noodles, cucumber, bean sprouts, daikon and carrot pickles, herbs, crushed peanuts, green onion oil, grilled pork, sometimes fried roll, grilled beef in wild betel. This amazing food is served with sweet and sour dipping fish sauce. You can eat it at:

  • Bun Thit Nuong Co Ba, 287/68 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 13:00 – 21:00; Prices:  33,000 – 38,000 VND.
  • Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen, 175 Co Giang Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 20:00; Prices:  30,000 – 66,000 VND.
  • Bun Thit Nuong Vi Sai Gon, 87 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 8, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 5:00 – 22:00; Prices: 38,000 – 52,000 VND.
  • Bun Thit Nuong Ba Them, Alley 88 Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 16:00; Prices:  35,000 – 45,000 VND.

Broken rice fried rice (Cơm tấm, Com tam)

Broken rice attracts me with the broken rice that is 2 or 3 times smaller than the normal rice seed. Steamed broken rice is more comfortable to eat than the normal steamed sticky rice. Although there are many toppings for broken rice, I like to eat this rice with grilled pork chop – the most popular topping. The must toppings include onion oil, cucumber, daikon and carrot pickles. You can see they grill the pork in front of Broken rice restaurants, the sweet smell fills the air and makes you mouth-watering. Just pour the sweet fish sauce dip onto the rice, use a spoon and a fork to eat the rice with the toppings. I am a fan of Broken rice so that I have a long list of Broken rice restaurants to share with you: Cơm Tấm

  • Com Tam Thu Thao, 459 – 461, Le Dai Hanh Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00; Prices: from 40,000 VND; Highlight: one of the oldest Broken rice restaurants.
  • Com Tam Thuan Kieu, 26 Ton That Tung Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 20:45; Prices: 25,000 – 275,000 VND; Website: http://comtamthuankieu.com.vn; Highlight: famous Broken rice franchise.
  • Com Tam Tu Map, 812 Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 12, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 14:00; 17:00 – 21:00; Prices: 15, 000 – 60,000 VND.
  • Com Tam Ba Ghien, 291 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 5, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 21:00; Prices: 35,000 – 85,000 VND; Highlight: over 23 years.
  • Com Tam Nguyen Van Cu, 167 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 2, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:30 – 15:00; Prices: 50,000 – 130,000 VND.
  • Com Tam Kieu Giang, 192E Tran Quang Khai Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 40,000 – 70,000 VND; Highlight: famous Broken rice franchise.
  • Com Tam Cali, 32 Nguyen Trai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Website: https://www.comtamcali.com; Highlight: famous Broken rice franchise.

Pho

There is no need to write so much about the most famous Vietnamese noodle soup – Pho. The food wins the hearts of all ages thanks to the rich broth, a little chewy and tender Pho noodles, beef slices, sometimes crunchy beef ball, beef tendon. In Saigon, they love to eat Pho with vegetables, black soybean paste, and chili paste. There are lots of good Pho restaurants in the city. I would like to recommend some of the famous and oldest as below:

  • Pho Dau, Cu Xa 288, Alley 288 M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 5:00 – 11:00; Prices: 74,000 VND; Highlights: over 50 years old.
  • Pho Hoa, 260 Pasteur Street, Ward 8, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 80,000 – 95,000 VND; TripAdvisor: Pho Hoa; Highlights: over 50 years old.
  • Pho Minh, 63/16 Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:30 – 10:00; Prices: 60,000 – 80,000 VND; TripAdvisor: Pho Minh; Highlights: over 60 years old.
  • Pho Hung, 371 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; other locations of Phở Hùng at http://phoonghung.vn/en/location; Opening hours: 6:00 – 22:00; Prices: 58,000 – 79,000 VND; Highlights: famous Pho restaurant franchise.
  • Pho 24, 158D Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Check other Phở 24 restaurants at https://www.pho24.com.vn/en/locations; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 49,000 – 69,000 VND.

Snail, seafood, BBQ dishes

Snail & seafood dishes (Ốc, Oc)

There are a few countries where people love to eat snails so that you should not miss a big chance to taste lots of snail dishes including grilled and stir-fried snails. My favorite dishes at snail restaurants include Stir-fried mud-creeper with coconut milk, Grilled sweet snail with salt and chili, Grilled garlic snail, Grilled blood cockle, Grilled scallop with green onion oil, Steamed clams with lemongrass, Toasted ocean crab with salt and chili pepper, Fermented duck egg. You should suck or use a pick to eat the snail meat. Saigon people usually gather to eat some snails and drink some beers at night. It has become a cultural feature which is called “eating snail”. Below is the list of places to eat safe and delicious snail dishes.

  • Oc Dao, 212/C79 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 10:00 – 22:30; Prices: 50,000 – 100,000 VND; Highlight: located in an alley where you can immerse into local life.
  • Oc Tre Mot, B10 Thanh Thai Street, Ward 14, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 11:00 – 23:59; Prices: 70,000 – 120,000 VND; Highlight: spacious restaurants.
  • Oc Quang Anh, 189 To Hien Thanh Street, Ward 13, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 13:00 – 23:00; Prices: 50,000 – 110,000 VND; Highlight: located in a crowded food area.
  • Oc Oanh, 534 Vinh Khanh Street, Ward 8, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 16:00 – 23:00; Prices: 50,000 – 165,000 VND; Highlights: big snails, clams, and seafood, good location in Vinh Khanh Street – a paradise of snail lovers.
  • Oc Khanh, 25/5 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 12:00 – 22:00; Prices: 35,000 – 90,000 VND; Highlights: owned by Ms. Le Khanh – a famous artist in Saigon.

BBQ dishes (Đồ nướng, Do nuong)

Similar to snail dishes, BBQ dishes are usually eaten at night. At BBQ restaurants, dinners grill marinated meat, organs, seafood, vegetables on charcoal ovens by themselves. And I think it is fun to grill the foods. You can experience “eating BBQ” at the best places to eat Vietnamese barbecue:

  • Panda BBQ, 1Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 16:00 – 22:30; Prices: 5,000 – 290,000 VND.
  • Lau Nuong Nguyet Hy, 192 – 194 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Ward 4, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 17:00 AM – 22:00; Prices: 30,000 – 55,000 VND.
  • Ben Thanh night market, Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 17:00 – 23:59; Highlights: crowded and fun.
  • Barbecue Garden, 134 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 11:00 – 23:00; Prices: 150,000 – 300,000 VND; Highlights: good services, diverse menu.
  • Xien Khe, 117 Tran Khac Chan Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 16:00 – 23:00; Prices: 80,000 – 165,000 VND; Highlights: reasonable prices.
  • 3T Restaurant, 2nd floor, 29-31 Ton That Thiep Street,  District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 17:00 – 23:00; Prices: 50,000 – 330,000 VND; TripAdvisor: 3T Restaurant; Highlights: diverse menu, good services, spacious restaurant.

Snacks: Rice paper salad, Vietnamese pizza, Beef jerky and papaya salad

Rice paper salad

Rice paper salad is an amazing mix of rice paper strips, beef jerky, dried squid, Vietnamese mint, shredded green mango, crushed peanut, and special sauce. This salad is usually sold at takeaway shops on the streets including the famous Rice paper salad Nguyen Thuong Hien Street. When I would like to eat some Rice paper salads, I usually come to one of the following shops:

  • Banh Trang Tron Long, 34 Nguyen Thuong Hien Street, Ward 5, District 1; Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00; Prices: 10,000 – 35,000 VND.
  • Banh Trang Tron Chu Vien, 38 Nguyen Thuong Hien Street, Ward 5, District 1; Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 11:00 – 19:00; Prices: 20,000 – 35,000 VND.
  • Banh Trang Tron Co Thao, 90 Nguyen Thuong Hien Street, Ward 5, District 1; Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:30 – 20:00; Prices: 10,000 – 25,000 VND.

Vietnamese pizza

Vietnamese pizza consists of a girdle cake topped with various toppings including quail egg, sausage, dried small shrimp, mayonnaise, ketchup, butter, grilled on charcoal until crispy. Street vendors grill the cakes right on the street and you will see how they are skillful. Most of the Vietnamese pizza open in the evening. Prices range between 10,000 and 30,000 VND.

