Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a city where you can enjoy cuisines and cultures of different regions of Vietnam. Saigon has specialty foods of South, Central and North Vietnam. In this city, you can find the best Crab soup cake originated in coastal regions, Kebab rice noodles originated in Hanoi, Hue beef noodle soup which is known as the most popular foods in Central Vietnam and many more dishes. The followings are the top local restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City where you can eat all Vietnamese foods. Great services, reasonable prices, amazing dishes, foody safety and fresh ingredients are highlights of the local restaurants. I hope that you have a chance to eat Saigon to its fullest at these places instead of being stuck at restaurants for tourists in the city center.
1. Banh Canh Cua 14
Address: 215 – 223A Tran Binh Trong Street, Ward 3, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 7:30 – 23:59.
Prices: the cheapest portion, which cost 45,000 VND, consists crab meat, crab cake and boiled shrimp. Others portions that cost about 60,000 VND consist of whole crabs or whole lobsters, scallops.
Banh Canh Cua 14 is known as one of the top places to eat Crab soup cake in Ho Chi Minh City. The restaurant is not very spacious but all guests feel comfortable while sitting and eating there. High tables and chairs (with no back rest) are made from wood and bamboo. A few chairs are plastic. The restaurant is designed using orange color and always clean. You can see how the cook serves the soup cake.
Crab soup cake
What is Crab soup cake?
Crab soup cake is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of thick and short noodles made from rice flour or tapioca flour or a combination of the 2 floor, gelatinous broth, and toppings including crab meat, crab cake, shrimps, chopped green onion oil, sometimes whole crab or lobsters, served with fried shrimp cake, Youtiao.
This hot seafood noodle soup is a great choice when it is cold or raining. It is also good to eat on hot days because the soup broth will beat your thirst and boost your energy.
Why eat Crab soup cake at Banh Canh Cua 14?
At Banh Canh Cua 14, the noodles are made from tapioca starch so that they are chewy and a little sticky. So that the noodles go well with toppings and the rich broth. The toppings including boiled shrimp, crab meat, crab cake, lobsters and whole crab at this restaurants are made from fresh ingredients from the coastal Khanh Hoa Province. I must list this restaurant as one of the top local restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City because the noodle soup is really tasty and unique.
How to eat?
Soup cake including noodles, broth and toppings are served in a bowl. Youtiao and Fried shrimp cake are served on 2 plates. Spices such as ground black pepper, lime wedges, red chili pepper are available in small containers. There is a bottle of dipping lime leaf sauce – the soul of this food next to the spice containers.
You can add Fried shrimp cake and Youtiao, black pepper, lime juice, red chili pepper to the bowl of Crab soup cake at your wish. Then use a spoon to eat the noodles, broth and the others. You can dip the toppings in lime leaf sauce.
2. Bun Cha Ho Guom
Address: 6 Tran Phu Street, Ward 4, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00.
Prices: a portion of Kebab rice noodles costs 52,000 VND; square fried shrimp and crab roll costs 25,000 VND.
The restaurant is rather spacious and clean with stainless steel tables and chairs with back rest.
Kebab rice noodles
What is Kebab rice noodles?
Kebab rice noodles is a traditional Vietnamese food that consists of thin rice noodles, kebab (grilled ground pork patties), slices of grilled pork belly, carrot and kohlrabi pickles, sweet and sour dipping fish sauce, lettuce and herbs.
Why eat Kebab rice noodles at this restaurant?
It has been said that Kebab rice noodles at Bun Cha Ho Guom has the original taste like Kebab rice noodles in Hanoi where the food originated. The perfect combination of all components makes it win the hearts of many Saigon people and visitors including foreign tourists.
How to eat Kebab rice noodles in the right way?
At some restaurants, they serve all in a flat round basket. At Bun Cha Ho Guom, they serve you a plate of rice noodles, a bowl consisting of dipping fish sauce, pickles, kebab and grilled pork belly, a small flat round basket of lettuce, shredded morning glory, basil, coriander, heart leaves etc. Minced red chili pepper, lime wedges, garlic pickles are
Although you can eat this food at any way you want, eating Kebab rice noodles like Vietnamese people do helps you to enjoy the taste of the food at its best. Use a pair of chopsticks get a small portion of rice noodles and a little vegetables and herbs, dip the noodles in the bowl of dipping fish sauce. Then eat the noodles, vegetables and herbs with a slice of grilled pork belly. You can add chili pepper and lime juice to the dipping fish sauce at your wish. Eating pickled garlic with the food is also great.
Square fried shrimp and crab roll
What is it?
Square fried shrimp and crab roll or Nem vuông tôm cua biển has a square shape, crispy crust made from rice paper and very delicious fillings made from shrimp, crab and other ingredients. The roll is usually eaten with rice noodles, dipping fish sauce, vegetables and herbs.
Why eat Square fried shrimp and crab roll?
Lots of foreigners have heard about and eaten Fried roll or Chả giò – a famous Vietnamese food. Not many of them have tasted the hidden Square fried shrimp and crab roll.
How to eat?
You can order a Square fried shrimp and crab roll and eat it with the portion of Kebab rice noodles. Or you can order a portion of rice noodles topped with Square fried shrimp and crab roll, vegetables and herbs, eaten with dipping fish sauce.
3. Bun Bo Hue Xua
148 Bis Le Thi Rieng Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps. Opening hours: 24/24.
169 Cao Thang Street, Ward 11, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City.View on Google Map. Opening hours: 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM (on the next day).
Prices: a portion of Beef noodle soup costs 25,000 – 55,000 VND, depending on the combination of toppings.
The restaurant is spacious, clean and offers the best service as well as great foods at reasonable prices. Wooden and bamboo chairs and tables, lighting of warm colors helps customers relax and eat better.
Hue beef noodle soup
What is Hue beef noodle soup?
Hue beef noodle soup originated in Hue – the ancient citadel of Vietnam and has become popular in Vietnam thanks to its great taste. The noodle soup consists of thick and long round rice noodles; clear and rich broth cooked from pork legs, pork bones, beef, fertilized shrimp paste (Mắm ruốc), lemongrass, ginger, shallots, garlic, chili pepper, onions, annatto seeds; topped with any combination of pork legs, beef (shank, tendon, rare, well-cooked, brisket), beef balls, beef roll, sometimes blood pudding, beef roll, crab cake. The noodle soup is usually served with vegetables (bean sprouts, shredded morning glory, banana blossoms) and herbs (Thai basil).
Why eat Hue beef noodle soup at Bun Bo Hue Xua?
Many customers have said that the taste of Beef noodle soup at Bun Bo Hue Xua is original.
How to eat?
At Bun Bo Hue Xua, they serve customers a bowl of thick and long rice noodles, clear and rich broth, toppings including sliced onions, chopped green onions, coriander and a combination of beef tendon, rare beef, well-cooked beef, beef cake (beef roll), beef brisket, beef balls. A plate of bean sprouts, shredded morning glory, banana blossoms, Thai basil are served with the bowl of noodle soup. There are pots of sautee, red chili pepper slices, lime wedges, fish sauce on the tables so that customers can make the broth saltier, sourer, more spicy.
Before eating, you can put vegetables and herbs into the bowl when the broth is still very hot. Add sautee, chili pepper slices, fish sauce to the broth and squeeze lime juice into to the bowl of broth if you wish. Mix everything with a pair of chopsticks and a spoon.
You should use a spoon to eat the broth and chopsticks to eat the others. You can get some fish sauce, sautee, chili pepper slices, mix them in the dip bowl. While eating the noodles, broth, vegetables and herbs, you can dip the toppings in the dipping fish sauce and eat.
4. Bun Thit Nuong Kieu Bao
Bun Thit Nuong Kieu Bao 1, 339/12 To Hien Thanh Street, Ward 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Bun Thit Nuong Kieu Bao 3, 139 De Tham Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 11:00 – 21:00.
Prices: a portion of Rice noodles with grilled pork and fried roll is only 26,000 VND.
The restaurant is not too big but not too small. It has stainless steel tables and plastic chairs. Sometimes, the restaurant is crowded, the staffs are busy and do not have enough time to clean the floor and tables. However, this restaurant is a good choice because the price is cheap.
Rice noodles with grilled pork and fried roll
What is it?
Rice noodles with grilled pork and fried roll consists of rice noodles, grilled pork, fried roll, vegetables (cucumber juliennes, lettuce, bean sprouts), herbs, crushed peanuts, green onion oils, pickles (carrots, white radish).
Why eat Rice noodles with grilled pork and fried roll?
This is a specialty food of Saigon. It will be a huge miss if you do not eat this exotic food on your trip to the city.
How to eat?
At Bun Thit Nuong Kieu Bao, they serve you a bowl of rice noodles, pickled carrot strips, grilled pork, fried roll (chả giò), crushed peanuts and green onion oils. Vegetables including julienned cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts and herbs including basil, water mint are put in baskets. Dipping fish sauce is put in small stainless steel bucket.
Get some vegetables and herbs and put them into the bowl of rice noodles. Pour the fish sauce over all components. Use chopsticks to mix the components, then eat.
5. Banh Xeo 335
335 Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 4, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 15:00 – 22:00.
Prices: Vietnamese pancake costs 45,000 VND; Vietnamese mini pancake costs 50,000 VND.
The restaurant is located in a small alley, customers can sit in the house or in front of the house. Here you can see how they fry the crispy Vietnamese pancake and mini pancake. Customers sit on plastic chair with no back rest and stainless steel tables.
What is it?
Vietnamese pancake has a crispy and thin crust made from rice flour, green onions, turmeric powder, and fillings made from shrimp, pork (usually pork belly), sometimes squids, bean sprouts. The cake is served with sweet and sour dipping fish sauce, vegetables and herbs.
Because the cake makes the sound “sizz” when it is ready, it is called “Bánh xèo”, which literally means “Sizzling cake”.
In South Vietnam, Sizzling cake has a diameter of 40 cm and its edge is as thin as paper. In Central Vietnam, the diameter of the cake is about 20 cm.
How to eat?
Banh Xeo 335 serves you a cake on a stainless steel flat round tray, vegetables (mustard greens, lettuce) and herbs (heart leaf, ming aralia) in a flat round basket, a dip bowl of sweet and sour dipping fish sauce with pickled carrot and daikon strips.
Place a leaf of lettuce or mustard greens on your left hand or on a plate. Then put a piece of crust, one or a half shrimp, one or more pork slices, a little bean sprouts. Skillfully wrap the leaf around the crust and fillings into a roll. Dip the roll in the fish sauce dip before tucking in.
Vietnamese mini pancake or Khot cake
What is it?
Khot cake, which is as small as a cupcake and shaped like a curve mirror, is also made from rice flour, green onions, turmeric powder, and filled with ground pork and shrimp, sometimes squids.
How to eat?
The way to eat Khot cake is similar to the way to eat Vietnamese pancake.
Why eat Vietnamese pancake and mini pancake at Banh Xeo 335?
Vietnamese pancake and mini pancake are Vietnamese traditional cakes and specialties of South Vietnam. Banh Xeo 335 lasts over 30 years and has been locals’ favorite place to eat these 2 cakes in Saigon. The highlights of this restaurant include good prices and great taste of the cakes.
6. Che Thai Y Phuong
380 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 4, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 1:30 AM (on the next day).
Prices: A plate of 2 flan cake costs 25,000 VND; Young coconut jelly costs 27,000 VND.
Che Thai Y Phuong is a very spacious restaurant on Nguyen Tri Phuong Street. The foods are made and served in neighboring multisltory houses and on the pavement. The restaurant serve tens of dishes including desserts, snacks and some main dishes. It is famous for delicious desserts and always crowded with customers.
Young coconut jelly
Young coconut jelly is made from agar, coconut water, coconut milk, sometimes coconut meat. The refreshing, lightly sweet, a little crispy dessert is serve cold in a plastic mold or a whole coconut.
Flan cake is a greasy, lightly sweet tiny round cake, made from sugar, egg, milk, usually served with Vietnamese coffee and ice.
Why eat these desserts in Saigon?
Although jelly and flan cake are popular around the world, Young coconut jelly and Flan cake are made and eaten in Saigon style. These desserts are known as the most favorite desserts in Ho Chi Minh City.
Now you know where to eat the best local foods in Saigon. If you have a chance to be in the city, do not miss trying Crab noodle soup, Flan cake, Young coconut jelly, Kebab rice noodles, Vietnamese pancake, Khot cake, Rice noodles with grilled pork and fried roll at the listed Top local restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. I hope you enjoy them all 🙂