Home Travel Self-Guided Tour to Saigon Street Food

Self-Guided Tour to Saigon Street Food

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Source: vietnam-motorcycletours.com

Saigon is known for its street food, which is a very popular way to enjoy both the food and the culture of Vietnam.

My family and I recently moved to Vietnam. One of the first things we did was go on a quest for the BEST street food in Saigon. We found some good ones, but not all of them were authentic. Here’s my guide to Saigon street food that will help you find authentic, tasty, cheap, and interesting street food in Saigon.

Every year, millions of Americans travel to Vietnam to experience the country’s cuisine, sights, and culture. Most of these travelers are well-travelled, and have eaten a wide variety of food on more than one occasion. However, many travelers are only familiar with traditional Vietnamese food, which is heavy on proteins, rice, and noodles, and is frequently served in restaurants.. Read more about street food saigon and let us know what you think.

After two winters of feeding my face all around this city I adore, I decided to compile a street food guide for Saigon, bringing together some of my favorite haunts in one spot. These aren’t the finest of everything; rather, they’re a sampling of tasty, affordable, and genuine meals that are also conveniently accessible. I tended to visit the outlying districts more frequently, in search of that bun mam a friend recommended, or my enthusiastic landlady’s description of “the finest Peking duck in town.”

While enjoyable side excursions to the outside of the city are nice, I intended to write an article that would be more useful for short-term visits. The restaurants and street vendors listed below are very close to where most tourists stay, so they may be visited even if they are only in town for a short time.

The sweet-and-sour canh chua (picture in the “street food” section below) was what drew me to the city in the first place. The complex flavors and unexpected sting of the rice paddy herb on my tongue drew me in. It may have been one soup that drew me to Saigon, but it was the rest of the cuisine that kept me there and made me want to return. It’s not only the flavor of food that captivates visitors to Saigon; it’s also the act of eating, with all of the insanity that entails. The din, the family all sitting on the street eating their meals, laughing at you as you fumble with your condiments The beauty of food as a need as well as a sight in and of itself: a window into culture and a source of never-ending amazement.

Countless times, I smiled as an elderly woman corrected my rice paper folding technique as we waited at the edge of traffic, shaking her head at my poor abilities. Or the bo la lot seller who learned of my fondness for starfruit and made sure to stock up when I returned. The loving grandfather at the pho ga restaurant below, who rushed over to my bowl many times to make sure I didn’t forget to add pickled garlic. The landladies who welcomed me into their houses and fed me, hugged me, and taught me how to cook.

There are hundreds of moments like these baked into the aggregate of my memories in Vietnam. Most of them derive from food. As Luke Nguyen says in The Songs of Sapa: Stories & Recipes from Vietnam,

This is not a comprehensive list, but it should serve as a decent starting point. Please view my hand-drawn, one-of-a-kind Vietnamese cuisine maps for those of you who enjoyed your time in Vietnam and want to remember it at home with something a little more concrete. T-shirts and posters are also available.

Note: I understand that some of you would have liked diacritical markings instead of plain Roman characters, but most travelers have stated that they prefer the non-Tieng Viet script when using Google Maps to locate these locations. If this is no longer the case, I will gladly update the article.

Also, if you’re concerned about getting ill from street food, here’s how to consume it safely.

Saigon is unquestionably a wonderful destination for foodies. The delicate balance of warming and cooling ingredients, heavier meats and lighter rice-based carbohydrates, and fresh herbs to round out the flavor, never fails to wow. I’m no culinary anthropologist, but I aim to have developed a crash course here that will let visitors learn more about the city by eating and being corrected by others who are equally passionate about food.

I wanted to provide everyone a self-guided street food tour that they could enjoy without me since I am no longer living in Saigon and providing Jodi Eats Food Walks for readers. It covers my favorite soup, snack, and other eating establishments. In addition, there are sections for dining, beverages, and traveling about town.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Street Food and Local Stalls (Saigon)

Source: vinjatek.com

I’ve attempted to add as many pictures of these meals as possible, since my explanations may not be sufficient, but a photo generally is. Except for the bun moc (thanks Tom! ), these are all my photos.

Banh Beo

Nam Giao’s banh beo in Saigon

Banh beo (meaning “water fern cake”) is a tiny circular disc of rice flour shaped to resemble lily flower pads found in the estates around Hue, the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam. They’re a highly gratifying meal to share since they typically come in multiples of 8 or 10. They’re topped with crispy pig rinds and toasted shrimp powder and served with fish sauce.

Where: Nam Giao 136 Le Thanh Ton Street, behind Ben Thanh market, in an alleyway. +84 (8) 3825 0261 District 1

Xuc Hen Banh Da

In all of its delectable splendor, Banh Da Xuc Hen.

In the local language, I have a list of meals that sound similar to other foods. For example, the term for water in Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia is “air,” which is clearly not the same as “food” in English. The Vietnamese term for baby clams is “hen,” which was first perplexing since I bought it expecting a rice and chicken bowl, not even considering that hen would clearly not be an actual hen. My intellect couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Banh da xuc hen is a delicious and filling snack. On a dish, a big rice paper with overtones of sesame and coconut appears. It seems to be empty until you pull up the rice cracker to reveal a mound of teeny tiny clams cooked with lemongrass, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), chilli, onion, and garlic. It’s a basic meal in terms of ingredients, but the flavor is unlike anything else I’ve ever had. The com hen, rice topped with the same kind of clams and served with a small cup of clam soup on the side, is a heavier variation of this dish.

+84 (8) 3827 4252 Hong Hanh 17A Nguyen Thi Minh Khao Street, District 1

Cua Banh Canh

Banh canh noodles are Vietnam’s take on udon, a thicker noodle produced from tapioca flour, rice flour, or a mix of the two. This soup’s cua is crab, and the result is a viscous crab soup with thick noodles that isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a fulfilling dinner for people who want their cuisine to be experimental, thickened with tapioca flour (and therefore gluten free), and with chilies, green onions, and fresh lime on top, it’s a really delicious dish.

Where: Kim Long, District 3, 80/68 Tran Quang Dieu Street +84 (8) 3843 6498

Banh Cuon

Source: gogogovietnam.com

Banh Cuon Tay Ho sells fried mung bean cakes.