  • A street food stall near Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Street food stalls at Turtle Lake.
  • 223 Nguyen Tri Phuong street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Goc Da Lat, 386/43B Le Van Si, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

Beef jerky and papaya salad

Similar to Vietnamese pizza and Rice paper salad, Beef jerky and papaya salad is cheap but delicious. The soul of this food is the sweet sauce which plays off julienne green papaya, beef jerky, Vietnamese mint, sometimes dried cow/pig liver and slung. Best places to eat this salad are as below:

  • Goi kho bo Cong vien Le Van Tam, 259A Hai Ba Trung, Ward 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (in the opposite of Le Van Tam park); Opening hours: 12:00 – 21:30; Prices:  20,000 VND.
  • Goi kho bo Ong Nam, 76 Nguyen Van Thu Street, Dakao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 13:30 – 18:30; Prices:  13,000 – 29,000 VND.
  • Goi kho bo Phuong Lien, 12 Nguyen Huy Tu Street, Dakao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 15:30 – 22:00; Prices:  12,000 VND.
  • Goi kho bo Dinh Tien Hoang, 38 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Dakao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 14:00 – 19:00; Prices:  20,000 – 30,000 VND.

Foods fear factors: Stewed organs, Boiled fertilized duck egg

Stewed organs

Pha lau - Noodle Soup With Stewed Organs In Vietnam

 

You may have never seen foods from animals’ organs until you come to Vietnam. In the city, they love to eat Stewed organs with bread and noodles. Vietnamese cooks use many techniques and spices to remove the bad smell from pig’s and cow’s organs. Then they cook the organs for some hours until tender. I usually eat this stew at Pha Lau Li:

  • Pha Lau Li, 1A Suong Nguyet Anh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 11:00 – 22:00; Prices: 26,000 – 36,000 VND; Highlight: food safety and hygiene.

Boiled fertilized duck egg

Boiled fertilized duck egg

Boiled fertilized duck egg is worth a try, it is really delicious and healthy. Do not think that it is a food fear factor and you can enjoy the egg at its best. You can order a few Boiled fertilized duck egg at snail restaurants.

Desserts: Vietnamese sweet soups, flan cake

Vietnamese sweet soups

There are dozens of Vietnamese sweet soups in Saigon and it is perhaps the king dessert in the city. So that you should not miss this food. I would like to list some of the best Vietnamese sweet soup restaurants and stalls as below:

  • Khanh Vy Stall, 242B Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 2, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 17:00 – 22:30; Prices: 10,000 VND; Highlights: low cost, passed through 3 generations.
  • Ky Dong Restaurant, 16C Ky Dong Street, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 9:00 – 22:00; Prices: 20,000 VND; Website: https://www.chekydong.com/; Highlights: one of the oldest Vietnamese restaurants in the city.
  • Hien Khanh, 718 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 1, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 9:00 – 12:30; 14:30 – 22:00; Prices: 17,000 – 33,000 VND; Highlights: since 1959.
  • Che Cot Dien, 476 – 478 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 17:00 – 22:30; Prices: 15,000 – 33,000 VND; Highlights: sweet soups in Chinese style, over 75 years old.

Flan cake

Soft, lightly sweet flan cake, topped with some black coffee and ice is very popular in the city. You can order these cakes at many dessert restaurants and stalls.

  • Banh Flan Chi Muoi, Alley 14 Tran Binh Trong Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 12:30 – 19:00; Prices: 5,000 – 10,000 VND.
  • Xoi Mit Si Gon, 187/5/6 Co Giang Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 9:00 – 21:00; Prices: 35,000 VND/ 4 cakes.

III. Best upscale restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City

Below is the list of Ho Chi Minh City’s famous restaurants which offer spacious and cool dining areas, great services, and flavorful Vietnamese authentic dishes. The prices at these restaurants are high and they are usually crowded. Because the places are famous and recommended in many magazines and guide books, you can see lots of tourists there.

  • Ngon Restaurant (Quan An Ngon), 160 Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 23:15; Prices: from 80,000 VND; TripAdvisor: Quan An Ngon; Highlights: since 2001.
  • Co Tam Kitchen Restaurant, 71 Ho Tung Mau Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00; Prices: 35,000 – 220,000 VND.
  • Com Nieu Restaurant
    • 59 Ho Xuan Huong Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00.
    • 27 Tu Xuong Street, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 – 22:00.
    • Prices: 150,000 – 500,000 VND; Website: https://www.comnieusaigon.com.vn; TripAdvisor: Com Nieu Sai Gon; Highlights: steamed rice is cooked in clay pot, “flying rice” is served by breaking the clay pot.
  • Cuc Gach Quan, 10 Dang Tat Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 23:00; Prices: 110,000 – 330,000 VND; Website: http://www.cucgachquan.com.vn/en; TripAdvisor: Cuc Gach Quan; Highlights: Angelina Jolie ate here on her Ho Chi Minh City trip.
  • Dong Pho Restaurant, 57 Ho Xuan Huong Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 14:00; 17:00 – 21:30; Prices: 89,000 – 330,000 VND; Website: http://www.dongphorestaurant.com; TripAdvisor: Dong Pho Restaurant.
  • Hoa Tuc Restaurant, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 11:00 – 22:30; Prices: 50,000 – 330,000 VND; Website: http://www.hoatuc.com/wordpress; TripAdvisor: Hoa Tuc Restaurant.

IV. Best street food streets in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon has a huge system of hundreds of streets which lined with countless restaurants and street food stalls. Some special streets are famous for special foods. For example, Su Van Hanh Street is famous for Bo la lot and Vietnamese pancake. On Ha Ton Quyen Street, there are dozens of restaurants serving wonton soup. Below is the list of the special streets, short descriptions about the foods, and some good places to eat.

Mixed fruits street – Nguyen Canh Chan Street, District 1

Mixed fruits street consists of cubes of fruits (dragon fruit, papaya, mango, apple, sapodilla, longan, rambutan, etc.), topped with shaved ice, syrup, condensed milk, sometimes shredded coconut meat, crushed peanuts. One of the best places to eat Mixed fruits street on Nguyen Canh Chan Street is  Trai Cay Dia Truc.

  •  Trai Cay Dia Truc, 33/7 Nguyen Canh Chan Street, Cau Kho Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 16:00 – 22:00; Prices: 30,000 VND.

Crab soup street – Co Giang Street, District 1

You may think that Crab soup is expensive because of the high price of crab. However, Crab soup with gelatinous broth is a famous street food in Saigon. There are not less than 10 ingredients for Crab soup: quail egg, crab, chicken, corn, tapioca starch, etc. One of the best places to eat Crab soup on Co Giang Street is

  • 53 Co Giang Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 12:30 – 21:30; Prices: 30,000 VND.

Elongatus fish hot pot street – Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, District 3

Elongatus fish hot pot

  • Lau Ca Keo Ba Huyen, 87 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00; Prices: 150,000 VND.

Vietnamese rice paper salad street – Nguyen Thuong Hien Street, District 3

  • The rice paper salad and Nguyen Thuong Hien Street have been mentioned above.

Snail street – Vinh Khanh Street, District 4

Vinh Khanh Street in District 4 – the former mafia hotspot is lined with dozens of snail restaurants

  • Oc Oanh, 534 Vinh Khanh Street, Ward 8, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 16:00 – 23:00; Prices: 50,000 – 165,000 VND

Vietnamese sweet soup street – Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, District 10 & District 5

  • Che Thai Y Phuong, 380 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 4, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 8:00 – 23:00; Prices: from 33,000 VND.

Vietnamese pancake and Grilled beef in wild betel leaf street – Su Van Hanh Street, District 10

  • 004 Block H, Ngo Gia Tu Apartment Buildings, Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 2, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 16:00 – 21:00; Prices: 20,000 – 60,000 VND.

Wonton soup street – Ha Ton Quyen Street, District 11

  • Sui Cao Thien Thien, 195 Ha Ton Quyen Street, Ward 4, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City; Open time: 13:30 – 1:00 (midnight); Prices: 50,000 – 60,000 VND.

V. Best food markets in Ho Chi Minh City

Besides food markets which are home to hundreds of street food restaurants and food stalls, there are other food areas. The most famous food areas are Trung Son and Co Giang food areas which attract thousands of dinner every night.

VI. Best cheap foods in Ho Chi Minh City

For budget travelers who would like to eat the city on the cheap, I would like to recommend the cheapest exotic Saigon foods: Vietnamese bread, Steamed sticky rice, Spring roll, Fried roll, Vietnamese pizza, Grilled girdle cake, Rice paper salad, Vietnamese sweet soup, Flan cake. These foods only cost from 15,000 VND (~0.5 USD).

VII. Best cheap eats in Ho Chi Minh City

Having lots of cheap eats, Ho Chi Minh City is really a paradise for budget travelers. Cheap eats are everywhere and you can fill your stomach easily with 2 dollars. Most of the cheap eats are located in street food markets, food streets, or in hidden alleys mentioned above.

VIII. Best places to eat fast foods in Ho Chi Minh City

KFC

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 59; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (different at different restaurants); Prices: 29,000 – 365,000 VND; Website: https://kfcvietnam.com.vn; Click HERE to find locations of KFC restaurants in Saigon.

KFC Le Lai, 78 Le Lai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:30 – 22:00.

KFC Tran Hung Dao, 330 Tran Hung Dao Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 23:00.

McDonald’s

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 18; Opening hours: 7:00 – 23:00; Some restaurants such as McDonald’s Phu Lam open 24/24 on Friday and Saturday; McDonald at Tan Son Nhat airport opens 24/7 ; Prices: 40,000 – 290,000 VND; Website: https://mcdonalds.vn ( (choose English language on the footer of the website); Click HERE to find locations of McDonald’s restaurants in Saigon (choose English language on the footer of the website.

McDonald’s Buu Dien, 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 23:00.

McDonald’s Ben Thanh, 2-2A Tran Hung Dao Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 24/7.

Lotteria

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 84; Opening hours: different at different restaurants (choose English language on the website); Website: http://www.lotteria.vn (choose English language on the website); Price: 30,000 – 300,000 VND.

Lotteria Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, 11Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 23:00.

Lotteria Tran Quang Khai, 2 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:30 – 23:00.

Jollibee

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 17; Opening hours: different at different restaurants; Click HERE to find locations of Jollibee in the city (choose English language on the website); Website: https://jollibee.com.vn.

Jollibee, 194D Pasteur Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 30,000 – 175,000 VND; Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00.

Burger King

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 6; Opening hours: different at different restaurants; Click HERE to find locations of Burger King in the city (choose English language on the website); Website: https://burgerking.vn.

Burger King Pham Ngu Lao, 275 – 277 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 30,000 – 175,000 VND; Opening hours: 10:00 – 4:00 (on the next day).

Popeyes

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 16; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (different at different restaurants); Click HERE to find locations of Popeyes in the city (choose English language on the website); Website: https://popeyes.vn.

Popeyes, 58/13 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 40,000 – 299,000 VND; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00.

Pizza Hutz

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 38; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (different at different restaurants); Click HERE to find locations of Pizza Hutz in the city; Website: https://www.pizzahut.vn/en/order.

38A Tran Hung Dao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 69,000 – 229,000 VND; Opening hours: 10:00 – 23:59.

Domino Pizza

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 32; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (different at different restaurants); Click HERE to find locations of Domino Pizza in the city; Website: https://dominos.vn/en-US/Default.aspx.

31Bis Tran Quang Khai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 69,000 – 299,000 VND; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00.

The Pizza Company

Number of restaurants in Saigon: 32; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (different at different restaurants); Click HERE to find locations of The Pizza Company in the city; Website: http://thepizzacompany.vn/en/.

31Bis Tran Quang Khai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 69,000 – 299,000 VND; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00.

IX. Transportation – How to get to eating places in Ho Chi Minh City

Taxi

Taxi with air-conditioner is comfortable and safe. The fare is not very expensive but not cheap, about 16,000 VND/km. A taxi can take you to restaurants on the main streets easily. Tell the driver to stop on the main street and walk to the eating places in alleys, crowded streets, and pedestrian streets. Sometimes, you have to wait for a long time in a taxi in rush hours. Sitting in a taxi, you could not see and smell many interesting things on the streets. Read more about Ho Chi Minh Taxi Guide.

