About Food in Ho Chi Minh City
With delicacies ranging from street snacks to pan-Asian fusion to tapas, Saigon is a foodie's heaven. Though many explore Saigon in search of phở, Vietnam's most famous staple beef noodle stew, there are innumerable other food options to delight the palate. Here is list a handful of the city's cheap eats and finer dining restaurants that go beyond the standard phở quest.
What to Eat?
What to eat? In Saigon the better question is what not to.
There is not a longstanding tradition of tipping in Saigon, but it is increasingly prevalent in higher end and more Westernized restaurants.
Price per Meal
$2 (street food) - $30 and up (more upscale)
Quán Miến Cua 94. This crab restaurant has become so popularized that its neighbor copied it entirely: name, menu, and even a sign with a fake street address. Stand facing the two restaurants and the original is the one on the left. Try miến xào cua, or fried glass noodles with large chunks of fresh crab or cua rang me, tamarind crab. 94 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1.
Quán Hài Ký Mì Gia. Open-air or sidewalk dining for Chinese egg noodles served in aromatic herbal broth, bok choy, and mushrooms. Served with a crispy roasted duck. If you’re still hungry, order a bánh mì sandwiches from the stand on the pavement directly outside the restaurant. 349 Nguyen Trai, District 3.
Nhu Lan. A longstanding Saigon eatery, Nhu Lan is perfect for a quick, cheap bite at any hour of the day. Try the roasted duck, any of the noodle soups, fresh fruit smoothies, or bánh mì sandwiches. Locals come for takeaway food at the bakery that encompasses the dining area. 64-68 Ham Nghi St., District 1.
Bánh Xèo Dinh Cong Trang. What this dining experience lacks in frills it makes up for in flavor. The specialty is bánh xèo, a sizzling turmeric rice flour crepe stuffed with fatty pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. Wrap in a rice paper with a handful of fresh greens (make sure to try the mustard leaf!) and dip in fish sauce based nước mắm pha. Order some of the other dishes on the menu, such as the deep-fried soft-shell crab. 46A Dinh Cong Trang, District 3
Temple Club. For a romantic night of Viet cuisine and Indochine nostalgia, head to Temple Club. Walk up the narrow staircase besides Fanny’s Ice Cream into a spacious second-floor dining area. The vibe is a unique strand of rustic chic—blending Brooklyn exposed bricks, colonial antique furniture, and Hoi An lanterns. Try the grilled fish in banana leaf, five spices grilled pork, or steamed lemongrass clams. 29-31 Ton That Thiep St., District 1.
L’Usine et la Cafeteria de l’Usine. Walk down an inconspicuous galleria, turn right through a dark motorbike parking lot, and a curved staircase leads to L’Usine, a café and boutique store. With its vaulted ceilings and high windows, the renovated space is the latest of this 19th century colonial French building’s several incarnations—from a ballroom to apartments to government offices. The owners are relatives of Trinh Cong Son, one of Vietnam’s most famous singer songwriters. Espresso coffees, cupcakes, and sandwiches on freshly baked bread. 151/1 Dong Khoi, District 1.
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