Banh cuon are steamed rice crepes filled with wood ear mushrooms and minced pork, typically seasoned with white pepper, that make a delicious morning dish. To my Western friends’ chagrin, I’d choose this over eggs and bacon for breakfast any day. But, hey, why not? You’ll find carbohydrates, meat, and veggies, as well as gently steamed bean sprouts, chopped basil, and fried shallot curls on top. It’s full without being heavy, and it’s peppery without being overpowering. The delicacy, which literally means “rolling cake,” originated in the north but is now popular across Saigon. Each mouthful may be dipped in a sweet fish sauce with as much or as little chilli as desired. If you go to the eatery below, don’t forget to sample the fried bean cakes (photo below). Bonus points if you can find the prettiest chilli holder in Saigon.

In all of Saigon, this is the cutest chilli bottle.

Where: 127 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Banh Cuon Tay Ho 1, District 1

Banh Khot & Banh Xeo

Crispy and tasty banh xeo.

I wrote about banh khot (small knots of fried rice cakes) with a recipe here, but because the restaurant offers both, I’m lumping them in with banh xeo (bigger sizzling rice crepes). There are many banh xeo suggestions in town, the most renowned of which is Banh Xeo 46A, which is located on the ‘Bourdain path’ (he visited the place during his Saigon episode). Both appeal to me, particularly when covered in a duvet of mustard leaves and herbs.

Given that this is a matter of personal taste, I’m directing you to a restaurant that excels at both. The banh xeo is oil-free, the banh khot comes with a choice of toppings, and the fresh herbs and vegetables are washed down with filtered water, so people with sensitive stomachs need not worry.

Where: 102 Cao Thang, District 3, Banh Khot Co, Ba Vung Tau

This site is now closed, however their second store near the Turtle Pond, at 40B Trn Cao Vân, is still operating.

Bi Banh Tam

In all of its gooey splendor, banh tam bi.

I just recently found banh tam bi towards the conclusion of my most recent visit to the city. I passed a beautiful new-looking restaurant with wood tables and chairs and a colorful logo on my way to the Co-op supermarket for some supplies. When I looked at the menu, I recognized hu tieu (see below), but I had no idea what banh tam bi was. So I postponed my shopping trip for a meal, a little worried since banh tam means “silkworm noodles,” and I wasn’t sure what I’d have for lunch. They’re really tapioca noodles that resemble silkworms and are topped with a rich coconut sauce, pickled vegetables, a pig meatball, pork sausage, and other ingredients.

“I FOUND A NEW FOOD COME MEET ME NOW IT’S DELICIOUS,” I texted a group of food-loving pals. I went back a few times before leaving town, which was unsurprising. I’ve discovered a few restaurants in Saigon that offer this Bac Lieu Mekong cuisine, but Quan Sadec is still the finest I’ve tasted. Those who are sensitive to goopy meals should avoid it; it’s gelatinous and delicious, but not for those who are sensitive to food consistency.

Quan Sadec is located at 154 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in District 1 of Hanoi.

Bot Chien

Source: adventurefaktory.com

Bot chien is a greasy favorite made with rice flour cakes that are cut into chunky pieces and cooked with beaten eggs and green onions on a big flat pan. For those acquainted with Singaporean cuisine, it’s similar to chai tow kueh, but without the radish. It’s served crispy with a sweet rice vinegar and soy sauce sauce, as well as some shredded pickled young papaya to calm things down. While the restaurant below features inside long table dining and waiters dressed in distinctively vibrant Vietnamese daytime jammies, it is accessible across Saigon, generally on the street. On my trips, no one spoke English, but pointing at the bot chien should suffice.

Bot Chien Dat Thanh is located at 277 Vo Van Tan Street in District 3 of Hanoi.

Bun Bo Hue is a Vietnamese dish.

Hue soup bun bu

I wish this delicious soup from Hue, Vietnam’s major city, was as well-known outside the nation as pho. Both soups are quite different. Bun bo Hue is a Vietnamese dish prepared with lemongrass and chili, with a zesty, powerful broth and thick slices of beef. The broth’s bright orange color comes from paprika or anatto oil, and fermented shrimp paste adds a complex depth of flavor that my Western palate had never encountered before. These components have appeared in other meals I’ve tried, but this soup from Vietnam’s old imperial capital manages to bring them together in a unique manner.

Wandering Chopsticks delves further into the soup for a recipe.

Where: Bun Bo Hue Dong Ba 110A Nguyen Du, District 1 +84 (8) 3912 5742 Where: Bun Bo Hue Dong Ba 110A Nguyen Du, District 1 +84 (8) 3912 5742

Ha Noi Bun Cha

As viewed through the lens of someone’s phone, Bun cha Ha Noi.

What is usually breakfast or early lunch cuisine up north is an all-day pleasure in Saigon, as it is with many of the Hanoi meals that were brought to Saigon. While some bun cha restaurants are only open in the mornings, the majority will be packed during lunch and supper, with eager customers heaping bowls with fresh herbs and smokey pork. Seasoned pig patties and thin slices of pork belly are grilled till crispy and served in a bowl with sweet fish sauce, slices of fresh papaya and carrot, and garlic. A bowl of plain rice noodles (the “bun” portion of the name) and a large basket of fresh herbs such as perilla, mint, and smelly fish herb are served on the side. To consume, combine a handful of noodles, a few chunks of pork, spoonfuls of the sweet fish sauce, and herbs in a serving dish. You’ll need to ask for seconds if you enjoy perilla as much as I do. I’ve tried a few restaurants around town, but my favorite is this one on Mac Dinh Chi. Lunchtime is the busiest time, and it closes at 8 p.m.

Where: 34A Mac Dinh Chi, Quan Anh Hong, District 1

Bun Mam

Bun mam is a sweet and sour fermented fish soup.

I see their faces collapse as I explain bun mam to them: a noodle soup with a fermented fish broth, shellfish, pig belly, and so much more. Many people don’t like to hear the phrase “fermented fish broth.” But, due to the thick rice noodles and pieces of excellent fish and pork, the soup is really very sweet, and it’s not to be missed.

Although this bun mam stall is near to Ben Thanh market, it is often packed with residents. Tourists pass by with a worried and inquisitive expression on their faces, but they seldom enter. If it’s someone’s first visit to Saigon, I typically bring them here to persuade them that the terms “fermented” and “fish” don’t have to be synonymous. The owner, a gruff but kind character, eventually stopped an interviewing reporter to inquire about my occupation, perplexed as to how I kept showing up with fresh individuals. He smiled when I informed him I was a “food writer” and began having me wave down visitors to get them to dine there while I was in the neighborhood. Before I left town, I gave him the whole piece, which featured a large picture outside his booth and the caption “Girl Eats World.” It costs 65,000 dong more than a typical street lunch, yet residents pay the same amount. I don’t mind spending a little extra since the servings are large and the ingredients are of high quality.

Bun Mam Dac San 22 Phan Boi Chau, Phan Boi Chau, District 1

Bun Moc

Source: saigoneer.com

Vietnam Coracle contributed this picture of bun moc.

Bun moc has always been my go-to soup when I didn’t know what else to eat or when my tastes were overloaded by the diversity of other meals I’d had during the day and all I wanted was a simple bowl of savory pork and mushroom broth. Aside from the broth, the soup’s highlights include the cha lua (a pork meatloaf covered in a cinnamon outer layer), thin pig meat slices, and pork meatballs. Despite the fact that it is a pork festival, it is very light, and the thin rice noodles go nicely with the meat. Fried shallots and fresh cilantro are sprinkled on top of the soup. Bun moc is a Vietnamese meal that most visitors haven’t heard of, but it’s a pleasant contrast to the intense flavors of the pig and rice dishes below. It seems to be a hit with the few kids I’ve taken along, so it might be a nice beginning meal if you’re traveling with a family.

Where: Truong Dinh, District 1, Bun Moc Than Mai 14

Cua Rieu Bun

On the streets of Saigon, there’s a lot of rieu cua.

In a piece about how I had to battle for a bowl in the Mekong, I went into great detail about bun rieu, including some history. To summarize, this spicy crab and tomato soup is excellent, and the one shown above (address below) isn’t as fishy as some of the others in town. If you want to taste bun rieu for the first time, start with the beautiful woman above and work your way around town. She generally avoids serving the blood cube common in bun rieu to foreigners, so if offal is your thing, insist on it. With a dazzling grin, she’ll give more.

Where: Corner of Pasteur Street & Ly Tu Trong street, District 1. If she’s not there, please try the corner of Nguyen Du & Pasteur street as she tends to be at one of those two spots. The lady above is the person you’re looking for ? Only open between 10am – 3pm

Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio (Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio)

Fried spring rolls, or cha gio. They’re gluten-free and manufactured using rice paper. And it’s insanely delicious.

How I adoreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee BTN, as it’s known among friends, is a meal that combines all of the pleasant textures you might desire for lunch in one heaping bowl of food. Rice vermicelli noodles, grilled boneless pork, a crispy pork spring roll (typically with taro), and fresh lettuce and herbs make up the cha gio portion of the name. You put spoonfuls of sweet fish sauce and chilli on top, allowing the sweet and spicy liquid to soak into every bite. I visit and love a variety of BTN restaurants, but the one below is my favorite since the spring rolls are still the best. Instead of using clouded rice paper, this seller uses a large banh trang rice paper that has been softened, similar to what we use in Canada for fresh goi cuon (summer rolls). The outcome is a spring roll with a thin and crispy outer layer. Every time I visit Chi Thong, I order more.

Where: Co Giang, District 1, Chi Thong 195

Canh Chua

Canh chua was the reason I first traveled to Vietnam in 2012, and as I’ve stated in previous blogs, it was the reason I first visited. This sweet and sour soup made with rice paddy herb, pineapple, fish, and tomatoes may be found along the Mekong River’s streets, although it’s uncommon to find it as street food in District 1. This eatery, which also offers excellent chicken and fried fish, serves a large bowl of soup – see picture above. To make it a complete meal, add a side of white rice.

Where: District 1, Quan Com So 7 3 Nguyen Van Trang, +84 8 3835 8175

Canh Kho Qua (Canh Kho Qua) is a Vietnamese word

The famous bitter melon soup is served at this Com Tam restaurant.

Not everyone likes bitter flavors, but those who do should try bitter melon. The bitter melon is cooked long enough in this meal, canh kho qua nhoi thit, so that the bitterness coils only at the end of your tongue after the other flavors have settled in. The melon is filled with minced pork, wood ear mushrooms, and sometimes glass noodles, and served as a light yet soothing soup. It’s then knotted up and simmered in a clear broth before being served with cilantro on top. If you can’t make it to Saigon but want to try this, there’s a recipe here. If you go to the restaurant listed below, you may order pork chops for the table or simply a side of rice.

Com is the location. Tan Din Market (Tam Tu Quy Cho Tan Dinh) is located at the intersection of Hai Ba Trung and Nguyen Huu Cau streets in District 3. The same-named yellow sign, as well as waiters wearing yellow shirts 5 p.m. to late

Che Chuoi

In Saigon, che chuoi

Che chuoi is a delicious banana and tapioca dish with sesame and crushed peanuts floating in a sea of coconut cream. It is one of several che desserts available; check the Wikipedia article for a list of the others. Many of my pals didn’t like for the mung bean or black bean che treats, but they all went crazy for the che chuoi. The shop below is really operated by one guy — sometimes with the help of his son — and his bowls of sweets, from which you may select from a variety of choices, such as taro with coconut milk (che khoi mon).

Where: District 3, 241 Vo Van Tan Street Located just across the street from Thien Ban Pagoda.

Com Suon

Suon cooking on the street.

This rice and grilled pork chop dish is a popular Saigon lunch or supper (and occasionally brunch) that can fill you up quickly and inexpensively. On top of the chop, you’ll find a tablespoon of green onions cooked in pig fat, as well as some crispy pork rind. Served with a little mound of pickled veggies on the side and a small cup of mild broth. Try com suon op la com suon op la com suon op la com suon op la com suon o (grilled pork chop over rice with a fried egg). You’ll be stuffed till dinnertime.

Where: Across the street from the entrance to the water puppet show on Nguyen Thi Minh Khi, not far from the park’s entrance, is a com suon restaurant. Truong Dinh and Huyen Trang Cong Chua, essentially. It’s on the other side of the road from the park, and you’ll recognize it by its smell and the pig grill on the side of the road. It’s fantastic.

Com Tam

The finest com tam establishment in town serves ca kho to, braised claypot catfish.

Because the rice did not satisfy export requirements and was therefore offered at a reduced price, com tam, meaning “broken rice,” began as a dish provided with reduced pricing. It’s a Saigon street food staple that can be found in various forms on virtually every corner. The broken rice is put to the side, and the stars of the lunch show are displayed on a glass shelf: a cornucopia of wonderful prepared foods, some braised, some boiled, and others stewed, that are intended to be eaten with the rice. Some restaurants will additionally provide you with a banana as a dessert.

Ca kho to, a delicious braised catfish dish, is a popular meal among com tam. Fried chicken, pig belly with braised eggs, and fish cooked in pineapple and veggies are typically available for people who don’t like fish. Going in a group and ordering to share is the greatest tip I can offer.

The restaurant below is run by Hai of Eating Saigon (see below for blog), and it offers a great way to go out of District 1 while eating delicious cuisine. If you want to remain closer to “home,” go to the intersection of Mac Dinh Chi and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai (just beyond the KFC) for a com tam restaurant that is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: No. 49 Dong Hoa Xuan, Binh Thanh District +84 (8) 3510 1771

Cuon Diep

Cuon diep in District 3’s Tib Express.

These are simple but surprisingly substantial snacks made from mustard leaves wrapped around vermicelli noodles with mushrooms and tofu cut up. They fulfill both crunchy and nutritious desires when served with a sweet peanut sauce. I would often visit Tib Chay seeking a fix.

Where: Tran Nhat Duat, District 1, Tib Chay 11 +84 8 3843 6460

Hu Tieu

kho, hu tieu nam vang. Hu tieu from Phnom Penh in a dry form.

Hu tieu soups are a difficult beast to master. I’ll start with a quote from the Loving Pho blog, which discussed the soup:

Hu Tieu Nam Vang (hu tieu Phnom Penh style), Hu Tieu My Tho (named after the capital city of Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta area of southern Vietnam), and Hu Tieu Chinese style are the three most well-known kinds. Hu Tieu’s presence in Vietnam was mostly due to Chinese influence. […] The meal was introduced to Cambodia by Chinese-Cambodians (thus the Phnom Penh style), then Vietnamese adopted it and created their own Vietnamese variations.

The complication continues since hu tieu may also refer to simply the noodle, not necessarily in soup form. I understand. For additional information, see Andrea Nguyen’s excellent hu tieu Nam Vang recipe.

In a bowl of hu tieu, the noodles may be chewy transparent tapioca noodles, opaque white rice noodles as in pho noodle soup, or thin Chinese egg noodles (mi). Boneless pork, pork ribs, pig offal, shrimp, squid, wonton dumplings, fried garlic, fried shallot, and/or scallion are among the possible toppings. You may pick and select anything you want, as usual. Hu tieu is a Vietnamese culinary experience where you may have it your way. I’ve also seen a “dry” version, but have yet to try it.

Basically, if you encounter a kind of hu tieu while walking around town, you should give it a try since it’s seldom the same again. Though Andrea’s recipe calls for a “wet” broth in the soup, I like it “kho,” or “dry,” with the noodles separated as seen in the picture. This is because I like to use just a few spoonfuls of liquid to keep the noodles bouncy. Plus, what about the after-dinner dessert? More broth, please. The restaurant below is in the heart of the action, but this kind of soup can be found all over the streets, with Chinese-style soup being served on elegant wooden carts with Chinese calligraphy.

It’s essential to note that certain hu tieu soups don’t utilize hu tieu noodles because mi (wheat-based egg noodles) are hazardous for celiacs.

In each District, I have a hu tieu woman. You should do the same.

Where: Truong Dinh District 1, Quan Mi Cat 62

Pho Bo.

Source: adventure.com

PHO! I couldn’t leave this meal off the list, despite the fact that, as I discovered when I first visited Vietnam, there is so much more to eat in Vietnam than this famous soup. It’s worth emphasizing that there are two kinds of beef phos in Saigon: Southern-style (sweeter, with less spices in the broth, and occasionally cuttlefish included as well) and Hanoi-style. The soup originated in Hanoi, and although I like Saigon cuisine, I prefer the northern broth. It’s more savory, with a cinnamon, star anise, and roasted ginger aftertaste. It tastes heavier to me, thicker with the spices, and it’s a full dinner whether I eat it with raw or cooked beef. Many of the soups I’ve eaten in Montreal or New York were from Southern Vietnamese who left during the exodus and carried a more Southern recipe with them. I was shocked to see that the Northern-style soups were not nearly as sweet as I recalled from Montreal.

When I initially moved to Vietnam for the winter, I set aside certain days of the week to prepare a certain meal. Wednesdays were reserved for banh xeo, Tuesdays for oc and snails, and Thursdays for pho. So, I’ve had a lot of pho around town, but three choices stick out. The first was suggested by Tom of Vietnam Coracle (his site is linked below), and it’s still my favorite, coming as near as I’ve come to the excellent phos I had in Hanoi. The second is owned by Prison Granny from my Why I Love Saigon article, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to live there; it’s that amazing. The third option is a Chinese-style pho, which is a little sweeter but still a good choice for meat eaters. It’s interesting to explore the surrounding neighborhood, particularly the little alleyways off of Vo Van Tan street.

Pho Phuong (picture below) is located at 25 Hoang Sa Street in District 1, directly on the canal’s bank, and may be reached at +84 (8) 3910 2422.

In Saigon, the finest pho bo

Where: 18bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1, Pho Thanh Binh (picture below).

Pho Thanh Binh (prison pho)

Where: Pho Le (no picture), 303-305 Vo Van Tan Street, Pho Le (no photo), Pho Le (no photo), Pho Le (no photo), Pho Le (no photo), Pho Le (no photo),

Pho Ga

My favorite pho ga at town’s staging station.

I don’t know about you, but chicken noodle soup is all I want when I’m ill. Unfortunately, in North America, this choice is often (literally) off the table; being a celiac, I am unable to consume the noodles. However, since their chicken soup is prepared with thick rice noodles, Vietnam is ideal for celiacs who are ill. This pho ga (chicken) restaurant also offers pho bo (beef) soup, but I wouldn’t go there for that. Instead, try their rich, flavorful chicken broth with thinly sliced chicken breast. If you’re looking for something new, try the mien ga (mung bean noodles), which comes with their distinctive spicy sauce, pickled garlic, and a basket of herbs. It’s worth noting that taxi drivers visit this location at all hours of the night – it’s open 24 hours a day. It was a regular stop for me when I had the illness, or even when I was hungry but passing by; one whiff of their chicken broth and I’d turn around and settle down for a bowl.

Pho So 1 Ha Noi is located at 25 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1 and is open 24 hours a day.

Banh Mi

I’m unable to comment on the greatest one since it contains wheat, so please accept my apologies for not being able to do so. However! The following two locations are recommended by voracious friends:

Where:

26 Lê Th Riêng, Bn Thành, District 1 Banh Mi Huynh Hoa

and

Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai (also known as Bánh M Tht Nng, Hm 39) is a Vietnamese dish.

Also, check out Austin Bush’s 2022 article about making banh mi in Saigon.

A Slightly More Expensive Meal

Bloom Saigon (previously May Restaurant) is located along the canal’s bank, not far from my suggested Pho spot on Hoang Sa. It’s housed in a beautiful old colonial mansion and runs well, with excellent cuisine. Among the items to try are the meat wrapped in mustard leaves, the tofu with lemongrass, and the sour soup. It’s a wonderful option for a date or anniversary, and a pleasant contrast from the more hectic eateries in the center of District 1.

Bloom Saigon is located at 3/5 Hoang Sa Street in District 1 and can be reached at +84 8 3910 1277 or www.bloom-saigon.com.

Hum Meal, near the War Remnants Museum in District 3, is a good option for vegetarians looking for a better restaurant.

Where: Hum Vegetarian 32 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3 +84 (8) 3930 3819 Hum Vegetarian 32 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3 +84 (8) 3930 3819 Hum Vegetarian 32 Vo Van Tan Street, District

Saigon’s Non-Vietnamese and International Cuisine

BBQ Ribs and Smoked Pork: My buddy Mark launched Quan Ut Ut, his new restaurant, with no promotion and just word-of-mouth recommendations. It’s crowded nearly every night, and for good reason: the cuisine is excellent, you get great value for your money, and it’s based on an American BBQ idea but using local products. You must try the smoked ribs or pork shoulder, the grilled okra, and, if you’re not celiac like me, the bacon bacon burger, which a buddy characterized as “a burger literally constructed out of bacon.” Ut is the Vietnamese word for “oink,” which is an onomatopoeia for the sound a pig makes.

Where: Quan Ut Ut’s Facebook page lists three distinct locations: District 1, District 2, and District 7.

Pizza: I can’t vouch for its taste since they don’t have a gluten-free option, but friends rave about a Japanese pizza joint called 4 Ps, and a New York Times article has boosted their popularity even more. For individuals who are missing this cuisine category, both Vietnamese and expats suggest it. The name, which stands for Platform of Personal Pizza for Peace, was chosen by the proprietor to represent his goal of “delivering wow and happiness.” It’s fantastic. It looks delicious, and I wish I could taste it.

Where: Pizza 4Ps 8/15 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1 +84 120 789 4444 Where: Pizza 4Ps 8/15 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1 +84 120 789 4444 (It’s a good idea to call beforehand; they’re quite busy!)

Gluten-free Pasta: If you have celiac disease like me, there is a gluten-free pasta alternative if you’ve exhausted rice noodles. I can’t vouch for their cuisine in general, but their meals include corn pasta, and half servings were available. It was full, and I ended up with a wonderful slow-cooked beef sauce.

Ciao Bella, Dong Du 11, District 1, +84 (8) 3822 3329

Sushi:

$$ — This small eatery, situated somewhat back from the road and with sliding doors covered in a light curtain from the inside, was found by my friends John and Brooke. When you go in, you have the option of sitting at the sushi bar (which is highly recommended) or in the larger dining room. While more costly than other choices such as Sushi Bar, the quality of the fish matches the price, and the dishes are prepared with care.

I ordered their salmon donburi dish since I can’t eat Japanese soy sauce because it includes wheat. It’s fresh raw fish fanned over sushi rice and topped with a shiso leaf loaded with salmon roe. The roe provided the salinity that the soy sauce lacked, making for a pricey (by street food standards — around $17) yet excellent lunch. I’d rather eat sushi seldom but like high-quality fish, therefore I suggest this over some of the other restaurants in town. A dessert and modest side dishes are included in their lunch package.

Lunch 11:30am-2pm at La Phong Sushi House Dinner: 5:30pm-10:30pm +84 (8)48 3824 7882 9 Tran Cao Van Street, District 1

$$- Hanayuki, which sources its salmon from Norway, is another favorite. Fresh, tasty, and a comfortable casual place for lunch – when they offer their best value dishes – it’s always been fresh, delicious, and a cozy informal spot.

Hanayuki 21C Ton Duc Thang Street Ben Nghe, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 +84 28 3824 2754 Hanayuki 21C Ton Duc Thang Street Ben Nghe, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 +84 28 3824 2754

Sushi Rei is located at 10E1 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in Da Kao, District 1 of HCMC.

Antibiotics make me want Indian cuisine, which is a fun truth. I’m not sure why, but when I was ill towards the end of my time in Saigon, all I wanted to eat was paneer and dosa, as well as rich creamy mutton korma. There are several excellent Indian restaurants in town, but Ganesh and BaBa’s Kitchen are two of the most popular. Ganesh is located near the Opera House, away from the backpacker district, while BaBa’s is located in in the heart of backpacker central. So, if you want to escape Saigon’s “khao san road,” head to Ganesh. Both, though, are fantastic, with nice proprietors and accommodating waiters and servers. Although I like Ganesh’s palak paneer over BaBa’s, BaBa’s dopiaza and vindaloo were better. Solution: give them each a shot. Also, please report back!

Where:

+84 (8) 3838 6661 BaBa’s Kitchen 164 Bui Vien Street, District 1 www.babaskitchen.in

Ganesh +84 974 453 087 38 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1 Ganesh

Salad: Au Parc, particularly the Nicoise salad (smoked salmon and quail eggs). For those with children, they also offer a free child care space and a nanny on their top level, making it a perfect choice for weekend brunch.

Where: Au Parc Cafe +84 (8) 3829 2772 www.auparcsaigon.com 23 Han Thuyen Street, District 1 +84 (8) 3829 2772 www.auparcsaigon.com

French Fries: These fries are made at both L’Usine locations, but I was only able to consume them at the Dong Khoi site since the chef was nice enough to cook them in fresh oil to avoid contamination with the breaded items they also fry.

Where: L’Usine Dong Khoi, 151 Dong Khoi Street, District 1 (upstairs after entering an alleyway packed with art galleries) www.lusinespace.com

Saigon’s Drinks and Smoothies

There are a variety of locations where you may have a variety of drinks, both elegant and informal.

Smoothies: There are many smoothie fans in Saigon, and they can be found almost everywhere. Juicy, on the other hand, is a fantastic spot to sit and watch the world go by, and it’s run by a beautiful woman with a big grin.

A sweet and tangy mango smoothie with whipped cream on top.

Where: Juicy Smoothie Bar, 18A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Alley (Between Mac Dinh Chi and Dinh Tien Hoang)

Quiet Coffee: While L’Usine offers some excellent coffee, I prefer Morning News when I want to read or write quietly. (After all, their business cards read “writers hideaway, book lovers corner.”) You go up many stories and into a wood and art-filled space, which is located in a tiny lane off the busy main street. More about the café may be found in Nomadic Notes’ HCMC cafe roundup. The simple ca phe is my personal favorite.

Where: 36 Le Loi Street, District 1 +84 93 838 33 30 The Morning Cafe 2nd Floor

Vietnamese Coffee: Saigon’s streets are littered with Vietnamese cafés; walk around for more than 5 minutes and you’ll find one, packed with (mainly) guys sipping coffee on the side of the road, smoking, and staring out the window. These are also enjoyable to visit, but for a more relaxed experience, have a cup of Vietnamese coffee at Cuc Gach café. (Note that this is not the same site as their main restaurant.)

Cuc Gach Cafe is located at 79 Phan Ke Binh Street in District 1 and can be reached at +84 (8) 3911 0120.

Egg Coffee (Ca phe trung): I published a full article on egg coffee (Ca phe trung), explaining where it came from and how to make it at home. Due to its growing popularity among visitors, a number of cafés in Ho Chi Minh City have begun to offer egg coffee. While this isn’t a typical Vietnamese drink, it’s essentially dessert in a cup, and it’s decadently wonderful.

Egg coffee from Hanoi’s Cafe Giang

Where: 3/5 Nguyen Van Thu, Np Sài Gn, District 1 (spacious location, extensive menu, including egg coffee).

Chrysanthemum tea: According to my Vietnamese acquaintances, chrysanthemum tea is a cooling drink that also has therapeutic qualities. It’s no wonder, therefore, that this small tea shop at the crossroads of two major thoroughfares is usually busy. Others pick up gallons of the sweet (seriously: SWEET) tea for their family at home, while motorbikes swing by to take a glass before giving it back and speeding away. Although the flavor may not be to everyone’s liking, it is worth a try at least once. It’s a short stroll from the Banh Cuon Tay Ho restaurant above – consider it your dessert.

By the way home, I drank chrysanthemum tea on the side of the road.

Where: Nuoc Sam Co Ba Dien Bien Phu, at the Dinh Tien Hoang Street intersection.

Strangest drink location: I couldn’t believe it when I learned that the address for Animus is also the address for the South African consulate, and the two are connected. The rear door marked “Cigar Lounge”? It’s really the consulate’s front entrance. They offer South African wine (try the pinotage) and have had a two-for-one happy hour for the last several months from 6pm-8pm. Elegant décor, plush leather seats or hardwood bar tables and chairs, as well as a pleasant management and crew.

[Animus is now closed, according to reader Paul.]

Animus Bar and Lounge is located at 19 Phung Khac Khoan Street in District 1 and can be reached at +84 (8) 730 50066 or www.animus.com.vn.

Shri, which comes highly recommended in several guidebooks, isn’t exactly off-the-beaten-path, but it’s still my favorite rooftop bar for a sunset cocktail. I typically get some adjacent street soup and then take the elevator to the building’s top level, where I can choose between indoor and outdoor seats. Great vistas and a good wine selection, but it’s expensive. The Chill Sky Bar (far more formal – no running shoes or flip flops) and the Cobalt Bar above the contemporary Pullman Hotel are two more choices.

Shri Bar is located at 27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District, on the top floor, and can be reached at +84 (8) 3827 9631.

COVID-19 has resulted in a boom of street-side cocktail bars, which Saigoneer describes as “an exciting breeding ground for the city’s cocktail entrepreneurs.” They’ve opened up shop on side streets and in alleys, but they’re not selling shady concoctions; instead, they’ve created mixology-focused drinks that appeal to both locals and foreigners. For more ideas, see Saigoneer’s article on street cocktail bars.

Weekly jazz sessions are held at Le Fenetre Soleil, and although beverages are more expensive than at other bars, there is generally no cover charge for the venue or the music. With a rear patio and quirky décor, it’s a lovely setting. It definitely favors foreigners over natives.

Where: Le Fenetre Soleil (District 1), 44 Ly Tu Trong Street, +84 (8) 3824 5994

Casbah isn’t for people looking for a luxurious rooftop experience, with a view of Notre-Dame Cathedral, a small and dark alley entrance, a toilet that smells like mothballs all the time, and a rickety stairway to the roof. However, it is typically packed with locals, the wine is affordable, and the location is convenient. Do not sit in the smoky interior area; instead, ask the staff to direct you to the roof, where you may pick between cubbyholes with cushions around a table where you can sit cross-legged, a long bar, or sofas and chairs on the opposite half of the rooftop.

Where: Casbah Shisha Bar, 59 Nguyen Du Street, District 1 (Entrance to the alley between the small convenience shop and the entrance to the alley between the small convenience store. You’ve gone too far if you walk from Dong Khoi to the restaurant serving grilled chicken feet.)

Saigon Outcast became a favorite Sunday afternoon pastime for many of my friends because of the live music, art, outside sitting, casual cuisine, typically on the grill, and skateboarding choices. It’s not in the most convenient location, since it’s in District 2, but if you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend a Sunday while also enjoying some beer, it’s a decent option.

Saigon Outcast is located at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong Street in Thao Dien, District 2 and can be reached at +84 12 2428 3198 or www.saigonoutcast.com.

Vietnamese Gluten-Free Cuisine

Except for the banh mi sandwiches, everything on this list is gluten-free, and I ate it all.

When utilizing a translation card, there is a possibility that stalls or restaurants may simply respond, “No, we cannot serve you here,” rather than risking what they will give you and perhaps making you sick. Researching what is safe and what is not safe has shown to be the most helpful in making that choice for yourself. Go to the Essential Gluten Free Guide to Vietnam for a list of acceptable foods, dangerous items (along with their Vietnamese names), and additional information.

Then return here and utilize the map to fill your face with Saigon’s street cuisine.

In Ho Chi Minh City, here’s a map showing some of the best places to dine and drink.

 Basic Information for Getting Around Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City

22 Things to Know Before Visiting HCMC is an excellent summary article from Roads and Kingdoms.

Visas

Visas are available in a variety of forms. The Visa on Arrival (VOA) system is the most popular, in which you pay an internet firm for a letter inviting you to the nation, and then get your visa when you arrive in Saigon or Hanoi. For land entrants, this is not an option. If you do this, remember to bring a passport-sized picture of yourself as well as your visa stamping cost, which varies depending on how many entries you have and how long you want to remain.

  • E-visa companies will provide you with an online VOA application, which you may print and bring with you for airline authorities and to use for your real visa on arrival in Saigon. It required some significant explanation to the airlines that yes, it was a visa invitation and no, I would not be denied boarding. Instead, airlines will check for the genuine visa in your passport. I’ve been using Evisa, but because they’re not an official organization, I’d do some research on the internet to determine what’s best for your nationality.

Taxis

Taxis have a terrible reputation in town, but I’ve only had one unpleasant encounter in my two winters in Saigon. And it wasn’t even bad — just a taxi driver who insisted on charging us more since there were four people in the vehicle. On the other hand, we sometimes crammed a clown car of seven passengers into a van cab with no additional costs imposed by any of the drivers. This was obviously a bad apple, not representative of other cab drivers. Yes, I’ve had drivers claim to know the route but then get lost, or my mispronunciation of a street name send someone in the wrong direction before I realized what I was doing. However, if you follow the guidelines below, you should be alright.

  • If possible, use VinaSun taxis. Green writing on a white taxi. VinaSun has consistently shown to be the finest of all the experiences. I would also suggest Mai Linh, which has exclusively green cabs, however my trips with VinaSun were usually excellent.
  • When you exit the airport, you have the option of choosing whatever business you choose. It may seem absurd, yet it is true. After exiting the international terminal and turning left to the taxi stand, a group of dispatchers may be seen across the street, directly across from the taxi stand. While there will most likely be grey cabs (of a different business) waiting, you can just go across the street or beckon the dispatcher over and ask for a VinaSun cab. They will summon one for you, and you will only have to wait a few minutes for it to arrive.
  • I’ve never been denied a ride in Bangkok, where you typically have to ask whether they would drive you where you want to go (and they frequently say no). I’ve never had to instruct a taxi driver to switch on his or her meter since it’s all done automatically.
  • I typically round up fares, but only by 5,000 – 8,000 Dong. There’s no such thing as a 20% tip, although rounding up is appreciated (albeit not required). I do tip just before or soon after Tet (the lunar new year), however, since it’s an expensive time of year for most Vietnamese people, as they pay off debts and purchase items for the home, among other things.
  • When you’re waiting for a taxi, don’t become irritated if the previous passenger shuts the door despite the fact that you’re waiting in front of them. The VinaSun taxis must have the door closed from a previous fare in order to “reset” their fare recording and system, so it’s not that the driver is going to leave you behind or that the previous passenger is attempting to refuse you entrance.
  • Cab drivers are sometimes reluctant or unable to provide change for a larger payment (500,000 Dong). When pushed for change, I’ve seen more than one driver pull out a second stack of dollars from his pockets, but another rush off to a shop to get change since he didn’t have any. When taking a taxi, I attempted to carry only smaller amounts (50,000s or 20,000s).
  • The quickest method to go where I wanted to go was to ask for intersections of two streets, or to select larger landmarks nearby, such as churches, hotels, or renowned buildings (such as the Bitxeco tower).

Buses

The bright orange Phuong Trang buses (link to Vietnamese-only site) of Futa Buslines (link to Vietnamese-only site) are dependable and depart from the central De Tham neighborhood in District 1. Tickets may be purchased at the De Tham office near Pham Ngu Lao (272 De Tham; Google map link). Phone number is +84 838 309 309), and tiny schedule cards for each destination are available at their offices.

For a wonderful place to visit from Saigon, check out my guide to Mui Ne!

Hospitals

If you’re staying in District 1, I suggest the Family Medical Practice in the Diamond Plaza, which I’ve visited a few times. It’s pricey ($60 for a consultation), but the turnaround time for tests is fast, and their technology is up to date. You may also schedule an appointment with a specialist expert, such as a tropical diseases doctor or a pediatrician if you have children. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in to ask inquiries instead of phoning. The American Chiropractor Clinic, as I said in my article “Why I Love Saigon,” is a great bargain for those who need to visit a specialist for back, neck, or other joint problems.

SIM cards

The Mobifone SIM is the finest pay-as-you-go SIM for unlocked photos in need of a data plan, in my opinion. You can get a SIM card from any corner shop, or from one of the numerous iPhone/Android/Everything Stores that have sprung up throughout town.

Purchase 100,000 Dong of credit together with the SIM card. To activate the plan (this worked till June 2014, but things may change), do the following: DK MIU is a text message that may be sent to the number 999. When you get a text, just respond with the letter Y.

PRESTO. You’ve now signed up for the DK MIU data plan, which gives you unlimited data for a month (quicker speeds up to 5GB, after which you’ll be placed on the slow plan).

You will be able to auto-renew after the month is over if you maintain at least 70,000 Dong (the cost of the plan as of June 2014) on your phone. You’ll also get a few 50 percent discount notifications, since Mobifone offers days where credit is half cheaper, meaning you get twice as much credit for your money. When you check your credit, they will appear as ‘bonus’ credits under the KM2 and KM3 categories in your phone. So I’d simply purchase the data plan and then add another 100,000 on a 50% day, which would keep my plan active for the following several months. Texting is not included in the package, although it is reasonably priced.

Currency

The Dong, to be precise. As of July 2016, the exchange rate was 22, 306 dong to one dollar.

Aside from that, there are some crude jokes. The jokes never got old, no matter how long I remained in the nation (“fistful of Dong” or “show me your Dong” or any usage of “YEAH YOU DID” following a Dong remark). With my rent money, I even created a Dong flower for my landlord, but she was not pleased with my Dong Decorating Skillz.

When possible, save change or lower denominations, since many smaller shops or street vendors would be hesitant to break a 500,000 note — and banks, for the most part, offer 500,000 notes.

Massage of the Feet

This is a “basics” for me since living in Asia involves taking advantage of the fairly cheap and soothing foot massages available across the area. I aim to go once or twice a week, particularly because I love lengthy hikes about Saigon.

This location, located behind the large Citibank building on a major thoroughfare, is often packed with Japanese businessmen on their lunch break. On three separate levels, chairs are arranged side by side, and the 70-minute treatment (220,000 Dong at the time of writing) comprises a 45-minute foot massage and a 25-minute head-shoulder-back combination. It is, of course, followed by yoga-style stretching and cracking. For the reasons stated above, lunch hours are usually very crowded, so go later in the afternoon.

44 Ton That Thiep Street, District 1 (professional foot massage)

Vietnam and COVID-19: A Remark

COVID-19 and Vietnam

Tom from Vietnam Coracle has a three-part series on his experiences in Vietnam during COVID-19, the country’s response to the epidemic, and his own reflections. Pre-COVID, lockdown, and post-COVID are the three components.

I believe Tom’s culinary and travel stories, but I also appreciate his viewpoint at this strange period. As of summer 2022, Vietnam had been able to control and eliminate COVID-19, and Tom’s first-hand account provides a unique viewpoint for those of us who are no longer in Vietnam.

Start here to read his work on the subject. To quote Tom:

The present era, in which the globe battles to control Covid-19, is called in Vietnam as mùa dch: ‘pandemic season.’ Mùa dch has had an impact on my life, job, family, and friends, as it has on most others. And, like most others, the ‘pandemic season’ has made me think about a lot of things. This website is an effort to compile my ideas, feelings, and experiences from mùa dch into a personal narrative that spans the past six months. In my opinion, there are three stages to the ‘pandemic season’ in Vietnam: ‘Pre-Covid,’ ‘Lock-Down,’ and ‘Post-Virus.’ I’ve decided to write about this now since it seems like we’re well into the ‘Post-Virus’ period in Vietnam. Except for foreign flights and tourism, almost everything has returned to its pre-Covid state. Vietnam, a nation with a population of over 100 million people that shares a border with China (where the epidemic began), is presently a global leader in controlling the virus and caring for individuals who have been affected. There were only 369 recorded cases at the time of writing (July 9, 2022), 347 of which had recovered, zero fatalities, and no community transmissions in almost three months. Few would have anticipated such a high number of cases when the virus first emerged in Vietnam in late January. Needless to say, I consider myself very lucky to have spent ‘pandemic season’ in this location.

The Best Books and Websites about Vietnam and its Cuisine

Books

  • Graham Holliday’s book Eating Vietnam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table. Graham spent years dining in Vietnam, and his passion for the nation shines through in this wonderful book about the country’s street food culture, which “chronicles his journey in this weird, tempting place filled with exquisite aromas and flavors.”
  • Andrea Nguyen’s book, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Andrea just released a cookbook on banh mi for people who can eat bread (i.e. not celiacs like myself).
  • Mai Pham’s book, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table: Recipes and Reminiscences from Vietnam’s Best Market Kitchens, Street Cafes, and Home Cooks, is a collection of recipes and reminiscences from Vietnam’s best market kitchens, street cafes, and home cooks (Also titled: New Flavours of the Vietnamese Table in the UK)
  • Cameron Stauch’s Vegetarian Vietnam (Written by the former chef to the Governor General of Canada, this is one of the few Vietnamese vegetarian cookbooks available.) Exceptionally comprehensive, with stunning photos.)
  • Luke Nguyen’s book The Food of Vietnam.
  • Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: A History (It’s a long read, but it’s well worth it.)
  • Andrew X. Pham’s Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam (Kindle version here).
  • John Balaban & Nguyen Qui Duc’s Vietnam: A Traveler’s Literary Companion
  • Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American
  • Frances Fitzgerald’s “Fire in the Lake.”
  • Jules Roy’s The Battle of Dien Bien Phu
  • And, given the current dispute in the area, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, by Robert Kaplan, which I haven’t read but seems intriguing.

Blogs about Saigon and Vietnamese cuisine

  • Historic Vietnam – from my buddy Tim Doling, one of the foremost authorities on Saigon, Vietnam, and its architectural history. His site offers a fascinating look into ancient structures and their histories, as well as intriguing figures from Vietnam’s past.
  • Coracle of Vietnam – Tom has lived in Saigon for many years and is fluent in the Vietnamese language. He is a very entertaining writer who believes in providing longform, valuable material without charging others for it. His website includes alley wanderings, culinary postings, and information about motorbike excursions outside of town, as well as many more updates from his stay in the country. See his excellent article on Saigon’s finest street food streets here.
  • A Global Kitchen – my buddy Cam is one of the most inquisitive individuals I’ve ever met, always delving into the world of culinary culture and sharing it with others. His site has some of his travel tales as well as a fantastic page on culinary courses in Southeast Asia.
  • Swerve of Shore is a collection of photographs taken in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
  • Joe and Hai investigate and evaluate street cuisine in Saigon in this episode of Eating Saigon.
  • Andrea Nguyen’s books are mentioned above, but her blog, Viet World Kitchen, also include recipes, information about products and herbs, and comments on Vietnamese cuisine and customs.
  • The Ravenous Pair — While this wonderful couple isn’t currently living in Vietnam, they have lots of recipes for many of the meals I’ve included here, as well as anecdotes about how those dishes were important in their individual families.
  • Eating Asia’s Saigon posts – food and photography from around town, over a few years of visits and from former residents Dave & Robyn.
  • When someone tell me they’re heading to Hanoi, I direct them to Mark’s blog. He and his partner Tu conduct culinary excursions, as shown by the blog’s content, which is chock-full of delicacies to sample throughout town.
  • Another resource for Saigon is the Hanoi Cooking Centre. Tracey’s new book “Real Vietnamese Cooking” will be released in September in North America, but culinary classes at her cooking center are still available.
  • Saigoneer – Local news, pictures, and events. Those who are visiting will find it very helpful. Check out their Events Calendar for a fantastic place to start!
  • Oi Vietnam – Oi also covers local events, food reviews, and travel stories from across the world.
  • My go-to for news and updates on Southeast Asia travel is the Travelfish Vietnam Blog, which is an extension of the main Travelfish site. They’ve also just published a LONG culinary guide to the city, which you can find here.
  • Rusty Compass Saigon Guide – Mark’s page on the city, which is often updated and includes small reviews of restaurants and tourist attractions.
  • And if you’re searching for a Hanoi cuisine guide, Will Fly For Food has you covered.

One thing I love about the city of Saigon is the variety of street food that is so popular. From fresh spring rolls and pho to fried crab, grilled meats and ice cream, it’s hard to go wrong with this city’s street food.. Read more about street food sài gòn and let us know what you think.

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