Saigon cuisine culture is considered as a mixed hotpot because it’s a perfect blend of Western and Eastern cuisine, the past and modern, etc. Locals and tourists know about a non-sleeping Saigon in which life is busy, noisy and crowded with people sell and buy goods and foods from early morning until late at night. The city is over 300 years old. Sometimes we say it’s old, sometimes we say it’s young. The city has a lot of hundred-year-old trees, parks, restaurants, hotels, and markets but there are more and more buildings have been built making the city like a growing old tree. Thousands of tourists come to visit Saigon and immerse themselves into the busy local life. They will find something unique which is different from polite Hanoi and closed Central Vietnam.
Saigon is the political and economic center of South Vietnam so that Saigon has most of the foods from this region, especially Mekong Delta. Mekong Delta food plays an important part in Saigon cuisine because Mekong Delta is located next to the city and many people come from the delta to Saigon to live and work. They have brought various recipes into Saigon such as Banh Xeo, Crab Noodle Soup, Soup Cake, Clear Rice Noodle Soup and Mekong Delta Sweet Soup and desserts. Most of the foods from peaceful Mekong Delta are simple and easy to find ingredients. Rice noodle soups are favorite of Mekong Delta people because they can grow rice. Fish, shrimp, pork, frog, bird are everywhere in lakes and rice fields and they are usually used to cook many kinds of foods. Mekong Delta people love to eat bean sprouts and herbs with most of the foods. Coconut trees stretch until the horizontal in Mekong Delta. It’s the reason why they use coconut crème to make desserts greasier and tastier. Hotpot is also a favorite of people there because they have meat, fish, shrimp, and vegetables available. On raining days, farmers couldn’t go to work on their rice fields and gather to enjoy hotpot and drink some rice wine.
In addition, there’s no lack of foods originated from North and Central Vietnam. Pho Hanoi has been sold in Saigon for a long time. Hue Beef Noodle Soup and Cakes such as Banh Beo, Banh Loc, Banh Nam… from Central Vietnam have won the heart of locals. A lot of restaurants serve Northern and Central foods grow in Saigon.
Western people have brought their foods into the country during the time war and make Saigon cuisine richer and richer. French people brought Bread into Vietnam and it has become one of the most popular food in the city. Vietnamese Sandwich is one of the most famous street foods around the world. In the past, Saigon people had the chance to taste Sausage from Germany, American Hamburger, Russian Salad, Grilled Meat from Czesk and beers.
There is a wide range of flavorful Chinese foods in China Town where Chinese people live in the city. In recent days, foods from Thai, Lao, Cambodia, Singapore are served popularly.
Saigon people have opened their hearts to accept and love new dishes from other culture. However, we have created many versions of these new foods to make them meet the local expectation. It still keeps the tradition as you can see foreigners using chopsticks to eat Noodle Soup.
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.