Bus

 

Bus is convenient and safe. The bus fare is cheaper than taxi fare, you only pay 5,000 – 20,000 VND for a 15-km-long journey. However, you must walk from the nearest bus station to the eating place. It is not easy for a foreigner to find the right bus so that you can check out the ultimate Ho Chi Minh City Bus Guide for more information.

Motorbike

Motorbike can take you to eating places in alleyways so that it is a good choice. It is true that motorbike is the best mean of transportation for street food eating. Check out the complete Travel Ho Chi Minh by Motorbike for a lot of useful information. However, it is not safe on a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh if you do not have any experience on motorbikes. You can join a Saigon food tour by motorbike on which local guide drive you around and serve you the best foods.

Walking

As mentioned above, you should walk to the eating places if you go eating by taxi or bus. Be careful when you cross the streets and survive the super crazy traffic. Do not wear jewelry and watch your bags carefully, especially in narrow and dark alleys. It is recommended to go with a partner or a local. That is the reason why you should book a tour to eat at hidden places in Saigon.

Read more details about the advantages, disadvantages, fares, scams, and many useful tips at https://scootersaigontour.com/how-to-get-around-saigon

X. Currency, payment, gratuity

At some restaurants, they accept credit cards and US dollars. However, I would like to recommend to pay in VND cash. It is true that the restaurants may overcharge your credit cards and foreign transaction fees are applied. Paying in US dollars is always more expensive than VND cash. You should be careful to check the Vietnamese bank notes before handing them over. Count the number of zeros on the notes and flick the notes which can be stick together. Prepare small money because some street food vendors do not have changes available. For example, you can not get change for 500,000 VND at a Vietnamese pizza stall because this food costs only 15,000 VND. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Vietnamese Currency in Ho Chi Minh City.

In Vietnam, gratuity is not a must. So that you can leave a small gratuity if you are happy with the service. The staffs including waitresses, bartenders, cooks will be very happy with it. The recommended gratuities amount will increase from 10,000 VND to 100,000 VND. In my opinion, tipping 5-10% of the total price of the meal is ok. At street food stalls, 50,000 VND is too much for tipping. Some rich people tip beautiful waitress hundreds of thousands of VND. At some restaurants, 5-15% service charge is included in the bill. The amount will be shared by the staffs later. Should you tip if there is a service charge? It depends on you. If you think they deserve more than the service charge, you can leave the tip for them.

XI. Some eating tips

Chopsticks, fork, spoon, and fingers

You will eat most of the Vietnamese foods including noodle dishes, Rice paper salad with chopsticks. It may be new and not easy for travelers who are familiar with forks, spoons, and knife. I believe you can do that well. In Vietnam, it is ok to eat Vietnamese pancake with your fingers. Some of the foods eaten with fork and spoon in Vietnam include Vietnamese sweet soup, Flan cake, Pan-fried scrambled egg rice cake, Broken rice.

Eating snail

In order to eat mud-creeper, you can suck at its mouth. To remove the meat of the snails from the shells, Vietnamese people usually use bamboo or stainless sticks.

XII. Ho Chi Minh Food Tour

Eating Saigon is a great thing to do on your trip. How to eat the city to its fullest? It is easy to eat at fine dining restaurants which are for rich people and tourists. However, the real Saigon is at local restaurants which are favorite places of many Saigon people. Reaching the local restaurants outside of District 1 sometimes is difficult for foreigners. A Saigon Food Tour is a great choice to immerse into the city life, enjoy all the exotic foods with your tour guides as friends. You can choose day or night food tour, just food stop or a mix of sightseeing and food stops. The followings are some of the best Ho Chi Minh Food Tour in the city: XO Tours, Back of the Bike Tours, One Trip, Vespa Adventure, Scooter Saigon Tour.

 

 

 

An ultimate Ho Chi Minh City Eating Guide
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