Eating is a big part of any trip to a new place. Eating is not only to fill your stomach but also learn more about culture and lifestyle. You are a lucky traveler who is planning or has already in the city where there are hundreds of amazing foods. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) satisfies most of the travelers with its huge collection of great foods. Food Tours are popular in food cities, including Saigon. It may be new to you because you may have been familiar with traditional city tours and having your meals at restaurants for tourists. Let me share with you an ultimate guide to enjoy Saigon Foods and Saigon Food Tour at its best.
Why choosing Saigon Food Tour?
Eat local foods at hidden places
On most of the package tours and tours operated by travel agencies, they serve you normal Vietnamese foods at restaurants which are for tourists. The restaurants are spacious and offer car parking, restrooms, free meals for drivers and guides, good prices for tour agencies, and other facilities for tourisms. The food quality is good and the foods are tasty. But the foods there are not the BEST FOODS you can eat in the city. The BEST FOODS in the city are hidden in street food areas, food markets, and small alleyways.
Eat with local people
You may see lots of tourist around you at the restaurants on normal tours. On a Saigon food tour, you will be taken to places where local people eat. It is really a good way to see and immerse yourself in local life.
“Eat with local people” also means you will go with a local tour guide who takes care of you as well as possible. The guide will choose a good place to sit, order the foods, explain to you how to cook, and eat the foods in the right way.
Go to the right place
List of foods and places to eat can be read easily on the Internet. However, there are many sources of information and some of them are not updated. For instance, a local restaurant has been closed permanently, the opening hours or the location of the restaurant have been changed.
Food safety & hygiene
It is true that there are many eateries selling dirty and cheap foods at high prices. Food Tour agencies usually have done a wide range of researches on food safety & hygiene when choosing restaurants and foods for the tour. You can count on them and feel free to eat the foods.
Save your time
Are you able to go around and eat at 4 stops within a few hours by yourself? It can be done on a Saigon Food Tour.
Save your money
They usually serve you from 5 dishes on a Saigon Food Tour. For example, Scooter Saigon Tour serves you more than 10 dishes. I think that most of the tourists would like to sample as many dishes as possible. The restaurants may offer tour agencies better prices than on menus. Prices of Saigon Food Tours range between 35 and 90 USD, depending on the tour agencies, programs, routes, foods and drinks included, and durations. A Saigon Food Tour can help to maximize your budget.
Which Saigon Food Tours are available?
At this time, there are 2 main groups of Saigon Food Tours: Saigon Food Tour by Motorbike and Walking Saigon Food Tour. Both have pros and cons which are as below:
Saigon Food Tour by Motorbike
Motorbike is the most flexible, effective, convenient, and fastest way to go around Saigon.
It can take you through narrow back alleys to unseen places.
On the back of motorbike, you can see interesting on the streets and alleys.
You can explore more places in more districts including less-wandered districts in comparison to Walking Food Tours.
Cons: Some tourists, including old people and families with kids may be scared of sitting on the back of motorbike.
My recommendation: Most of the drivers know that you are not familiar with motorbikes so that they usually drive slowly and take care of you as well as possible. They can give you a small quick instruction before starting the tour. The drivers from trusted motorbike food tour agencies are well-trained, helpful and experienced.
Walking Saigon Food Tour
Sitting in the cab with air-conditioner like on Ho Chi Minh City Tour by Car and get out of the cab when you arrive at the eating places. It is safe and comfortable.
This tour can save your energy although you still walk around the food areas or food markets.
If you are aware of motorbikes, this is a perfect choice.
Saigon is usually in rush hours so that it takes more time in a car/taxi than on a motorbike to reach a place on the tour route.
You can not visit as many districts as on Motorbike Saigon Food Tour. Walking Saigon Food Tour usually include 1 or 2 stops while on motorbike tours you are taken to 4 stops.
A mix of city tour and food tour
Some tour agencies offer mixed tours on which you can visit attractions (see the sights) and eat local foods at local restaurants. This is also a good choice if you would like to enjoy the city in a different way. Just stay away from the most popular tours such as Ho Chi Minh City Tour Half Day by Car. There are some choices including Ho Chi Minh City & Food Tour, Ho Chi Minh Unseen & Food Tour.
Specific Saigon Food Tours
They also offer Saigon Vegetarian Food Tour, Saigon Food Fear Factor Tour, Saigon Home Meal Tour.
Tips on choosing a Saigon Food Tour
How to find Saigon Food Tour?
References from your friends, forums, groups on social media, travel guide book, and travel magazines.
Search on TripAdvisor on which you can read reviews, compare prices, and book.
Search on Google for some keywords such as: “Saigon Food Tour”, “Ho Chi Minh Food Tour”, “Top Saigon Food Tour”, “Best Saigon Food Tour”, “Ho Chi Minh City & Food Tour”. You will find many results including advertisements of Saigon food tours, Saigon food tours on resellers’ website, websites of tour agencies which provide Saigon food tours.
It is not easy to pick a tour from a wide range of choices with different programs, agencies, and prices.
How to learn more about the tours and agencies
Read reviews on TripAdvisor and on websites of tour resellers.
Read reviews on forums, groups on social media, travel guide book, and travel magazines.
Contact with the tour agency via email, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Wechat, Kakao Talk, etc.
Tips on Saigon Food Tour
Do not eat so much before the tour but not stay too hungry. Eat some snacks or fruits if you are really hungry before the tour. It takes more than 10 minutes to meet your guide, get on motorbike/car, then drive and walk to the eating places.
Do not drink too much on the tour because it will make you feel full.
Do not eat the first dish or at the first stop so much. You still have many dishes to try at the next stops.
What to bring on a Saigon Food Tour?
Dress code: comfortable clothing such as shorts, T-shirt, tank top, trousers, sandals, sneakers, even slippers.
Electronics: smartphone and camera are recommended but it is better to have a phone ring or camera trap to avoid snatch theft.
Jewelry: valuable bracelets, necklaces should not be carried on the tour.
Poncho, helmet, tissues, bottle of water: tour agencies usually provide them.
Below is the list of Saigon Food Tours that Scooter Saigon Tour – a trusted tour agency and Top 10 on TripAdvisor in Ho Chi Minh City offers: