Saigon Food: 12 Must-Eat Dishes and Where to Find Them
Unfortunately, the Saigonese, the way we call people who live in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, is not living in a city that has nice weather like Da Lat or having mountains and sea like Quy Nhon. Nevertheless, in Saigon, you can find a lot of delicious foods that come from anywhere in Vietnam. All together making Saigon food an attractive point to any visitors who come to the land.
Either you are looking for things to do in Saigon or the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, why not making your own a Saigon food tour!? So, what do we have on the menu of Saigon dish?
1. Phở (or Pho)
Of course, Pho must be on top of the Saigon food menu. The most famous traditional Vietnamese food. A bowl of Pho has the pho-noodle, the soup cooked with beef bones, steak, fatty brisket, flank, tripe, tendon, meatballs (or bò viên), cilantro, and onion. You can have the choice to put all the toppings or the ones that you like. To me I usually have everything. And people put more different herbs when they eat to boost the taste.
Pho is made differently between the North and South of Vietnam. There are also some other versions of Pho such as Gia Lai dry Pho, Lang Son sour Pho, etc. but the original one is always the best!
Where to find Pho in Saigon?
- Phở Lệ – 303 Võ Văn Tần Street, Ward 2, Dist.3
- Phở Hùng – 241-243 Nguyễn Trãi Street, Nguyễn Cư Trinh Ward, Dist.1
- Phở khô Gia Lai – 4/C4 Thái Thị Nhạn Street, Tân Bình District
- Phở Hoà – 206C Pasteur Street, Ward 8, Dist.3.
- Phở chua Lạng Sơn – 242/101 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật Street, Ward 3, Dist.3
- Phở Dậu – in the alley 288 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa Street, Ward 8, Dist.3. This is a North-style Phở
Price range: $3 – $4 (VND 60,000 – 85,000)
2. Cơm Tấm (or Com Tam, or Broken Rice)
Cơm Tấm is one of the best Saigon foods. A truly signature dish of the land Saigon. So the word Cơm refers to Rice, and the word Tấm refers to the Broken or the fragmented grains as it truly is.
The most basic dish of Cơm Tấm is served with broken rice, a thin grilled pork chop, slices of cucumber and tomato, maybe pickles (some Vietnamese restaurants put this), and sweet fish sauce. However, a full version of Cơm Tấm is not that boring. You will have plenty of choices to put more things on such as Vietnamese meatloaf, pig skin, opla (fried egg), Chinese sausage, etc.
Furthermore, Cơm Tấm also has several different versions like broken rice with beef rib or chicken. Additionally, there is Cơm Tấm Long Xuyên (Long Xuyen Broken Rice) with the pork, boiled egg, pig skin is chopped and mixed up to use with broken rice, and fish sauce.
Where to find Cơm Tấm in Saigon?
- Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền – 84 Đặng Văn Ngữ Street, Ward 10, Phú Nhuận District
- Cơm Tấm Hùng – Alley 194 Võ Văn Tần Street, Ward 5, Dist.3
- Cơm Tấm Cali – 32 Nguyễn Trãi Street, Bến Nghé Ward, Dist.1. This is a Vietnamese restaurant with a chain. You may easily find an address nearby by ‘Google’ the name
- Cơm Tấm Cây Điệp Long Xuyên – 39C Cao Thắng Street, Ward 2, Dist.3
Price range: $2 – $3 (VND 40,000 – 60,000)
3. Bánh Mì (or Banh Mi, or Vietnamese Sandwich)
Do I need to describe or say more about Banh Mi, the most well-known Vietnamese street food? There is a lot of info about Banh Mi that could be searched easily, but if you are still curious about it, I found a good Banh Mi’s history in this article.
I’m not a chef so don’t ask me how to make a Banh Mi (maybe I can look for it and share later), but I can describe it a little bit. To elaborate, the bread (Banh Mi) will be split in half lengthwise, then add a swipe of Vietnamese mayonnaise and Vietnamese homemade pâté, put in slices of roasted pork, slices of Vietnamese pork sausage, pork floss, slices of chili, cilantro, and mint leaves, pickled cucumber, pickled carrot, and daikon radish, and soya sauce at the end. Finally, you have the well-known and delicious Banh Mi Vietnam.
Moreover, there are many varieties of Banh Mi can be found. Some typical ones are Banh Mi with Vietnamese Pork Sausage (Bánh Mì Chả), Banh Mi with Fried Egg (Bánh Mì Ốp La), Banh Mi with Shredded Pork, Pork Skin, and Fish Sauce (Bánh Mì Bì), Banh Mi with Pork Meatballs (Bánh Mì Xíu Mại), Banh Mi with Chicken (Bánh Mì Gà), or Banh Mi with Vegetable (Bánh Mì Chay), etc.
Where to find Banh Mi Saigon?
Anywhere you see you can see a cart or a kiosk with the word ‘Bánh Mì’ on the street, or in any Saigon food market. Of course, it’s the famous Vietnamese street food!
Or if you are nearby some Banh Mi below, you should have a try:
- Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa – 26 Lê Thị Riêng Street, Phạm Ngũ Lão Ward, Dist.1. Banh Mi Huynh Hoa could be the most expensive compared to other Banh Mi. However, it’s definitely a must-try one. When coming to the street, you will a long line of people waiting to buy Banh Mi Huynh Hoa.
- Bánh Mì Chảo Hoà Mã – 53 Cao Thắng Street, Dist. 3
- Bánh Mì Chả Bò (Banh Mi with Beef Sausage) – 187 Hai Bà Trưng Street, Ward 6, Dist.3
- Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng – alley 37 Nguyễn Trãi Street, Dist.1
- Bánh Mì Tư Ấu – 174 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật Street, Ward 3, Dist.3
Price range: <$1 – $2 ( VND 15,000 – 40,000)
4. Bún Bò Huế (or Bun Bo Hue)
Some people say that Bun Bo Hue is not delicious at its birthplace, but at Saigon. And I totally agree with that. I went to several Vietnamese restaurants in Canada, and in some Asian countries but I cannot find a better Bun Bo Hue than in Saigon, even in Hue, where it comes from.
Bun Bo Hue is special with its soup, which makes it unique and different from other Vietnamese foods. Typically, a bowl of Bun Bo Hue contains the Bun Bo Hue noodles, Hue-style pork sausage, blocks of pork blood, pork hocks, parts of beef brisket, and beef shank. To boost the flavor, herbs such as mint, bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno, and lime are usually added in.
To me, Bun Bo Hue is a hidden gem of Vietnamese cuisine. There are a lot of Bun Bo Hue restaurants in Saigon with their special ingredients which make their Bun Bo Hue different. Among those, there are some particular Bun Bo Hue restaurants in Saigon that I love to go to.
Where to find Bun Bo Hue in Saigon?
- Bún Bò Huế Nam Giao – 248 Bùi Viện Street, Phạm Ngũ Lão Ward, Dist.1
- Bún Bò Huế Yến Hương Giang – 325 Võ Văn Tần Street, Ward 5, Dist.3
- Bún Bò Huế Đông Ba – 110A Nguyễn Du Street, Dist.1
- Bún Bò Gánh – 110 Lý Chính Thắng Street, Dist.3
- Bún Bò Huế No.62 – 62 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật Street, Ward 3, Dist.3
Price range: $2 – $3 (VND 50,000 – 80,000)
5. Bánh Cuốn, and Bánh Ướt (or Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls)
I will take the tone out and call Banh Cuon, and Banh Uot in English. This is my favorite dish in the Saigon food menu, especially Banh Cuon. The reason is simple, it’s fast to eat. It’s not as fast as fast food, you still have to sit down and wait for the dish to be served. Because I don’t like eating hot soup in hot weather, and sometimes I’m in a rush so Banh Cuon and Banh Uot are the better choices.
Banh Cuon is like an evolved version of Banh Uot. Typically they all made from rice flour. And with Banh Cuon, we will have all thinly chopped pork, wood ear mushroom, and dried shrimp inside the rolls. With some Vietnamese restaurants, they add chopped white radish or egg, and some Chinese restaurants put the whole shrimp inside the rolls. Moreover, a few Vietnamese restaurants sell Banh Uot with chicken giblet.
A dish of Banh Cuon or Banh Uot will be served with crisp shrimp pastry, Vietnamese pork sausage, and sweet fish sauce. Furthermore, as with any Vietnamese food, Banh Cuon, and Banh Uot are eaten with herbs and vegetables such as fried onion, bean sprouts, chopped salad.
Where to find Banh Cuon, and Banh Uot in Saigon?
- Bánh Cuốn Hải Nam – 11A Cao Thắng Street, Ward 2, Dist.3
- Quán Bánh Cuốn Song Mộc – alley 107 Vườn Chuối Street, Dist.3
- Bánh Cuốn Thiên Hương – 3 Tháng 2 Street, Ward 11, Dist.10
- Quán Ý Thiên – 274 Bà Hạt Street, Ward 9, Dist.10
- Bánh Ướt Lòng Gà – alley 126 Nguyễn Cư Trinh Street, Dist.1. This is the one sells Banh Uot with chicken giblet.
Price range: $1.5 – $3 (VND 40,000 – 80,000)
6. Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang (or Phnom Penh Clear Rice Noodle Soup)
Another Saigon dish that I love. There are many varieties of Hu Tieu but the one that I love is Hu Tieu Nam Vang. I’m not so sure about where it came from. However, as its English name is ‘Phnom Penh Clear Rice Noodle Soup’ that I searched, perhaps Phnom Penh, Cambodia is its birthplace. Anyway, being in Saigon for a long time ago, Hu Tieu Nam Vang has made its name at top of the Saigon food menu.
Typically a bowl of Hu Tieu Nam Vang has rice noodles, a soup made by pork bone, shrimp, chopped pork, sliced lean pork, pork offal, squid, quail egg. You will have the choices between dry Hu Tieu and wet Hu Tieu. The difference is, with dry Hu Tieu Nam Vang the soup will be served in a separate bowl, and with wet Hu Tieu soup will be added in the same bowl of the main dish. People usually add herbs, veg, and especially minced garlic to boost the flavor, making it boom in your mouth.
Where to find Hu Tieu Nam Vang in Saigon?
- Hủ Tiếu Nhân Quán – 488 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street, Ward 2, Dist.3
- Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang Liến Húa – 381 Võ Văn Tần Street, Ward 5, Dist.3
- Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang Hồng Phát – 391 Võ Văn Tần Street, Ward 5, Dist.3
Price range: $3 – $4 (VND 70,000 – 80,000)
7. Bún Mọc (Vermicelli with Vietnamese Pork Sausage)
This Saigon dish originally comes from Moc village, somewhere in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi nowadays. That’s why it has the name. Others say that the name comes from its main ingredient, which is a Vietnamese pork sausage, or ‘Mộc’ in Vietnamese.
When you go to a Bún Mọc restaurant, a bowl is served with vermicelli, soup made by stewed pork bone or pork rib, many different kinds of Vietnamese sausage, meatballs, onion, cilantro, wood ear mushroom. To boost the taste of Bún Mọc, usually, people add sliced chili, different veggies, and especially shrimp paste, or shrimp sauce.
I didn’t know about Bún Mọc until recent years, my father found a Bún Mọc restaurant near our house. With its special taste, I added its name to the list of Saigon dishes. Later on, I notice other Bún Mọc in the city and try many of them. Nevertheless, the one near our house is one of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.
Where to find Bún Mọc?
- Bún Mọc Ròm Mập – 459 Võ Văn Tần Street, Dist.3
- Bún Mọc Thanh Mai – in the corner of Trương Định Street & Nguyễn An Ninh Street, Dist.1
- Bún Mọc Sườn Út Tịch – 308 Hoàng Văn Thụ Street, Tân Bình Dist.
- Bún Mọc Nga – 49B Street no.2, Dist.11
Price range: $1.5 – $2.5 (VND 40,000 – 60,000)
8. Bánh Canh (Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup)
If someone asks me about a Vietnamese street food that connected to my childhood, I will say the name Bánh Canh. Surprisingly? There are many Bánh Canh restaurants in the city. However, the people who sell Bánh Canh on the street are the ones who added its name to the Saigon food list.
Bánh Canh connected to my childhood by a small vendor selling it in front of my elementary school. Bánh Canh is made from tapioca starch mixed with rice flour. Together it creates the special chewy noodle of this food. Furthermore, a bowl of Bánh Canh also has the soup made by stewed pork bone adding onion and salt, sliced pork meat, pork rib, and pork leg if requested. Some vendors sell Bánh Canh with chicken meat or eat with Vietnamese chicken salad.
Another version of Bánh Canh that made a lot of fans is Bánh Canh Cua (or Crab Thick Noodle Soup). The broth is made by grab meat as the main ingredient. With the toppings, we now have crab meatball and crab meat. Some vendors add crab claw or even a whole crab into this Saigon dish.
Where to find Bánh Canh?
- Bánh Canh Hoàng Ty – 70-72 Võ Văn Tần Street, Ward 6, Dist.3. This brand has many branches
- Bánh Canh Cua Hoàng Lan – 484 Vĩnh Viễn Street, Dist.10
- Bánh Canh Út Lệ – 204 Tô Hiến Thành Street, Dist.10
- Bánh Canh Cua 260 – 260 Võ Văn Tần Street, Dist.3
Price range: $2 – $3 (VND 45,000 – 65,000)
9. Bún Riêu (Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)
I didn’t like this food before. I used to think that Bún Riêu can easily cause stomach ache. However, my favor for this food increases more and more alongside my maturity. And I honestly don’t know why I really like this food recently. Hence, I add it to this Saigon food list to introduce to everyone. Anyways, it doesn’t lead to stomach ache!
I especially like the Bún Riêu’s soup. The broth is made by stewed pork bone, then add grinded crab meat to make the perfect crab soup. A full option of Bún Riêu has pig blood, pork meat, pork leg, Vietnamese crab sausage, tofu, tomato, and grinded crab. Vietnamese usually eat it with perilla, mint, fish mint, sorrel, and Vietnamese coriander.
Bún Riêu is also a traditional Vietnamese street food. Notwithstanding, there are also many great Bún Riêu restaurants with different versions of the dish.
Where to find Bún Riêu?
- Bún Riêu Gánh Chợ Bến Thành – 4 Phan Bội Châu Street, Dist.1
- Bún Riêu Ốc Thanh Hải – 14/12 Kỳ Đồng Street, Dist.3
- Bún Riêu Cua Biển – 66 Nguyễn Thái Bình Street, Dist.1
Price range: $1.5 – $2 (VND 35,000 – 50,000)
10. Bún Thịt Nướng (Rice Noodles with Grilled Pork)
The grilled pork in the dish is very delicious. That one thing, to me, has helped it to be on the list of Saigon food.
I usually eat a lot of grilled pork beside the main dish. It’s not the simple pork meat that you grill. The vendor makes it with their special recipe for a totally different homemade flavor. Alongside, Bún Thịt Nướng include fried egg roll cut in parts, grill pork, sliced pork skin, peanut, chopped onion, sliced cucumber, and pickle. Bún Thịt Nướng is eaten with fish sauce. You should add some herbs and bean sprouts when eating, making the taste boom with various flavors in your mouth.
Where to find Bún Thịt Nướng?
- Bún Thịt Nướng Chị Tuyền – 195 Cô Giang Street, Dist.1
- Vị Sài Gòn – 487 Nguyễn Tri Phương Street, Dist.10
- Bún Thịt Nướng Anh Ba – 126 Lê Văn Sỹ Street, Phú Nhuận Dist.
- Quán Cô Ba – 287/68 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu Street, Dist.3
- Bún Thịt Nướng 120 – 120 Trần Hưng Đạo Street, Dist.1
Price range: $1- $2.5 (VND 25,000 – 55,000).
11. Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)
I’m not sure if you already know this food. Gỏi Cuốn (or Spring Rolls) is quite a popular traditional Vietnamese food in many restaurants in the world. That’s why I cannot miss it in my Saigon food menu.
To make a Gỏi Cuốn is quite simple. I believe there are instructions on how to make Gỏi Cuốn which you can search on the internet. In the end, you will have some rolls with shrimp, pork meat, vermicelli, and a few vegetables such as bean sprouts, cilantro, chives, herbs.
The main factor that affects this whole food is the sauce. The black sauce is made by fried garlic with cooking oil, then fry it with grinded salted soybeans, and finally add sugar for your best taste.
Where to find Gỏi Cuốn, Bì Cuốn?
- Gỏi Cuốn Lê Văn Sỹ – 359/1/9A Lê Văn Sỹ Street, Dist.3
- Gỏi Cuốn Tôm Nhảy – 424 Lạc Long Quân Street, Ward 5, Dist.11
- Gỏi Cuốn Hạnh – 420A Hoà Hảo Street, Ward 5, Dist.10
- Gỏi Cuốn Lá Chuối – 57 Trần Khắc Chân Street, Tân Định Ward, Dist.1
Price range: $0.2 – $0.4 (VND 5,000 – 10,000) / a roll.
12. Ốc – A Must-try Saigon Dish
If you haven’t eaten Ốc, you haven’t gone to Saigon. This food is particularly the top special food of Vietnam in general. Nevertheless, it’s even super special in Saigon as there is nowhere has the variable kinds of Ốc in very different ways to process. Therefore, I have to add this special food to this Saigon food list, introducing Vietnamese cuisine to everyone.
It’s very hard for me to tell specifically about how to make or process Ốc. Popularly most of the restaurants will process it by boiling, grilling, frying with butter, garlic, tamarind, chili, etc. Furthermore, it’s also very difficult to say how many kinds of Ốc there are. I don’t really know their English name, or I’m even not so sure if they are. It’s better that I show you the address so you can figure it out yourself.
Where to find Ốc?
- Ốc Đào – 212B/79C Nguyễn Trãi Street, Dist.1
- Ốc Loan – 175/26 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật Street, Ward 1, Dist.3
- 2 Chị Em – on the prooftop 6B Công Trường Quốc Tế Street, Dist.3
- Ốc Như – 650/4/29D Điện Biên Phủ Street, Ward 11, Dist.10
- Ốc Khánh – 25/5 Nguyễn Bĩnh Khiêm Street, Bến Nghé Ward, Dist.1
Price range: it’s very variable depend on what you choose on the menu.
- The price may be slightly different from the price range as I’m not always going to eat and check.
- I leave the very true Vietnamese name to introduce the Vietnamese cuisine at the root.
- I leave the place and address in Vietnamese so you can easily find it in Vietnam or Google map, and to add the address to Grab or Taxi easier.
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READ MORE VIETNAMESE-FOOD POSTS
How do you love Vietnamese cuisine? I hope you like the list of Saigon foods. Here are some of the other Vietnamese foods that I believe you would love learning more too: