Are you ready to start eating insanely delicious Vietnamese food when you’re in Saigon?

Before going to Saigon, I knew relatively little about Vietnamese food.

So I decided to reach out to you, by posting a video on my YouTube channel, asking what and where I should eat during my trip to Saigon, Vietnam.

I was overwhelmed with the response, and received many local suggestions for everything from restaurants to street food stalls to eat at within the city, and also many favorite dishes to try.

When I landed in Saigon, I had my notes compiled with info on what to eat and where, and I was eager to spend as little time in my hotel as possible, and as much time on the streets eating and enjoying Saigon.

Thank you all for your incredible Vietnamese food suggestions.

It turned out to be one of the most memorable food trips I’ve had in a long time, and my wife and I took photos and videos of almost everything that went into our stomachs.

With this easy guide, I hope you’ll be able to taste, enjoy, and have some incredible food experiences when you’re in Saigon, Vietnam too.

The following guide, featuring 25 Vietnamese dishes to eat in Saigon, is a result of your kind tips and recommendations, kilometers of walking around and sweating, and a month of eating food that I’ll never forget!

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There are two parts to this guide: the 25 dishes, and the restaurant recommendations.

For the dishes included here, you can really find them all over the place (they are all extremely common), and if you see a sign for one of the dishes, stop at the stall, order it, and try it out.

Also, most of the foods mentioned are single meals or single plate or bowl dishes, not so much the huge feasts, or more expensive Vietnamese speciality dishes.

For the restaurants mentioned in this guide, many are places I was recommended to eat at, others I found from blogs and online articles, and others I  just stumbled into while exploring the city.

Please use this guide as a resource and inspiration for what to eat and where, but it’s definitely not the all-inclusive complete guide. There are a countless number of other restaurants and dishes available in Saigon and throughout Vietnam, and I would encourage you to just walk around and explore and try whatever looks delicious.

Hope you enjoy these restaurants in Saigon, I thoroughly did.

Note Again: This is by all means not an exclusive list of Vietnamese foods to try when you’re in Saigon, that would probably fill a library full of books! Rather, this is more a list of dishes I really enjoyed eating and trying during my trip to Saigon, and I think it’s a start, or a beginning, to exploring delicious things to eat in the city.

With all that being said, are you ready to start eating?

best banh mi in Saigon
The vegetable filled banh mi at Bánh Mì Hồng Hoa

1. Bánh mì (banh mi)

If you’re even the slightest bit into Vietnamese food, you’ve probably eaten numerous banh mi sandwiches.

Along with pho, easily the most exported Vietnamese speciality is banh mi. Although banh mi can mean a variety of different things, and in Vietnamese it actually just means bread, sometimes the term can be used to refer to any type of the beautiful Vietnamese personal baguette sandwich.

Walking around Saigon you’ll see dozens of carts with signs selling banh mi – it’s actually hard to go more than a block without seeing one – so it’s never hard to find.

There are many different varieties of banh mi, and here’s a good resource for seeing the different types, but the basic sandwich starts with a crusty baguette that’s sliced in half (sometimes using a scissors) and stuffed with layers of pork, luncheon meats, shredded cured pork skin, pâté, mayonnaise, Vietnamese radish and carrot pickles, a handful of sliced cucumbers, sprigs of coriander (cilantro), and last but not least, an optional, yet in my opinion necessary, scoop of fresh pounded chilies.

The sum of these ingredients together is what really makes banh mi such a glorious sandwich. Coming from Bangkok, where I can’t remember the last time I ate bread or a sandwich for that matter, I was pretty happy to devour as many banh mi as I could when I was in Vietnam.

Here are the three main restaurants I ate banh mi when I was in Saigon.

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
The most sought after banh mi in Saigon at Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa

Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa (Banh Mi Huynh Hoa)

Mention banh mi in Saigon, and it won’t be long before someone brings up Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa (Banh Mi Huynh Hoa), what is easily the most famous place to eat banh mi pate in the city.

During just about all business hours, Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa (Banh Mi Huynh Hoa) remains busy and hectic, and if you go in the evening, you’ll actually need to be on the aggressive side to place your order and get your sandwich.

The banh mi was absolutely stuffed with multiple layers of different luncheon meats, pate, and mayonnaise, but there were less pickles, cucumber, and cilantro than on other versions I ate.  So this is really a meat lovers dream come true.

For myself, the sandwich at Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa (Banh Mi Huynh Hoa) was actually almost too heavy, and packed with too much fatty meat, but then again, I have to admit it was pretty tasty.

I can sure see why it’s so famous, and if you’re a banh mi lover, this is a place you don’t want to miss.

Address: 26 Lê Thị Riêng, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: About 3:30 pm – midnight daily
Price: 30,000 VND ($1.40), more expensive than others, but worth it for the amount of meat

Bánh Mì Hồng Hoa

I was just walking around Saigon one morning when I stumbled into a restaurant called Bánh Mì Hồng Hoa.

I noticed there were quite a few motorbikes rolling up, ordering sandwiches and fresh bread, and some motorbikes loading up big bags of baguettes. That was enough of a sign for me to need to eat there.

I ordered just the standard bánh mì, a fresh and crusty baguette filled with slices of pork, luncheon meat, pate, mayonnaise, some nicely flavorful chillies, and a handful of freshly sliced cucumbers, and fragrant cilantro.

What I especially loved about their version, was that it was heavy on the herbs and fresh veggies.

The family running the business were all very nice and helpful, and they were excited that I was eating there. It turned out to be one of my favorite banh mi sandwiches of my time in Saigon.

Address: 62 Nguyễn Văn Tráng, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: I think open in the morning, I arrived at 8 am, and they seemed to be at their peak serving, so good place for breakfast
Price: 17,000 VND ($0.80)

pork being grilled
Banh mi pork sliders

Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai

Another banh mi favorite, located right in the heart of Saigon, and pretty popular with both locals in the neighborhood and tourists, is a stall that sets up in the late afternoon, known as Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai.

They specialize in banh mi filled with little grilled minced pork sliders. The pork was seasoned and freshly grilled, and when I ordered, the baguette was filled with grilled pork patties and lots of cucumbers and herbs, and sauce that was almost like teriyaki.

Overall, very good, and if you’re in the area, it’s a definite must-stop to eat snack.

Address: 37 Nguyễn Trãi, Ho Chi Minh City (though the address is 37, it’s right at Hem 39)
Open hours: From around 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm each day
Price: 16,000 VND ($0.75)

vietnamese food menu
Vietnamese op la – one of my favorite breakfasts

2. Ốp la (op la)

A beautiful alternative to the banh mi sandwich is a Vietnamese dish called op la, or eggs cooked in a littler personal pan, often supplemented by slices of meat like ham, onions, and served with those wonderful crusty Vietnamese baguettes.

Just like some other dishes on this blog, op la offers a bit of a fusion of Vietnamese and Western ingredients and cooking methods, all blended into a single meal.

Although there are many variations of op la, to me what really makes it good is if the eggs are sunny side up, so the yolk is extra runny, and what makes it even better is if it’s served topped with caramelized onions and peppers.

Banh mi op la makes a favorite breakfast for many locals in Saigon, and it most definitely hits the spot before a long day exploring the city.

Vietnamese street food
Street food environment can hardy get better than this!

Bánh Mì Hòa Mã

When I was in Saigon, one of the places I was really excited to eat at was Bánh Mì Hòa Mã, which a few of you recommended, saying I needed to try it.

After doing a bit more research, I found out another great blog, Eating Asia had already written about this spot.

It’s a popular breakfast place, and, although they had a few different things on their menu, their main dish is banh mi op la, fresh toasted baguettes with eggs fried in a personal pan.

Just a few moments after I ordered, my flaming hot (you can literally hear the sizzle as it’s brought down the alley to your table) personal pan of fried eggs was rushed to my table, with an aroma that made my taste buds water immediately.

I ordered two runny eggs, which were topped with a handful of assorted fried luncheon meats (they taste similar to SPAM), and a handful of caramelized onions and green peppers.

Along with serving wonderful food, another great thing about eating here is the open air, side of the street dining atmosphere.  The kitchen is located on the corner of the main Cao Thang road, but little plastic tables and chairs are set up along the quieter side of the alley, lined up in a row.

Eating a delicious breakfast of banh mi op la, sitting next to the cool shaded wall, could hardly get any better for me.

It was one of the best breakfasts I had.

Address: 53 Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 7 am – 10 am or so, until they sell out
Prices: For a full banh mi op la the price is somewhere around 30,000 – 40,000 VND, our total bill for two of us, with two meals, tea, bread, and pate came to 91,000 VND ($4.21)

top Vietnamese dishes
Phở (pho) – One of the most recognized Vietnamese creations. Pictured meal is from Pho Phuong

3. Phở (pho)

No matter if you’ve been to Vietnam before or not, you’ve likely heard of pho, if not already eaten it many times before.

The noodle soup didn’t become so famous for nothing – it really is one of the most common dishes in throughout the country, and it makes the Vietnamese food menu at nearly every sit-down restaurant too.

Pho is the combination of soft rice noodles in a soup broth, normally prepared with either bo (beef) or ga (chicken) – both of which can be extremely delicious, but I’m normally more of a beef kind of guy.

The noodles are flash boiled until soft, topped with your choice of meat, and often finished with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and sometimes sweet onions as well.

But what I really love most about eating pho in Vietnam is the fresh plate of herbs, typically including sawtooth herb, mint, and Vietnamese coriander, along with house-made chili sauce, that’s on your table for self-service when you eat it.

While I did enjoy a bowl of pho from time to time when I was in Vietnam, I think pho is sort of the pad thai of Vietnamese cuisine, in that, yes it’s very good, however there are also so many other delicious dishes to try – perhaps it has a little undeserved fame, when compared to so many other delicious Vietnamese dishes?

Pho So 1 Ha Noi
A soothing bowl at Pho So 1 Ha Noi

Pho So 1 Ha Noi

After visiting the cathedral of Notre Dame and walking around the park for a while, I continued walking along the street, and all of a sudden I felt myself getting extremely hungry.

I looked up, and there was a pleasant looking restaurant called Pho So 1 Ha Noi.

It was a nice open air eatery, with clean metal tables, and stashed piles of herbs and condiments. I ordered pho bo (beef pho ) and Ying had the pho ga (chicken pho), both of which were simple, and flavorful.

I especially loved the all-you-can-eat herbs, pickled garlic, and chilies. The owner, was quite a friendly man as well.

Pho So 1 Ha Noi is a great simple restaurant to eat pho at if you happen to be in the area. After eating here and looking this place up, I found Jodi also loves this place.

Address: 25 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Saigon, Vietnam
Open hours: All day and night – they are open 24 hours
Prices: 28,000 VND ($1.29) for a bowl

Phở Phượng 25

There are countless restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City to devour a bowl of pho, from the tiniest of street food stalls, to indoor air conditioned restaurants.

I think probably the best versions of pho (and possibly the best versions of many dishes throughout southeast Asia), come from the restaurants that are somewhere in-between – the open air, family run establishments – sometimes in shophouses, sometimes in the front of homes, and sometimes at the bottom of apartment buildings.

I was browsing through Vietnam Coracle, when I found Phở Phượng 25, and I was in the area one day, so decided to try it. I ordered the pho tai, the rare beef version of pho.

The broth was a little on the sweet side for me, but it was nicely balanced, just slightly oily, but rich and flavorful, with a subtle hint of spice. The beef, after dipping it in the roasted chili sauce, was delicious.

Address: 25 Hoàng Sa, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (it’s located very close to the famous Lunch Lady of Saigon)
Open hours: 6 am – 9 pm daily – great for any meal
Prices: 40,000 VND ($1.85) for my bowl

Other suggestions for pho in Saigon I received but wasn’t able to eat at (yet):

Vietnamese dishes
Bún riêu – one of my favorite bowls of Vietnamese noodles

4. Bún riêu (bun rieu)

Vietnam is a land of noodle soups, and many enjoy at least one bowl of noodles a day, some, maybe even a few.

After trying many different types of Vietnamese noodle soups during my stay in Saigon, I “think – and I say that because I change my food mind quite often” I can say my favorite is bun rieu.

bun rieu
Bun rieu being brewed

The broth is made from a crab base stock, and another key ingredient are tomatoes, which create a broth that’s slightly seafood tasting, yet has a beautiful natural sweet and tartness from the tomatoes. I think there’s also often some rice vinegar included in the recipe to give it a lovely sour and well-rounded flavor.

Along with the wonderfully flavorful broth in a bowl of bun rieu, the noodles are often similar in shape and size to spaghetti noodles, except soft rice noodles.

Topping the noodles are pieces of golden fried tofu, sometimes meatballs, hearty chunks of pork, squares of congealed pig’s blood, and finally a slab of rich crab paste.

The dish reminded me of a few similar Thai dishes like northern Thai nam ngiao, a tomato stew.

To eat bun rieu, you normally garnish it with shrimp paste or crab paste, then load it up with chili sauce, a squeeze (or I like multiple squeezes) of lime juice, and then devour it with a small mountain of herbs and shredded vegetables.

For noodle soup in Vietnam, I really think it can’t get much better than a steaming hot bowl of bun rieu cua.

Bún riêu Nguyễn Cảnh Chân

Another recommendation from the YouTube video, was a restaurant called Bún riêu Nguyễn Cảnh Chân.

It proved to be an insanely delicious restaurant, that not only served an excellent bowl of bun rieu cua, but the staff were all friendly, and I like that the restaurant was located on a pleasant wide side road in Saigon, shaded by nice big trees.

My bowl of bun rieu cua at Bún riêu Nguyễn Cảnh Chân was perfectly balanced, with a gorgeous crab flavor, a hint of bitterness, and a light sweetness from the always simmering tomatoes.

The meat and other ingredients in the soup were generously added, and the condiments were pungent and flavorful. This was indeed one of my most memorable bowls of noodles during my trip to Vietnam.

Address: 18/5 Nguyễn Cảnh Chân, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 11 am – 7 pm daily
Prices: 45,000 VND ($2.08)

Here are some other recommended places:

vietnamese food blog
Bún mắm – They flavor of the Mekong Delta

5. Bún mắm (bun mam)

Graham Holliday, an author and expert on Vietnamese food labels bun mam, despite its pungent smell, as his wholly favorite Vietnamese noodle dish.

Bun mam is specifically a southern Vietnamese dish, and just like most other noodle soups, you’ll find it at both sit down restaurants and portable street food stalls around town – though it’s not nearly as common to spot as some other noodle dishes on this blog.

The base of any bowl of bun mam (bún mắm) is a dark colored broth prepared with fermented fish sauce (which I believe is similar to Thai pla ra).

The fermented fish sauce gives the soup broth a well rounded, balanced flavor, and it’s honestly not nearly as fishy as it might sound or smell.

Along with the broth, bun, or rice vermicelli noodles, are loaded into the bottom of the bowl, before the entire assortment of meats like squid, prawns, and pork are all scattered on top of the noodles.

Finally, a slice or two of eggplant, which soaks up all the broth, is another essential component of a bowl of southern Vietnamese bun mam.

In addition to the glorious fish flavor, the broth of a bowl of bun mam is usually sweetened with tamarind juice and sugar.

Although bun mam was honestly a little too sweet of a flavor for me (I’d go with a bowl of bun rieu most of the time), it is widely popular, and it’s a Vietnamese food you definitely need to try when you’re in the city.

Bún Mắm Phan Bội Châu

Recommended by both from Mark from Sticky Rice Hanoi (one of the top Vietnamese food blogs especially covering Hanoi) and Jodi from Legal Nomads, Bún Mắm Phan Bội Châu is a longstanding restaurant, located right across the street from Benh Thanh Market, that serves hot fresh bowls of bun mam.

Their broth was dark and beautiful, and along with the noodles, the mixture of goodies, like shrimp, a slice of pork belly, and a few bites of tangly squid were wonderful.

Probably my favorite bite out of my entire bowl of bun mam, was not even the meat, but it was the eggplant, which was extremely succulent and juicy.

Despite enjoying my bowl of bun mam, I thought their broth was overall much too sweet for my personal preference. I’m not sure if it’s always like this, or if this particular restaurant serves their bun mam on the sweet side?

Nevertheless, Bún Mắm Phan Bội Châu is in a great location, so if you happen to be shopping at Benh Than Market, you can easily stop by to sample it.

Address: 22 Phan Bội Châu, across from Ben Thanh market, Saigon
Open hours: Not sure exactly, but they are open for breakfast, lunch and throughout the afternoon
Price: 65,000 VND ($3) per bowl

bun bo hue
Bún bò Huế – A hugely popular Vietnamese food

6. Bún bò Huế (bun bo Hue)

Probably one of the dishes most mentioned that many of you suggested I should eat in Vietnam was bun bo Hue (I think there’s an entire Vietnamese culture surrounding this dish, and it may be gaining some traction against pho)!

Alright, bun bo Hue is not actually from Saigon, it originates in Hue – a city on the coast of central Vietnam, which unfortunately I haven’t been able to visit yet – but I included it on this Vietnamese street food guide because it’s one of the most beloved noodle soups in Saigon as well.

Bun bo Hue is beef based, and in Vietnam it’s known for being spicy and flavorful.

The broth, which if made to specification, should be full of beef bone flavor, and fragrant with lemongrass, has a wonderful taste, like a citrusy beef soup.

The noodles are normally rice vermicelli noodles, of the sphagetti size, and a bowl of bun bo Hue is often served with slices of beef, a hunk of either ox tail or pork knuckle, cha lua (Vietnamese sausage and ham), and a handful of green and sweet onions.

Again just like every other noodle dish, the extra herbs, flash boiled vegetables, and chilies, give bun bo Hue an added dimension of deliciousness.

i am a food blog calls bun bo Hue, a dish “you never knew you loved,” and that was true for myself, having never had it before going to Vietnam, but I loved it (by the way, check out her amazing recipe for the dish).

For myself, after bun rieu, bun bo Hue is probably my next favorite Vietnamese soup, and I haven’t even been to Hue yet.

Bún bò Chú Há

I’ve eaten noodles for years and years in Asia, and throughout multiple countries, and I have to say, Bún bò Chú Há was the first bowl I’ve ever had served in a clear see-through bowl.

It was pretty cool, like eating out of a fish aquarium where I could see what was swimming in my soup.

All jokes aside, I thought the bun bo Hue at Bún bò Chú Há restaurant was wonderful. The broth had a superb umami depth to it, was salty and just slightly sweet, with a citrus touch.

The slices of beef were lightly chewy, as they should be, but the real highlight was the hunk of ox tail (I think?), which was tender and juicy, and just slid off the bone.

Along with serving a delicious bowl of bun bo Hue (and those awesome transparent glass bowls), the duo of ladies who served me (whom I assume are the owners of the family run restaurant) were extremely kind.

After she dished out my hot bowl of soup, I took about 50 pictures from all angles, and after photographing my bowl, I then sat down to make a video and eat it.

But just as I was about to start seasoning my bowl, the owner ran up to me, and said something and grabbed my bowl. Next she proceeded to dump out all the broth (which was cold by then), and filled it up with brand new hot steaming broth.

She handed it back to me with a smile. Now that’s Vietnamese hospitality.

Address: 300 Võ Văn Tần, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 6 am – 10 pm daily
Price: 60,000 VND ($2.77) per bowl, a bit expensive, but extremely generous on the meat

Also check out these spots:

Saigon street food
Bún mọc – a simple soothing bowl of Vietnamese noodles

7. Bún mọc (bun moc)

On one of my final days in Saigon, I was walking around a local neighborhood market and decided to try yet another Vietnamese noodle soup dish – this time, a dish called bun moc.

The noodles, bun, are the thin soft rice vermicelli noodles, which are so easy to eat and go down so easily as well.

The broth in bun moc is normally pork based, a simple and soothing soup, that’s not spicy at all, but just comforting. It’s the type of noodle soup you might want to eat relaxing rainy day.

Along with the rice vermicelli noodles and pork broth, a bowl of bun moc also typically includes some chunks of pork meat, maybe even a bone, meatballs, and Vietnamese sausage.

Although bun moc is said to have originated in the north of Vietnam, it’s extremely popular throughout Saigon as well.

Bun moc street food stalls

Since I had so many other Vietnamese foods to try, I actually only managed to eat bun muc once, at a small tiny little street food stall in the middle of an alley near Chợ Bàn Cờ market (I put the little food stall on the map, but this place is not worth going out of your way just to eat, because you’ll find the same thing all over the city).

The lady serving the bun moc was extremely friendly and generous, and I ordered up just her normal bowl of bun moc.

The noodles were slippery and silky, and my bowl included a nice hunk of pork, some slices of Vietnamese sausage, and what really made it for me, a handful of crispy deep fried shallots thrown on top.

I seasoned my bowl of bun moc with lime juice, plenty of black pepper, herbs, and crushed chilies, and it was a wonderful Vietnamese street food breakfast.

Price: 30,000 VND ($1.38)

Hủ tiếu Nam Vang
Hủ tiếu Nam Vang – Vietnamese cuisine

8. Hủ tiếu Nam Vang (Hu tieu Nam Vang)

Yet another dish, that has a huge following of Vietnamese cuisine lovers, is Hu tieu Nam Vang.

Nam Vang, as I understand, is the Vietnamese word for Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and Hủ Tieu has connections to Teochew in China.

So what does that have to do with this Vietnamese favorite food?

As I’ve read, Hủ Tieu Nam Vang is a Cambodian and Chinese pork based noodle soup, that contains slices of all sorts of organs, and a shrimp or few, plus an assortment of other additions.

Hủ Tieu Nam Vang was a little on the plain side for my personal taste buds, but I did like it when spiced up with some chili paste, loaded with chilies, and combined with that huge fresh plate of herbs and vegetables that it’s always served with.

I often saw local Vietnamese season their Hủ Tieu Nam Vang with the transparent looking chili sauce and dark soy sauce as well.

Hu Tieu Nam Vang on the street

Just a few minutes walk from where I was staying at Le Blanc Hotel in Saigon was Cao Thang road (where there are a number of wonderful restaurants including the outstanding op la restaurant #2 on this food guide), I was walking around when I noticed a crowd huddled around a noodle stall on the street.

Dangling from a tree branch was a sign that said “Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang – 22,000” – and the price and the atmosphere made it nearly impossible for me not to sit down for a bowl.

Since it was quite a budget price for a bowl of noodles especially in central Saigon District 1, it wasn’t all that heavy on the meat, yet it was a nice mixture of noodles, pig parts, a shrimp, and a nice basket of herbs and vegetables to garnish.

It was simple, but just normal, and quite tasty, plus the street food atmosphere here was perfect.

Address: It’s on Cao Thang road just past Nguyen Dinh Chieu
Open hours: Open for lunch for sure from about 10 am – 2 pm or so
Price: 22,000 VND ($1) – it’s pretty cheap but didn’t include much meat

Hủ tiếu Nam Vang Nhân Quán
Wonderful bowl of food at Hủ tiếu Nam Vang Nhân Quán

Hủ tiếu Nam Vang Nhân Quán

Another bowl of Hủ tiếu, this time a different style, was at another restaurant not far from where I stayed, at a famous place called Hủ tiếu Nam Vang Nhân Quán.

The bowl of noodles at this restaurant was more expensive than at the street food stall above, but it included at least twice the amount of meat, and it indeed was better quality.

This time around, I ordered yellow egg noodles and instead of the soup inside, I got the soup on the side. I have to admit, this was a marvelous bowl of noodles, stacked with toppings and flavor.

Address: I think there are a number of different location, but I ate at the branch on 72 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền
Open hours: About 5 pm – 10 pm
Price: 65,000 VND ($3)

Other suggestions which I haven’t tried: 

famous Vietnamese food
Bún chả – A famous Vietnamese dish from Hanoi

9. Bún chả (bun cha)

Just like bun bo Hue, another dish on this list that’s not from Saigon, but this time rather from Hanoi, is bun cha.

The reason I included it on this Saigon food article is because I simply love it – if there’s ever a restaurant with a country wide Vietnamese food menu, I would probably jump at bun cha.

When I visited Hanoi, years ago back in 2010 or so, I had bun cha at one of the most well known spots, and it blew my mind with how good it was.

For years I dreamed about another bowl of bun cha, until finally I returned to Vietnam this time-round, and I needed to satisfy my craving.

Bun cha is a dish that uses bun, fresh rice vermicelli noodles, the same noodles used in bun thit nuong, which are soft and easy to chew.

The next component of bun cha, are little seasoned pork patties (kind of like pork sliders), that are grilled over charcoal.

A plate of bun is served alongside a bowl of grilled pork patties, which after being grilled, are served in a smokey sour soup, and finally a plate of herbs and green vegetables are served to accompany everything.

The main way I saw most Vietnamese eating bun cha, was to add a bit of rice vermicelli to the pork patty soup, garnish with garlic, chilies, and herbs, and then repeat.

Bun cha is an absolute sensational dish, and if you don’t visit Hanoi, even though that’s definitely where the best is, you can still try it in Saigon.

Bún Chả Ánh Hồng Hà Nội

From some research on many Vietnamese food blogs and websites, on one of my final days in Saigon, I finally decided to try and get a flavor for the dish I had missed for so long since my previous trip to Hanoi.

I settled on a place called Bún Chả Ánh Hồng, because it wasn’t too far, and I had tried to visit a few places closer to Benh Thanh Market that seemed to be closed.

Anyway, when I arrived to Ánh Hồng, I could smell the aroma of pork smoke pouring from the entrance. From the front it looked just like a tiny restaurant, but walk into the alley, and inside the restaurant opens up into a large courtyard with plenty of tables and staff.

The grilled pork was wonderful, extremely smoky, and the soup was salty and a little sweet. The bun and herbs were delicious.

Overall, it wasn’t as good as I remember in Hanoi, but it was still pretty tasty and definitely worth eating.

Address: 140b Lý Chính Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: 6:30 am – 8 pm daily
Prices: bowls of normal sized bun cha combinations are 38,000 VND ($1.75)

best Saigon street food
Bánh canh cua – Ultimat crab noodles in Saigon

10. Bánh canh cua (banh canh cua)

Banh canh, according to Wikipedia, actually means soup cake in Vietnamese, that’s the literal translation.

That’s likely because the noodles are so hearty and so thick.

Banh canh is quite similar to Japanese udon noodles, except I thought the noodles, which are typically made with a combination of rice and tapioca starch, were more sticky and a little chewier than udon, which are typically made with wheat flour.

Although there are a few different versions of banh canh, the one I ate, and fully enjoyed was banh canh cua, the thick starchy noodles with crab.

Instead of being a typical noodle soup with a thin stock, banh canh cua is more like a hearty stew, the broth is thickened like gravy, almost like Thai cuisine style radna.

The gravy normally has quite a mellow crab flavor, but what’s really impressive are the nuggets of crab meat that come in a bowl, and the toppings, including chilies and limes.

If you’re a crab lover like I am, this is a Vietnamese dish for you.

Banh Canh Cua
Banh Canh Cua

Bánh Canh Cua Trần Khắc Chân

A few of you said that this was your favorite version of banh canh cua in all of Saigon, so I knew it was a place I needed to try.

Trần Khắc Chân only opens in the afternoon, and I thought I was going to beat the crowds by arriving at a random time, about 3 pm in the middle of the afternoon. But I arrived to find nearly the entire restaurant was already packed out.

I ordered just the normal bowl of banh canh cua, which was pretty good sized, and came brimming to the top of the bowl with gravy, swirls of noodles, and an impressive collection of crab and meatballs. A hit of lime juice and chilies made things even better, and I absolutely loved it.

On top of a marvelous bowl of banh canh cua, all the staff and the owner of the restaurant were all very kind and smiled when we said we were from Thailand.

Address:87 Trần Khắc Chân, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 2 pm – 9:30 pm daily
Prices: 35,000 VND ($1.62) per bowl, and then I had a plate of Chinese donuts for just – 3,000 VND, good price for great food

Vietnamese flavors
Bun thit nuong – A wonderful mixture of flavors

11. Bún thịt nướng (bun thit nuong)

Vietnamese cuisine is brilliant for combining a contrast of flavors and textures into a single dish, and I think bun thit nuong, or better yet bun thit nuong cha gio, is a great example of this.

The dish normally begins with a handful of chopped up herbs and lettuce at the bottom of a bowl, then in goes fresh rice vermicelli noodles (similar to Thai khanom jeen noodles), then a few skewers of grilled pork are layered on that, and finally a sweet and salty fish sauce, and a scoop of oily chives and green onions, and pickles are all added on top.

If you get the bun thit nuong cha gio, in addition to everything already mentioned, you’ll also get a fried spring or two chopped up on top, which bumps the delicious-meter up another notch.

The noodles are soft and silky, the pork is tender, salty, and sweet, and the egg rolls (cha gio) add a beautiful crunch to everything.

When I was in Vietnam, I enjoyed dousing my bowl of bun thit nuong with a few scoops of freshly ground chili (which should usually be on your table) to balance out the sweetness and make it fiery.

Bun thit nuong is a dish you should for sure not miss when you’re eating in Saigon.

Chị Thông Bún Thịt Nướng

Chị Thông is a well known spot in Saigon for bun thit nuong. I was originally tipped for this spot from Eating Saigon, a great food blog if you’re looking for delicious restaurants to eat at in Saigon.

They open starting in the morning and don’t close until the night, so you can go to get your fix of this famous dish pretty much anytime you’re craving it. I decided to go for a mid-morning breakfast – I think we arrived at about 9 am. There were just a few other diners, so it wasn’t too busy, but they still had plenty of fresh food.

I ate bun thit nuong cha gio, including rice vermicelli noodles, some shredded herbs and lettuce, and then on top, a couple of grilled skewers of pork, plus a chopped fried spring roll (cha gio). Finally, a scoop of sauce, a spoon of Vietnamese pickles, and a garnish of green onions and pork rinds, to top it off.

The bun thit nuong at Chị Thông was very tasty, good quality, and it’s a nice clean restaurant.

In addition to delicious food, everyone there was so friendly – when I was taking photos and a video, they were incredibly nice to me.

Get all the details here.

Address: 195 Cô Giang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 7 am – 10 pm daily
Prices: 40,000 VND ($1.85)

Bánh tằm bì
Banh tam bi – Noodles in coconut milk sauce

12. Bánh tằm bì (banh tam bi)

Bánh tằm bì is a food that’s only available in the south of Vietnam, and if you love the flavor of coconut milk, you’re going to fully enjoy banh tam bi.

Just like banh canh cua (food featured above), banh tam bi is a dish that uses a similar thick noodle – yet the flavor and the toppings are much different.

A plate of banh tam bi often begins with a handful of roughly cut herbs, including lots of sweet basil and Vietnamese coriander on the bottom, topped by a pile of thick sticky rice noodles, a scoop of both finely shaved pig skin and pork meat, a garnish of green onions, and finally a ladle of thick coconut cream sauce.

The noodles are sticky and soft, the herbs add a nice fresh touch, and the gravy is typically sweet and buttery from the coconut milk.

While I did think banh tam bi was pretty good, it’s not a dish I really loved because it was on the sweet side for me, and lacking a strong or spicy flavor.

Nevertheless, it was very enjoyable and I did like it, but it would be more of an occasional dish on my Vietnamese menu repertoire. But again, if you love coconut milk, you should by all means try banh tam bi.

Bánh Tằm Bì Đồng Tháp

Bánh Tằm Bì Đồng Tháp was a restaurant I was recommended to try, and after exploring Chinatown in the morning, we weren’t too far from the restaurant, so we checked it out.

From the outside, I could see the noodles in the display cabinet, and again, they looked almost like Japanese udon noodles.

The little shop was homely and small. At the front were a few display cabinet street food carts, serving both banh tam bi and some Vietnamese desserts (which I didn’t try but looked quite popular). Behind the street food carts was a full dining room with little stainless steel tables and chairs.

I ordered just the normal plate of banh tam bi, with was assembled by one of the kind ladies there.

It was rich and creamy, and although as I mentioned already, it was a little sweet for me, I did really like the mix of fresh Vietnamese herbs, and the rich coconut milk.

They also serve a number of other dishes like cha gio (fried spring rolls) and banh mi (sandwich).

Address: 352 Nguyễn Trãi, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: 9 am – 11 pm daily
Prices: All together we ate 2 plates of banh tam bi, 1 banh mi, 1 plate of goi cuon (fresh summer rolls), plus a couple of drinks, and our total price came to 126,000 VND ($5.86) – so I’m guessing the plates of banh tam bi were about 30 – 35,000 VND each

Vietnamese rolls
Banh cuon makes a wonderful snack or light meal

13. Bánh cuốn (banh cuon)

I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese bánh cuốn, and though originally comes from the northern part of the country, it’s extremely popular throughout Saigon.

Banh cuon, which directly translates to rice cakes, are sort of like noodle wrapped, non-deep fried spring rolls, packed full of savory ingredients.

To prepare the recipe for banh cuon, a thin layer of rice and tapioca flour batter is steamed into a noodle like crepe. It’s then filled, often with a combination of lightly seasoned minced pork, small dried shrimp, and wood-ear mushrooms, and served with finely shaved lettuce and blanched bean sprouts on the side.

Finally, you can’t eat banh cuon without dipping it into sweet fish sauce, known as nuoc cham, the stuff many people say is the lifestream of Vietnamese cuisine, and I personally can’t live without chilies.

What I love about banh cuon are the soft fresh noodle wrappers, and since I’m not a huge desserts or sweets lover, I like the salty mix of pork and shrimp on the inside.

When I was walking though local fresh wet markets in Saigon, I noticed banh cuon being made all over the place, especially in small tightly packed alleys. So keep an eye out for banh cuon all over the place.

Bánh Cuốn Hải Nam

Vietnamese banh beo
Banh beo

One of the most well known restaurants to eat banh cuon in Saigon is Banh Cuon Hai Nam.

The restaurant is not hard to miss, with its huge big blue sign and red popping characters, and at night, the sign lights up with near obnoxious flashing lights, and a host of pink shirted waitresses and cooks.

On the front patio of Banh Cuon Hai Nam you can watch the the rice batter crepes being steamed, and then freshly assembled into the delicious rolls.

They actually have a full menu of different Vietnamese noodle dishes you can order, but the main and most popular dish is their banh cuon. I also tried their version of banh beo, little bowl sized cakes topped with the same filling as the banh cuon, which were also very tasty as well.

On my first visit to Banh Cuon Hai Nam, I came along with, who said it was one of his favorite spots in Saigon for banh cuon.

Address: 11A Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: 7:30 am – 10:45 pm daily
Price: A normal plate of banh cuon is 30,000 VND ($1.38) here

banh xeo
Banh xeo, a Vietnamese crepe

14. Bánh xèo (banh xeo)

Sort of like a crepe, and sort of like a Thai oyster omelet, a Vietnamese banh xeo is a crispy savory snack that’s a favorite for many.

Just like banh mi sandwiches, banh xeo is a bit of a French inspired Vietnamese culture creation.

A thin layer of batter is fried in a lot of oil, then combined with your choice of ingredients, often including slices of pork belly, shrimp, and onions, then folded over with a handful of lightly cooked bean sprouts in the middle.

By far the best part of eating banh xeo for myself is getting to dress and garnish each bite with a bounty of herbs and toppings (are you seeing the pattern with herbs and vegetables in Vietnamese cuisine!?).

You can really eat banh xeo however you want, but the common method is to take a few leaves of lettuce or mustard leaves, load in a piece of the golden crispy crepe, top it with some more herbs like sweet basil and perilla leaves, add some chili (or a lot of it), roll it up like a green spring roll, and then dip the entire treat into the sweet Vietnamese fish sauce dressing.

From what I understand, banh xeo in the south of Vietnam are usually larger in size, almost approaching south Indian dosa status, while in other parts of Vietnam they are usually smaller.

Banh Xeo 46A

banh xeo
A bite of banh xeo, ready to be devoured

Undoubtedly the most well known restaurant in all of Saigon for devouring hot and huge banh xeo is Banh Xeo 46A, and just like the famous Lunch Lady, Anthony Bourdain ate here and made it extremely famous.

Their menu is written in Vietnamese, English, and Japanese, and they might even have a few other languages as well – so you can tell how well known they are – they’ve been included in just about every Vietnam travel guide and food guide.

Today Banh Xeo 46A remains one of the most popular spots in Saigon for the dish. It’s a nice open air restaurant, tucked down a side street. The cooking is all done in the front of the restaurant, and you can see your crepe being prepared right in front of you – and they still use charcoal.

Ying and I ate here with Kyle, and we ordered the special sized banh xeo, a huge crepe filled with shrimp and pork belly. The herbs and vegetables were my favorite part of eating banh xeo.

Address: 46 Đinh Công Tráng, Tan Dinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 9 am – 9 pm daily
Prices: We ordered the giant special banh xeo which was pretty big and pretty expensive at 110,000 VND ($5.09) – prices are very high here due to fame I think

banh khot
Vietnamese mini pancakes – banh khot

15. Bánh khọt (banh khot)

While banh xeo is the crepe of Vietnamese cuisine, banh khot are the little pancake sliders.

I have to say that for myself personally, I enjoy eating banh khot probably better overall than banh xeo – banh khot makes a delicious little light meal or snack.

The batter of banh khot is made from rice flour, sometimes even leftover rice like in Helen’s recipe, coconut milk, and a hint of turmeric powder to give it that slightly yellow color.

The batter is then fried in a hot griddle, the same pan used to make Thai khanom krok (little coconut griddle cakes).

As the batter is sizzling away in plenty of oil, a shrimp is placed in the center of the griddle pancake along with a sprinkle of green onions, which cooks into the top of the batter. The banh khot is finished when the batter is cooked, and the outside is golden and crispy.

Banh khot, just like banh xeo, is served with a healthy assortment of lettuce and mustard leaves, and herbs and green leafy vegetables.

Finally, banh khot wouldn’t be complete without the sweet fish sauce dressing.

Chợ Bàn Cờ market stall

Banh khot is an excellent Vietnamese street food, and as I was walking around local markets in Saigon, I noticed banh khot being made in a number of different places, always quite popular, and at nearly every stall there were people waiting to order.

While exploring Chợ Bàn Cờ market one morning, I stopped at a banh khot stall (which I’m not sure of the name, but I did include it on the map).

She quickly made her banh khot, pouring in the batter, and the smell and sizzle could be detected from across the market.

One of the things I loved about the banh khot here is that after I ordered a plate, she asked if I wanted some extra coconut cream on top. I got half of them with coconut cream, but after tasting it, I wish I would have gotten all of them topped with it.

Anyway, they were freshly fried, still hot and extremely crispy, and one of the best things was the amazing market environment (watch the video if you haven’t already).

Address: Somewhere in the tangle of Chợ Bàn Cờ market
Open hours: No sure, but I think for most of the day
Price: 20,000 VND ($0.92) for a plate that included about 10

Bánh Khọt Cô Ba Vũng Tàu

When I ate at Co Ba Vung Tau, a nicer end restaurant, I had no clue it was famous for banh khot. But by a random chance I happen to order banh khot, among a few other dishes.

Overall the food was good, the service was friendly, and it is a very popular restaurant with local Vietnamese.

I thought the banh khot at the street food stall topped with coconut cream was overall more my style, but Bánh Khọt Cô Ba Vũng Tàu is a nice clean restaurant to eat banh khot.

Their menu also includes all sorts of other dishes, and Vietnamese desserts.

Address: 102 Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (but there are a couple of locations)
Open hours: 7 am – 10 pm, if you go during peak mealtimes it can get pretty busy
Price: Ying and I had a full meal of about 3 – 4 dishes for around the 200 – 300,000 VND ($9.23 – $13.85) range

Bột chiên
Vietnamese rice cakes – bột chiên

16. Bột chiên (bot chien)

In Singapore and Malaysia it’s known as a carrot cake, in Thailand it’s kkanom pak gat, and in Vietnam it’s known as bot chien. But all versions have Chinese Teochew chai tao kway to thank.

Bot chien is basically fried rice cakes. The rice cakes are made from rice flour and tapioca starch, and although Chinese and some other southeast Asian versions include daikon radish in the cakes, I think they are normally just rice in Vietnam.

The cakes are sliced into bite sized pieces, then fried, normally on a hot skillet in lots of lard, along with some light seasonings, until crispy and golden brown on the edges. Once cooked, the rice cakes are topped with an egg and a handful of green onions before being served.

The result of bot chien are little bite sized nuggets of crispy sticky rice flour, enriched with egg, and with a nice smoky flavor.

It’s not the healthiest Vietnamese delicacy, that’s for sure, but it sure is tasty once in a while.

bot chien
Frying up some bot chien

Street food stall at Chợ Bàn Cờ market

Again, just like some other dishes on this guide, for bot chien I headed to Chợ Bàn Cờ market, mostly because it was near where I was staying, and it’s a wonderful local market (but there are many other similar markets scattered in abundance throughout the city).

Within a lane, there was a table set up, surrounded by motorbikes, like so many other street food dining establishments in Saigon, and as I approached I could smell the sizzling rice cakes.

The bot chien was served on a plate, along with a side sauce which I think was a mostly soy sauce and vinegar that had a sweet tinge to it.

What I really liked about this version of bot chien was that she served it topped with a handful of thinly shredded green papaya, giving it a nice fresh touch.

Address: Somewhere around Hem 174 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, just off Ban Co street
Open hours: I’m actually not sure, but I ate this plate of bot chien at about 10 am and she was open. I think she’s open from morning to evening.
Prices: 25,000 VND ($1.15) for a plate

For a more sit down bot chien experience, check out Bột Chiên Đạt Thành.

Vietnamese summer rolls
Gỏi cuốn – some of the best known Vietnamese food, summer rolls

17. Gỏi cuốn & chả giò

While pho might be the first dish that many people think of when they think about Vietnamese cuisine, for myself, it was and always has been goi cuon, the fresh, non-deep-fried summer rolls (though I often call them fresh spring rolls) that are ubiquitous is Vietnam.

Goi cuon are made with rice paper, known as banh trang, that’s slightly moistened, then filled with, typically a mixture of rice vermicelli noodles, pieces of pork, shrimp, and then stuffed with leaves and herbs like basil and lettuce before being wrapped.

Finally, Vietnamese summer rolls are often served with a nutty hoisin dipping sauce and accompanied by freshly ground chili.

I could probably eat goi cuon all day long and with every meal, so I was pretty happy to see them available nearly everywhere I looked in Saigon. From street food stalls to fancy restaurants, you’ll never be far from goi cuon.

Cha gio, are completely different taste-wise than their goi cuon counterparts, and they share few characteristics other than their egg roll shape and the fact that they’re often sold side by side at many restaurants and street food stalls.

Cha gio are Vietnamese deep fried spring rolls, and though I’ve tried spring rolls (or egg rolls) in many places around the world, Vietnam makes some of the best I’ve ever had.

The egg rolls are often a combination of mung bean noodles, minced pork, and sometimes crab if you can find them, mixed with a subtle blend of salty spices, wrapped in rice paper, and then deep fried to a crisp.

What I love most about cha gio is the wrapper, which is typically prepared with rice paper, that when deep fried, almost has the crunch and thinness of baklava.

Vietnamese spring rolls
Cha gio – Vietnamese fried spring rolls

Where to eat them

Literally, you’ll find both goi cuon and cha gio at all sorts of dining establishments, from street food stalls to fancy restaurants, they are served all over the place.

When I was food exploring in Saigon, my favorite place to eat goi cuon and cha gio was deep within local fresh markets, tucked into alleys, and all of a sudden I’d see a lady rolling up fresh summer rolls and I could hardly resist sitting down for a snack.

Turtle Lake Saigon
Bánh tráng trộn at Turtle Lake in Saigon

18. Bánh tráng trộn (banh trang tron)

I received a number of recommendations to eat a Vietnamese snack called banh trang tron, which as you might remember from above, banh trang is the thin rice paper.

Banh trang tron is a relatively recent Vietnamese creation, a snack of shredded rice paper, seasoned with a chili sauce, and filled with herbs like Vietnamese coriander and basil and supplemented with pieces of squid, salty fish, and quail eggs. There are probably about ten more ingredients I’m forgetting to mention in the mix as well.

It’s basically a snack or junk food, and when I was in Saigon, I noticed that it’s especially popular with youth and the younger generation, and often available at parks and public places, and nearly always served in a plastic bag.

I’m not a huge snacker, I prefer to eat big meals and not indulge in little snacks, but when in Saigon, there’s no choice but to try banh trang tron – it seems the entire younger generation LOVES it.

Bánh Tráng Trộn Chú Viên

Vietnamese salad
Some kind of salad

For my first taste of banh trang tron, I stopped at Bánh Tráng Trộn Chú Viên and I actually ordered, what seemed to me like the carb-less version of banh trang trong (maybe it was even just mango salad? do you know?), including all the ingredients without the rice paper.

But anyway, though I made a mistake ordering, they for sure have banh trang trong available as well.

Starting around 3 pm, this famous stall opens up along the busy side of the street, and motorbikes pull up to make their snack orders – it’s sort of like an extremely busy drive-through, everyone hungry for banh trang tron.

Address: 38 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: 3 pm – 9 pm daily
Prices: 20,000 VND ($0.92)

Notre Dame Cathedral and Turtle Lake at night

Another one of the most popular places to eat banh trang tron in Saigon is outside both the Notre Dame Cathedral and Turtle Lake at night. It’s a huge social hangout area for young people, and there’s nothing better to do when socializing than eat some snacks.

Banh trang tron is served all over the place here, mostly from makeshift street food stands and popup stalls. Sitting around the dark Turtle Lake at night munching on bites of bah trang tron from a plastic bag, was quite enjoyable.

Another similar park snack in Saigon is banh trang nuong, sometimes referred to as a Vietnamese pizza.

A sheet of rice paper is thrown over a grill, topped with a quail egg, some green onions, and occasional other ingredients, then folded over into a crispy taco.

It’s smoky and crunchy, and makes a good Vietnamese leisure snack, and it’s also widely available across these two social hangout spots.

best Vietnamese dishes
Cơm tấm sườn nướng – broken rice topped with a grilled pork chop

19. Cơm tấm sườn nướng (com tam suon)

You’ve seen all the previous noodle dishes mentioned in this guide, but as much as I love noodles, I love rice more.

So let’s move onto a few of the famous and most beloved Vietnamese rice based dishes.

One of the most common meals I noticed throughout my stay in Saigon, especially known as a southern favorite, is the combination of rice (which is often broken rice, which are partially broken grains of rice that occur in the milling process), topped with a grilled pork chop.

The most basic version is known as cơm tấm sườn nướng, the broken rice and a thin grilled pork chop, served on a plate and accompanied by fish sauce dressing, cucumber pickles, green onion oil, and chilies to garnish.

Starting from the most basic version of com tam suon nuong, you can then upgrade with all sorts of marvelous extra things like a fried egg, Vietnamese meatloaf, pig skin, extra pork, more sausage… the list goes on.

Com tam suon nuong is available all over in Saigon, especially at small street food stalls and markets throughout the city.

I loved eating it for lunch and dinner, and a few times for breakfast as well.

Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền

Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền
The grand-slam at Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền

Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền is likely the most famous place to eat Vietnamese broken rice and grilled pork in all of Saigon.

So this was a restaurant I knew I couldn’t miss.

I could literally smell the food from the front of the street as I approached the restaurant – a sweet porky smoky aroma that immediately made my taste buds begin to water.

When I arrived to Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền they were grilling up a mind-blowing quantity of pork, literally buckets of marinated meat, and two huge grills were continuously churning out delicious thick cut pork chops for the dozens of hungry customers.

I decided to order the full carnivore platter, what I called the grand-slam of Vietnamese food, known as cơm tấm bì chả sườn trứng ốp la, which is literally a little bit of all things meat, plus an egg, all over a small bed of piping hot broken rice.

The pork chop was meaty, sweet and salty, and thickly cut.

The meat loaf and other assorted meats were also wonderful, combining to create what was easily the best version of com tam suon I had during my stay in Saigon.

I have to admit, the food at Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền was a little on the greasy side, but it was so worth it, and such a hearty plate of delicious protein.

Thank you all for the recommendations to eat here.

Get more details here.

Address: 84 Đặng Văn Ngữ, P. 10, Quận Phú Nhuận, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 6 am – 10 pm daily, but I’d say it’s best as a lunch spot, but dinner or breakfast would also be wonderful
Prices: We ordered 1 combination plate, 1 regular plate of rice with just a pork chop, and a couple of drinks and our total bill came to 104,000 VND (I think my combination plate was about 60,000 VND – $2.77, but I think just rice and pork was more about 30,000 VND)

Other Com Tam Stalls

If you catch a whiff of pork grilling on the side of the street, they are most likely serving com tam suon nuong – you’ll find it literally everywhere.

Com tam suon is probably the meal I ate most frequently when I was in Saigon, readily available, more filling, in my opinion, than a bowl of noodles, and I’m a huge rice lover.

At many street side stalls in Saigon a plate of com tam suon nuong, with just the broken rice and pork chop should run around 30,000 VND and with an egg around 35,000 VD – 40,000 VND.

Other place to try: 

Cơm bình dân
Cơm bình dân – Known as commoner’s rice

20. Cơm bình dân (com binh dan)

Perhaps as readily available as com tom suon around Saigon, is another one of the most typical rice meals you can eat, com binh dan, which literally translates to commoner’s rice.

It’s basically the khao gaeng (rice and curry in Thailand) or nasi campur (rice and curry of Malaysia), style dining experience of Vietnam.

Com binh dan is one of the most filling meals you can buy in Saigon on a budget – easily the best stomach filling meal for value.

At any com binh dan stall you’ll first see a glass cabinet filled with the day’s supply of pre-cooked dishes, all waiting to be ordered.

The food usually ranges from braised pork belly, any number of fish dishes, and one of my favorites, tofu stuffed with minced pork and covered in tomato sauce (if you see it, you’ve got to try it, I’m sill dreaming about it).

To order your meal at a com binh dan street food stall, you can simply point and choose to whatever dishes look good.

Often a plate of rice with 2 or 3 dishes on top will cost 20,000 – 30,000 VND ($0.92 – $1.38), and if you get rice with dishes on the side in separate bowls, it will run a little higher, but you usually get bigger portions.

For myself, being a lover of rice accompanied by multiple meat and vegetable sides dishes, com binh dan is one of my favorite Vietnamese meals to eat for lunch in Saigon.

Com Binh Dan on the street

Vietnamese street food
Minced pork wrapped in tofu with tomato sauce

Walking around one day, I headed down a side street and was greeted by a delicious looking supply of pre-made dishes filled into a glass cabinet, and since I was quite hungry right then, I stopped for lunch.

This restaurant was very typical, so really you’ll find this exact type of food at thousands of stalls throughout Vietnam.

The family serving the food were all very nice and the ladies dishing out the meals were smiling and happy that I was so enthusiastically taking photos of their motherly cooking.

I had a very satisfying com binh dan lunch here, and I tried everything from fried fish, to pork and beef, and my particular favorite, again, the tofu stuffed with minced pork and topped with tomato sauce.

Address: Right off Vuon Chuoi on So 2
Open hours: I came for lunch at about 11 am
Prices: Everything we ordered came to 70,000 VND ($3.23) for my wife and I

There are a near infinite amount of com binh dan stalls throughout Saigon and you’ll find spots wherever you walk. Make sure the food looks fresh, and then order what you like.

Cá kho tộ
Cá kho tộ (ca kho to) – sweet braised catfish in a claypot

21. Cá kho tộ (ca kho to)

Available at both Vietnamese sit down restaurants and com binh dan street food buffets (featured above), ca kho to is a Vietnamese food of catfish braised in a sweet caramel sauce, traditionally served in a clay-pot.

Ca kho to is extremely common, often prepared at home, and served at motherly style restaurants throughout Saigon.

The dish goes extremely well with a plate of hot rice, and I’m quite sure many Vietnamese would consider it a comfort food (at least I sure did when I took my first bite) – offering the flavors of home in each bite.

The catfish is cut into steak sliced pieces, then braised in a thick and rich gravy made from soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, shallots, and garlic, among a few other light spices and seasonings. Here’s a recipe I want to try when I have a chance.

Because ca kho to is braised, the aroma of the dish often fills the area around where it’s being made, so you might smell it before you see it!

Rice and curry street food stall

Down another alley (that seems to be where many good foods are found), this time somewhere along Hem 39 in between Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Vo Van Tan streets, is where I had my first taste of ca kho to, and I definitely smelled this place before I saw it.

The food stall, though not the cleanest of places, had some great character to it, and from the swarm of customers, who were chowing down on massive plates of rice topped with all sorts of different dishes piled on top, I knew it was going to be an unforgettable meal.

As busy as it was, the real reason I stopped was because I smelled, then saw their beautiful arrangement of ca kho to, sitting in their clay-pot homes, braised and oily, and ready to be eaten.

The ca kho to was incredibly delicious, sweet and caramel flavored, and the fish was fatty and meaty. The onions and garlic countered the sweetness, and it was a true harmony of flavors.

Address: This exact restaurant was on Hem 399, in between Nguyễn Đình Chiểu and Võ Văn Tần
Open hours: I think from about 10 am – 2 pm for lunch
Prices: Our full meal for 2, came to 68,000 VND ($3.15), and we must have eaten about 4 or 5 different dishes

I ran out of time before I was able to eat at Đông Hoa Xuân, but I really wanted to go, so if you have the time, you could make the trip. I’m hoping to eat at this restaurant on my next visit to Saigon.

rice congee
The side dishes of a Vietanemse cháo (chao) meal

22. Cháo (chao)

Nearly every Asian country has their own version of rice congee – a soothing rice porridge, often supplemented with some meat for flavor, and typically consumed for breakfast, but really at any time.

Cháo is the name for Vietnamese rice congee, and though there are many different types, with pork and pig organs (cháo lòng) being extremely popular, there’s another version I really loved called cháo vịt, congee made with duck.

Cháo Vịt Thanh Đa (Gốc Nhà Lá)

Along with Kyle, this time we headed to one of Saigon’s most well known chao vit restaurants, known as Cháo Vịt Thanh Đa, located a little outside of the center of town, but well worth the drive.

Seeing an entire brace of ducks, already braised and hanging, ready to be ordered, I suddenly became intensely hungry.

We ordered quite an impressive spread of food, including the rice congee, which came in a large communal bowl, along with a plate of sliced up duck and duck organs.

Something I really loved is that the congee and duck were served with a plate of Vietnamese salad, a mixture of finely sliced herbs and vegetables, dressed in a light sweet and sour dressing. The vegetables went extremely well with the salty rice porridge and the succulent duck.

This was not only one of the best rice congee meals I had in Vietnam, but among the best congee I’ve ever had anywhere – purely excellent food.

Address: 118 Bình Quới, P. 27, Ho Chi Minh City – it’s located north of Saigon, on the small horseshoe shaped island
Open hours: 7 am – 11 pm daily
Price: We paid a total of 283,000 VND (about $13) for three of us, but rather than a light breakfast, we had an entire family sized meal, which probably should have fed more than three of us (but I wasn’t complaining, that’s for sure). So I thought for the value of the food we got, it was a great deal.

Alternatively, when you travel to Vietnam, just walk around the streets and you’ll spot dozens of both restaurants and roaming street food stalls that sell chao, especially the pork organ version.

It’s especially common in the morning for breakfast.

Vietnamese snails
Ốc – Eating Vietnamese snails

23. Ốc (oc)

Even though I was excited to eat everything else you’ve seen on this food guide so far, perhaps one of meals I was most excited to eat was a feast of Vietnamese seawater snails and shells.

Ốc (oc), as they are known in Vietnamese, can basically refer to any type of snails, usually saltwater, and they are so popular, they could be considered a major part of the Vietnamese culture of Saigon.

When you go to a quan oc, or a snail restaurant, there are typically dozens of different snails to choose from, as well as other shells like blood cockles, clams, and often shrimp and crab as well.

The seafood selection of the day is normally proudly displayed at the front of the food stall or restaurant, and you proceed to choose whatever looks good to you.

After you choose the type of raw snails you’d like to eat, then choose a method for it to be cooked – like grilled, sautéed, coated in salt and chili, steamed, curried, and so on – I think there are often about 5 – 6 different cooking methods.

Ordering can get a little confusing, but just keep in mind that even though you might not have a clue what you’re about to get on your dinner table, that’s part of the fun.

Shells are usually prepared on small plates, a bunch of different types of snail are all ordered, each cooked in a different method. Eating oc with family, friends, or co-workers, and enjoying a couple beers, is a favorite Saigon way to socialize.

Be sure to check out this excellent Vietnamese shell eating guide by Vietnamese Coracle.

If you love food (which I’m quite certain you do), and the culture that goes along with eating in Vietnam, a night of relaxing on small little chairs or stools, sipping beer, and slurping down snails and shells that you have no clue what they might be, is one of the finest ways to enjoy Saigon.

Ốc A Sòi

grilled shrimp in Saigon
Grilled shrimp at a seafood restaurant

One night I was just wandering around, I came across Nguyen Thuong Hien street, which at the time I didn’t know was quite famous throughout Saigon as a snail eating street.

After walking through the street a number of times, I decided to have dinner at a restaurant known as Ốc A Sòi.

I enjoyed a number of different snail and shell dishes, including mud creeper snails in sweet coconut milk, Babylonia areolata coated in salt and chili, and Ốc tỏi, some kind of giant garlic snails roasted and seasoned with chili jam.

Here’s everything I ordered.

There are many amazing places to eat fresh seafood and snails throughout Saigon, but I thought Ốc A Sòi restaurant, though perhaps not the best in the city, was good, the staff were friendly during my number of meals there, and it was relatively easy to order.

Address: 327 – 329 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, Quarter 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 4 pm – 10 pm daily
Price: Dishes can range from 40,000 – 100,000 VND ($1.85 – $4.62)

Other snail feasting restaurants to check out:

Bò kho
Bò kho – Vietnamese beef stew

24. Bò kho (bo kho)

From Africa to North America, I’ve always been a lover of stew – it’s such a comforting and wholesome flavoring method of cooking. Vietnam also has a version of stew, bo kho, which means beef stew.

Bo kho in Vietnam is usually a stew that’s tomato based, filled with nuggets of deliciously tender beef, carrots, shallots, and other small vegetables, and slow simmered to pool all the flavors together.

Just like Vietnamese noodles, or nearly everything you’re served in Vietnam, bo kho is typically accompanied with a basket of fresh herbs and vegetables to garnish.

I like to load up my beef stew with cilantro and sawtooth herb, and add in a bunch of chilies for extra flavor.

Although I grew up normally eating beef stew with rice, in Saigon it’s common to eat bo kho with either bread or a type of noodles.

Bò Kho Út Nhung

Bò kho (bo kho)
Bò kho (bo kho) – beef stew served with egg noodles and baguettes

Walking around Saigon I noticed a number of signs for restaurants and street food stalls serving bo kho, but finally when it came time to eat it, I decided to check out a recommendation I got from Eating Saigon.

The restaurant had a wonderful friendly feeling to it as soon as I walked there. The restaurant is sort of half inside and half outside along the street, tucked just away from the main road into a quieter neighborhood.

At the front of the restaurant was the mega, constantly simmering cauldron of deep red colored beef stew, with a nice layer of oil bubbling on top that looked like magma.

My taste buds began to water, and the smell was irresistible to my nostrils.

There were two different ways to order their bo kho, along with yellow egg noodles in the bottom, or served with banh mi, the Vietnamese personal sized baguettes. Ying and I decided to get one of each.

The stew was ladled into a bowl, dashed with fresh pepper, and sprinkled with a handful of sliced onions, cilantro and green onions, and served with the mandatory condiments of more herbs, and those wonderful spicy Vietnamese chili peppers.

The stew was mild in flavor, but truly warm and comforting, slightly tomatoey, with big tender chunks of juicy beef. I also really loved the carrots, which were tender and naturally sweet.

For some reason the bowl of bo kho with banh mi included more oil in the stew than the bowl we ordered with egg noodles. So overall I preferred the egg noodles as it was less oily, but both were quite wonderful.

Address: 109/7 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, District 3, Saigon
Open hours: Beef stew is served from 1 pm – 10 pm, they are open in the morning, but if you go during the daytime, they serve pho instead beef stew
Price: 35,000 VND ($1.62) per bowl of beef stew – and it was a pretty decent size portion and included plenty of beef

Thịt bò nướng lá lốt
Thịt bò nướng lá lốt – One of my favorite things to eat in Vietnam

25. Thịt bò nướng lá lốt (bo la lot)

Last but not least, I could not write a post about some of the best Vietnamese food without including bo nuong la lot, known also as just bo la lot… it’s one of my favorite foods in all of Vietnam, and if there’s one thing I could choose off this food list right now to eat, it would probably be this.

Bo la lot are little minced beef rolls, lightly spiced and seasoned, which are then filled into lá lốt, or wild betel leaves (called bai chaplu in Thai), and tightly wrapped into thin tubes.

They are then grilled over charcoal, typically with a pretty hot heat so they cook through the middle, but are slightly charred on the outside and have an undeniable smoky flavor.

A plate of bo la lot is then served with rice paper, a typical bounty of leaves and herbs, a dipping sauce which I think is often made with fermented fish sauce, and finally, chilies, which should never be forgotten.

Everything is assembled, loaded with green herbs and sauce, and each bite is pure joy. I love bo la lot so much, my mouth is watering as I write this.

bo la lot
I’m a huge fan of bo la lot

Street food stalls

Bo la lot is available throughout Saigon, and is especially common for dinner.

One evening I met up with friends Jodi and James, and we headed to a side of the road food stall, somewhere around Tôn Đức Thắng road, where there are a number of bo la lot street food stalls.

The food was quite cheap and delicious.

Cô Liên Bò Lá Lốt

While bo la lot is often served for dinner, there is one restaurant in Saigon (probably others too), that serves it throughout the day called Cô Liên Bò Lá Lốt.

I had walked past the restaurant on the other side of the road many times, but had never thought anything of the restaurant. But after some online research on Foursquare, I realized Cô Liên served bo la lot and I needed to eat there.

As soon as I walked in, the owner of the restaurant and her staff were all extremely kind (just like at so many other Saigon restaurants), and the restaurant wa decorated and painted green too – it really got me in the bo la lot eating mood.

As soon as I ordered, the little pre-wrapped wild betel leaf rolls were transferred to the hot charcoal grill sitting right outside the door, and scorch grilled for a few minutes, giving them a quick char.

They were among the best bo lat lot rolls I’ve ever had in my life, the meat was rich and salty, and the leaves were green tasting, herby, and just packed with flavor. The complementing herbs and sauce were also superb.

In addition to the bo la lot, we also got a plate of mỡ chài, another type of Vietnamese sausage, without the leaf wrapper, which were also delicious.

Though the bo la lot is more expensive at Cô Liên Bò Lá Lốt than at street food stalls, they included much more meat and were bigger in size.

Address: 321 Võ Văn Tần, Quater 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: 10 am – 9:30 pm daily
Price: A huge meal for two of us cost 132,000 VND ($6.09), and we got an entire spread of bo la lot and sausages and spring rolls, and the owner even gave us some free plates of some delicious extras as well

Alright, that’s it for the 25 dishes included on this list, but by all means there are many other Vietnamese foods to try when you’re traveling (or living) in Vietnam.

Here are just a few more photos of other things I ate, but I didn’t include in this 25 dishes guide:


Vietnam is among the greatest food destinations in the world, a country that I believe is worth visiting with the intention of just eating.

Before traveling to Saigon, I published a video asking where I should eat. I received many kind replies, with information about what and where to eat in Saigon.

When I arrived to Saigon, I was armed with plenty of suggestions, and I could hardly wait to start exploring with my stomach guiding the way.

I ate as much as I could, took photos and videos, and after eating dozens of meals, I downsized the list to 25 dishes, and this is the end result.

If you’ve made it to the bottom of this post, that means you’re serious about eating delicious local Vietnamese food in Saigon – so that’s awesome to hear (I hope you’re hungry by now too)!

Get the eBook (for Free)!

I’ve made this Vietnamese food guide into an eBook (easier to read and print) that you can download for FREE.

Enter your name and e-mail and I’ll send it to you right now:

Have an incredible time eating in Vietnam!

Finally, like I mentioned at the top of this guide, this is by all means not a complete list of Vietnamese dishes, I chose to keep it at just 25 so it’s more manageable, but if you have a favorite Vietnamese dish or restaurant, I would love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

What’s your favorite Vietnamese food!?

265 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • High Rated Gabru

    3 years ago

    Well done. Great job Mark. Keep it up!!

  • vishal kaushik

    3 years ago

    Well done guys! Amazing work. Keep it up.

  • Anh

    3 years ago

    What a shame that I lived in Saigon for a year and did not find this list then 🙁
    Did you try “Hoang Ty” on Vo Van Tan Street?

    • Salman

      3 years ago

      Not to add to the pain, even I lived in Saigon for 3 years and have tried only Bánh mì and Ốp la (which was amazing).

  • James

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark, Was in Ho Chi Minh City a few times the food was so so. I’ve attempted many Vietnamese dishes before, I am going to use ur list as a guide and try! Much obliged.

  • sankar singh

    3 years ago

    nice picture taken this picture tells the hole story of your blog is all about. very nice click

  • Vishal Kaushik

    4 years ago

    Great content I ever been seen.

  • Vishal Kaushik

    4 years ago


  • Nyasha

    4 years ago

    Vietnam has such a big range of dishes with a nice amount of seasoning and I hope I can return in the future to try more, and especially the famous Bún bò Huế. Great post, there’s so many dishes you’ve now introduced to that I wanna try! I hope you can check out my post and comment when you’re free:

  • Bert Luxing

    5 years ago

    Wow great guide. I wish I found this when I was in HCMC. Right now I am in Hanoi. I found two really good places to eat here.
    For Bun Cha go to Bun Cha Dac Kim (on Hang Manh)

    And for an awesome Bun Bo (beef noodle salad) try Bun Bo Nam Bo on Hang Dieu.

    Both are easily located on google maps.

  • Angela Frances Nilo

    5 years ago

    Your blog has been very helpful and I’ve always loved watching you vlogs. Would appreciate if you could share your ebook. Thank you.

  • Kenneth Karl

    5 years ago

    I have never visited Saigon but are planning to do it in 2019. I will surely use your guide if I decide to visit. I have been to Hanoi a couple of times – how are the food scene in Saigon compared to Hanoi? Can it be compared?

  • Judy

    5 years ago

    hi can i get the ebook?

  • jp leb

    6 years ago

    Very well done, is-it updated ? Could you add the PRONUNCIATION of each dish ?
    Thanks a lot.

  • Niclas

    6 years ago

    Can’t wait to try the Vietnamese food! It seems absolutely incredible 😀 And I can’t think of one of these 25 dishes I wouldn’t try! Its gonna be so amazing to finally visit 🙂 Really great post!

  • Kaitlyn Vy

    6 years ago

    If you guys don’t want to travel a lot in this bustle and hustle city but still want to try all of these food, you can visit Binh Tay Market. The locals call this market “cho lon”. I had tried some food here and it’s really amazing.

  • Minh

    6 years ago

    I am a Saigonese. Your article is very helpful to Vietnamese students.Welcome here!

  • Tine

    6 years ago

    Thanks a lot for this guide! It really came in hand when I was visiting Ho Chi Minh City earlier this year! I wouldn’t have found all this delicious Vietnamese food without it 😀

  • Mon

    6 years ago

    Very informative article you have here! Keep it up. We will be in HCMC in a couple of days and very excited to try every dish you have presented!

  • Gemma

    6 years ago

    Hi ,Mark me and my daughter are going
    To Vietnam next month . Thank you for your food guide looking forward to try all the delicious noodle soup and roll’s in Saigon.

  • Derek murphy

    6 years ago

    This post is epic! So Excited to try done of these.

  • Nadine

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark, thank you for supplying us with such a detailed overview of Saigon food, we have tried your suggestions of Banh Mi and Bun Cha so far and they won’t be the last places well try out. So good!

  • Cheng Siew Ling

    6 years ago

    thanks alot for the sharing.i will be there in a week and i am excited to try out all these food.

  • Ali

    6 years ago

    Thanks a lot Mark. These article iwill very helpfull for my trip ????

  • jeffrey robert

    7 years ago

    will be in hcmc early next month

    • frank

      6 years ago

      same with me:) nov 24th i land…i xant wait to eat bro!

  • jeffrey robert

    7 years ago

    thanks a lot dear Mark. you have put in a lot of hardwork to help others . God Bless you my brother

  • Ryan Smith

    7 years ago

    You’re so great with this post Mark. It has so many Vietnamese food, some of which I haven’t tried yet but look so delicious. Thanks a lot!

  • Richard

    7 years ago

    Mark, you are the best food blogger on the web. Thank you. I am going to the Philippines for the first time so I had to look at your site to see what I’ll be eating while traveling. Street food rules!

  • Dave

    7 years ago

    Amazing blog !! Good work

  • Taylor

    7 years ago

    This so makes me miss Vietnamese food! I’ll be honest when I first got to Vietnam I didn’t really like the food. Whether I was having bad luck finding good places to eat, I just wasn’t finding anything that made me think “wow.” But when I hit Hoi An I fell in love with the food. I’ll be sure to try some of the dishes you’ve shared that I’ve yet to try when I get back to Vietnam. Thanks for sharing!

  • Levi Le

    7 years ago

    very nice, these certainly work for breakfast, love all of the extra greens and understand your preference for skipping the cheese in this recipe, thank you!

  • Sherwin

    7 years ago

    Viet nam has a lot of fantastic food. I love it here. For Vegetarian and people who love to eat fresh and Organic food you can try The Organic.
    Their address is at 54 Lý Văn Phức, District 1

  • Dat

    7 years ago

    Sorry I meant “help”, not “hell” 🙂

  • Dat

    7 years ago

    Very nice of you to hell collect and make this great food guideline to ones who interested in. Appreciate it! 🙂

  • John

    7 years ago

    You had mentioned Bourdain. I have been a huge follower of him for about a decade now preceded by my following the travels of Michael Palin and in between a show called Departures. I realized not too long ago that if one pays a little extra for a flight and can manage the 20+ hours in a plane that there are experiences that will blow the mind! About two years ago I started researching Bangkok (I’m Canadian) and found your writing very rewarding and useful. At the time one does so much research that one forgets exactly who wrote what. I’m considering going to Saigon soon and voila who should I discover first but yourself and this wonderful written piece. Thought I would take the time to thank you as you were a wonderful guide for Bangkok and if I do end up going to Saigon I can put a small part of the blame on you as well. Thank you. Cheers!

  • Melissa

    7 years ago

    OMG my mouth is watering just remembering all those yummy foods we ate whilst travelling around Vietnam!

  • Leiha

    7 years ago

    Fantastic blog, love that you have pics to go with the food. Wish I had found this at the beginning of my trip.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you Leiha!

    • Ed

      7 years ago

      i just went to Viet Nam last month and then i bump into your blog. i love the foods there…

  • Alex Farthing

    7 years ago

    Hi this was brilliant help for food. Just to let you know the bun thit nuong place you recommend is actually open until 8pm. Luckily we got there just in time although they had unfortunately run out of spring rolls.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you Alex, ok great thanks for the update on the open hours.

  • Tanjila

    7 years ago

    This is a great guideline. I’m heading over to Ho Chi Minh next month and so excited to try the food. My friends and I are big fodies and we are particularly interested in the street food scene there. My biggest concern is with pork. We don’t eat pork, how likely are the street vendors to understand basic English like ‘no pork’ in tons of the things they are preparing?

  • Jon Tang

    7 years ago

    You missed food from the central: nem nướng Ninh Hoà, Mì Quảng Đà Nẵng, Cao Lầu Hội An, Bánh hỏi thịt nướng, Cháo Hầu, Cơm hến, bún sứa (Jelly fish) chả cá, bún chả cá miền trung, bánh bèo bánh nậm (món Huế). All kínd of gỏi: gỏi bò, gỏi gã xé phay, gỏi đu đủ bò khô, chả giông Tuy Hoà
    Any way just want to add to your líst a few more items that you should try. I always follow you And use your Advice whenever I am in Thailand.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Madeline Parrish

    7 years ago

    Nothing like chowing down on a feast of bo la lot to end the day. You’re right, the bun cha up here in Hanoi is just the best. Thanks for sharing your favorite dishes!

  • Rogier Post

    7 years ago

    Such a great post! We’re in HCMC for four days and I will try to taste as much as possible from your damn tasty list!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you Rogier, have an amazing time eating!

  • Jeff

    7 years ago

    Ok so we went and had Bun Thit Nuong at the place you recommended. Absolutely delicious.
    Thanks so much Mark.

  • Jeff

    7 years ago

    Wow! After reading this we went to try Bahn Mi 37. It was our favourite Bahn Mi since we’ve been in Vietnam. The BBQ pork on the sandwich was amazing. So much better then the processed meat that most Bahn MI’s come with.
    Now on our way to try Bun Thiet Nuong . Thanks for doing this.

  • Xem tại đây

    7 years ago

    Tôi đích thực rất may mắn khi đã được được thông
    tin trên blog của bạn. các tài liệu này tôi sắm mãi mà ko thấy.
    những thông báo này thật có ích với tôi. Trang
    web nào cũng làm cho được như thế này thì thật là
    tuyệt vời!

  • thnguyen

    7 years ago

    Came across your post while searching for “bánh cuốn”. Your vivid pictures remind me of my younger days (in ’70) attending school in Saigon. I and my friends used to wander streets of Sài Gòn to sample street foods and drinks. Love it!

  • Adrienne

    7 years ago

    My mouth is watering looking at those photos and reading the descriptions. We will be back in Vietnam in a short while and will spend 3 months eating old favourites and trying out some of your suggestions! Thanks!

  • Jakub

    7 years ago

    Hey Mark!
    Thanks for this post, I appreciate the pictures and videos – it really brings the food to life and thanks to this I tried many foods that otherwise I’d have no clue about!

  • fenny

    7 years ago

    hi.. this is my first time plan to saigon on 23 to 25 jan 17, but im really confused about street name, could u recommended me which hotel nice for price to stay with nearby attraction spot. thank you

  • michelle

    7 years ago

    Thanks Mark! This is so useful to get to those places for their great food:))

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hi Michelle, you’re welcome, glad this is useful!

  • Uyen Le

    8 years ago

    Thanks Mark for sharing our Vietnamese foods to the world! Im happy to hear that.Hope many visitors will come to Vietnam more and more ^-^

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Uyen, you’re welcome, thank you for reading!


    8 years ago

    The Mouth watering Vietnamese food. Just love them and also its article i ever found on internet related to vietnamese food.

  • Phong Le

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark This is great post , have you continue making another part for Vietnamese food in Saigon ? I suggest to you some place :
    – Bún bò cay (spice beef stew ) 174A Xóm Đất steet , Ward 9, District 11 , from 7:00 am – 10:30 am
    – Cơm tấm ( com tam ) 74 Nguyễn Văn Cừ street , District 1 : expensive but worth the money , open from 7:00 am – 14:00pm
    – Bún mắm Bảo Ngọc ( bun mam) : 158 Lô K Khu tái thiết Hoàng Diệu , Ward 9 , District 4 , open from 15:00 – 22;00
    – Bánh ướt Bảy Hiền : 767 Lý Thường Kiệt street District Tân Bình from 15:00 – 23:00
    – Cháo trùn ( porridge with Sipunculus nudus ) : 104/22A Trịnh Đình Trọng street , Ward Phú Trung, District Tân Phú . From 6:00 – 11:00
    – Phở – miến gà ( pho with chicken ) : 14/5 bis, Kỳ Đồng street , Ward 9 , District 3 , open from 7:00 – 22:00
    – Hủ tiếu mực Ông già ( noodles cuttlefish ) : No 9 Lot A apartment Bàu Cát 2 Thái Thị Nhạn 14 Tân Bình , 7:00-10:00 ; 16:00-22:00
    – Hủ tíu bò viên Trường Thạnh (beef meat ball with noodles): 145/6 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật street , Ward 1, District 3 near Ban Co market
    – Bún nước lèo : 36 Phạm Hữu Chí street , Distric 11 , open from 18:00 – 22:00
    – Cháo lòng : 55/115 Thành Mỹ street , Ward 8 Distric Tân Bình
    Hope you enjoy all

    Sipunculus nudus

  • Saigon Tour

    8 years ago

    All these mouth-watering foods make a lovely and attractive Saigon. I was born and grew up here and I feel so proud of my home country foods being reviewed in details like this by a famous blogger haha.
    Thank you for visiting Vietnam and doing such good reviews about our foods 🙂

  • chong

    8 years ago

    Hello Mark,
    How about food in Hanoi, Sapa amd Halong Bay?

  • Judy

    8 years ago

    Hi I’m a Vietnamese! Your article is amazing. I’m abroad now so your detailed post makes me miss the hometown’s foods so much! 🙂

    Just a quick share, in your last part, this food: Cơm gà xối – rice with fried chicken sould be Cơm gà xối mỡ – Fried rice in chicken fat, with fried chicken.

  • Toni

    8 years ago

    Thank you mark for your guide, will be in Vietnam for 5 days next month!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Tony, you’re welcome, glad it’s helpful. Enjoy the food!

  • Taiss

    8 years ago

    Wow! This post makes us want to go back to Vietnam again!!!! What at incredible selection and helpful guide this is. You are truly great at what you do. Always awaiting your next food experience!

  • Stefan

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    very great ! I loves to read that. My english is not the best sorry:

    I will travel from saigon to siem reap (Kambodscha)- Bangkok from 30.06.-12.07.16

    – you knot if rainy time is not that bad? : only 1-2 hours rain at day and rest cloudy and sunny?

    – in siem reap and bangkok also are good street food restaurants? how are prices there? 1-2 Us dollar with drink for chicken with rice maybe?

    – How are the prices in local restaurants (not street food) in this destinations?
    you maybe know if there are many hookas (waterpipe, shisha) in this destinationsß AND HOW IS The price?

    King regards from germany, Stefan

    Thanks a lot greetings from germany.

  • Jennifer yong

    8 years ago

    Wow!! This is great information for when my family go in June…

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks Jennifer, hope you have an amazing upcoming trip.

  • Ngan Nguyen

    8 years ago

    Nice article! Thanks Mark 🙂

  • David

    8 years ago

    I just got to HCMC and have been adding many of these restaurants to my google maps. Can’t wait to try them!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey David, glad you’re enjoying the food in HCMC!

  • Alfredo Raize

    8 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    I brought this food guide on my HCM trip recently. I tried most of the dishes that you recommended. It was always spot on for flavour and taste. It made my trip so meaningful knowing that i had much of the authentic dishes Vietnam had to offer.
    Thank you
    PS: Have a beer on me 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Alfredo, great to hear that, glad you had a fun time eating in Saigon. Thank you very much!

  • swampy mulholland

    8 years ago

    what a great itroduction to nam food and rock. We are going in december 2016. thank you mark. Swampy &elle in nz

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thank you very much Swampy and Elle, glad you’ll be visiting this year!

  • Tuan

    8 years ago

    Thanks for the post! I am ready to try all those dishes! Ohyeah subscribed your youtubechannel, so interesting.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Tuan, you’re welcome, thank you for your support!

  • Trinh Le

    8 years ago

    thank you so much for this! It means a lot to have someone interested in our country and makes the effort to travel and learn. I left Vietnam at a very young age and I plan to visit soon! Thank you for your suggestions. I truly love all these foods and I can’t wait to get to eat them again.
    Thank you!!!!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Trinh, you’re welcome, thank you for reading. I had an amazing time in Vietnam. Hope you have a great upcoming trip!

  • Le Tam

    8 years ago

    You missing “lau ca Dan Tri” (fish hot pot in district 5) also “com ga Dong Nguyen” (chicken rice) next to it and “mi vit tiem” (duck soup with chowmein noodle) near by. They are very porpular so just tell taxi the name they will know where to take you to. And there is a restaurant called “May Ngan Phuong” in district 3, it is in a small street near Nguyen Dinh Chieu. They have very good food there my family has been going there for years. Also dessert called “che dau do” (red bean) or (sam bo luong – a mix sweet vietnamese dessert) in district 5 also and “ha cao” (dumpling) + “sweet and sour pork” in district 6 there are tons of good food places and food stands there that are true street food for local vietnamese in Sai Gon

  • Jasmine

    8 years ago

    Hey I really like your facial expression and the way you tilt your head sidewaards and close your eyes with a satisfying smile every single times you tasted a good food. I smile every time. Thank you for all your articles. Really helpful!

  • Serendipity Tess

    8 years ago

    Oooohhh…i love this guide! I so want to go back to HCMC and basically eat everything that is on here. I only spent a few days there and didn’t have enough time. So I stuck to the typical vietnamese dishes that everyone knows about. Such a shame! I’ll definitely travel back and print this out before I go 🙂

  • Mangolita

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark, we have been watching all your videos on youtube about your amazing journeys. we love what you are doing and all the good tips where to go and eat.
    About Vietnamese cuisine, you gotta stay in Vietnam for months to try all the good stuffs there.
    Hope you have many more wonderful trips around the world.

  • Minh

    8 years ago

    Great food you have post … big thumps up for you
    I only happen you know recently on this blog you have while I was browsing the YouTube for food
    I’m a regular Vietnam visitor cause my wife is a Vietnamese and I’m a Singaporean
    I have tasted most of the food you have posted but not sure whether is it from the same store
    next visit to HCM I will ask my wife to bring me to all this store you have recommended
    I was a post on the waterfall fried chicken…. Really excited to test it out
    That’s a few places I would recommend for good sightseeing and they do have great foods too
    These places is Da Nang and Phan Thiet… I think you and Ying will love it

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thank you Minh, makes me want to go back to Vietnam to do some traveling and a lot more eating. Thanks for your suggestions!

    • Hong

      8 years ago

      Hi Mark,

      Watched a few of your videos, loved the way you turn you head as you taste the food. Im in Saigon in district 10 at the moment and already tried 2 places you recommended, Banh mi Hoa ma and Banh cuon Anh Hong and both were fantastic. My girlfriend and I both really enjoyed it.

      Thanks for the guide mark and please let me know if there’s other street food I should know and thanks again

  • Scarlet

    8 years ago

    Great! You’re really a Vietnamese.

  • Krist

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    I’ll go to Ho Chi Mihn by mid of next month, and so very happy to find your blog and the videos in youtube.
    It really gives me lot of hints about the places to visit and especially the culinary things. Thank you so very much for the information, hopefully I could enjoy it as much as you did, God bless you

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Krist, good to hear from you, glad you’ll be going to Ho Chi Minh City soon. Thank you very much and have an amazing time eating!

  • marlon

    8 years ago

    way to go Mark….a BiG fan from Philippines….watched all your videos man!

  • Alvint guo

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark, Im here from Indonesia, will be going to vietnam alone on this coming christmas.
    After I have seen your posts, I am confident enough to explore then.
    It helps me so much. Thank you for your information.
    Anyway, Welcome to Indonesia. I will wait for the next posts.
    Good Job !!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Alvint, great to hear from you, and glad you’ll be going to Vietnam. Hope you have an amazing trip!

  • Joshua Lamb

    8 years ago

    Phenomenal blog. As I’m in Danang now heading to Saigon. Your info and quality blog on the dishes are nearly perfect. I’ve never seen such a well organized and explained food blog for a cities fine and common dishes. Just fabulous.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Joshua, thank you very much for your kind words. Hope you’re having a wonderful time in Vietnam and keep enjoying the food!

  • Nhung

    8 years ago

    Great post, Mark. Love your post and your videos, especially the way you enjoy the food. My mouth is watering. Can’t wait to go out and get some food. Have you ever been to Can Tho, Vietnam. You can find a lot of good food here, too.

  • Joey

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark
    Great videos, although you have covered quite a few lovely dishes in Saigon, however there’re others equally delicious, which you have not featured, probably down to time constraint. If you do decide to go again and would like to cover these, let me know. I can then mail you of what they’re and the places to have them.

  • Sammie

    8 years ago

    I am beyond excited to start eating all of this! 6 days in Vietnam and hoping to conquer as much variety as possible! Thank you so much for compiling this. Always love watching your videos

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hi Sammie, great to hear from you. You’re welcome, glad this Vietnamese food guide is useful. Hope you have a great trip and enjoy the food!

  • Amélie – Québec – Canada

    9 years ago

    I think this article is the one that made up my mind about going to Vietnam!
    I have been trying to plan a trip since few weeks and just couldn’t pick a destination! (There’s too many!)
    I would definitely travel halfway across the world just to eat something delicious, so once I saw that…. that’s the sign I’ve been waiting for !

    Thanks so much, your work is incredible!

    Amélie, Québec, Canada.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hello Amélie, great to hear from you and glad you’ll be going to Vietnam, that’s a good decision. Hope you have an incredible visit and thank you for your support!

  • Cowboy

    9 years ago

    You made me feel really hungry Mark. I am currently in OZ and won’t be going to VN until Feb 2016. What can I do now eh?

  • Cowboy

    9 years ago


    You really made me hungry Mark.

  • Caesar

    9 years ago

    Hi Mark!
    thank you for taking the time to showcase all the wonderful food in Vietnam. My wife and I will be visiting DaNang and Ho Chi Minh City very soon. After seeing your posts I am so excited to eat at some of the restaurants you’ve visited. Where can I get the information on the hotels you’ve visited?

  • RJ

    9 years ago

    Thanks Mark for this very informative article! My mouth is watering now and I’m excited to try them on september! 😀 If you can trim them down to 5, what are they? 😉 Thanks!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi RJ, glad you’ll be visiting Vietnam soon. Here are 5, but just my personal favorites: Bun rieu, banh canh cua, bo la lot, ban khot, com tam suon nuong. Have a great trip!

  • Henry Le

    9 years ago

    Very helpful info. WIll try them next time I visit Saigon. Thanks.

  • Kim Nguyen

    9 years ago

    I am going to Vietnam in January and all your amazing reviews on these places will help me find great places to eat! I can’t wait to grub and eat until I can’t eat no more! ^-^ so excited! Keep up the good work, Mark! I really admire you work.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Kim, so good to hear you’ll be going back to Vietnam soon. Hahaha, that sounds like the perfect plan, enjoy the food!

  • G

    9 years ago

    Hello Mark. Thanks for the video. I plan on being in Vietnam in fall and while I am very excited for the street food I am curious on how exactly you go about ordering. Do you speak any Vietnamese? The food looks amazing but with more elements than typical American food it seems like you could really mess up if you make a mistake while ordering. I would hate to have a less authentic experience because I screw up. Any tips? Do you have any other posts/videos that show you ordering?


    G from San Francisco

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey G, great to hear from you. That’s a good question, and the answer is sometimes I do kind of screw up… or I don’t know exactly what I’m ordering all the time. But typically I try to do research the best I can, then keep photos and the name of the dish I want to order on my phone in Vietnamese, and then I just do my best to order. I think typically speaking you don’t need to worry about messing up an authentic experience as long as you go to a local restaurant (and not a touristy restaurant) from the beginning.

  • Anna

    9 years ago

    Hi Mark, I just signed up and waiting for the guide; so that I might print it and take it with me – going to Saigon and Nha Trang, for total of only 10 days. Well, ‘only’ and I love eating and it looks I will have a lot of work to do 🙂 Eating local dished is so interesting and a great way to get to know the place; so I look forward to my trip. I can almost smell all those fresh herbs as I sit in my office in Kuwait. Thanks so much!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hello Anna, so great to hear you’ll be going to Vietnam, and especially going to eat. Hope you have a great visit, and enjoy the food!

  • Toan

    9 years ago

    Sitting in a hotel in Saigon and reading this post. Your top 25 is the same with why I have in mind. I am ready to go out and eat for the next three weeks here.
    Thanks for the great post.
    – T

  • Jerry

    9 years ago

    Thank you so much, Mark.
    I’m Jerry from Vietnam & the same to you, I really loved foods & took my time to try almost of these dishes already.
    After reading your amazing post, I think I should give a recommendation for you to able to do try some experiences in Central of Vietnam (including Quang Nam, Da Nang City, Hue province as well 🙂 with my best-loved dish “MÌ QUẢNG

    This food is also a Vietnamese noodle dish that originated from Quang Nam province.You can see & access via link of this:

    Hope you’ll go back here soon!

  • long duong

    9 years ago

    I found this blog through Kyle Le, and i must say its super informative and a great guide to the food world in Vietnam. This blog has made me 1000 times more excited to visit Vietnam in December. Thanks for the superb guide Mark. Cheers.

  • Huyen

    9 years ago

    Helo Mark,
    I’m very glad that you had a great time in Vietnam. I’m a Vietnamese and I lived in Saigon for 12 years, but I haven’t been to all of these places that you mentioned above. Some of these places are really near where I live, but sadly I haven’t got around to eat there. This post is certainly a great guide for me to explore Saigon when I come back to VN. Thanks Mark, you just make me realize that my country has more to offer than I expected. We have such a great cuisine, and to me it’s the best ( of course I”m biased haha). Thanks again for this fantastic post. I feel like you’re taking me back to saigon though I’m living in a different country.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Huyen, great to hear from you, thank you for your encouraging words. How long have you been living outside of Vietnam? Do you get to go back to visit often?

  • Vietnamese Restaurant

    9 years ago

    wow massive list! and that photos made me hungry! now i want to get vietnamese food. I only get to eat vietnamese food here in Limewood Restaurant its a nice vietnamese restaurant they serve good dishes/

  • Hung

    9 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    I have to say this is the best recommendation of Saigon food from a foreigner’s point of view so far. Being a local I can say that most of them are spot on!
    I am flying to Tokyo next week and very excited to check out your Tokyo food recommendation!


    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you very much Hung, really appreciate it, I couldn’t have done it with all the local suggestions I received. Hope you have an amazing trip in Tokyo – enjoy the food!

  • clement

    9 years ago

    great info. I am going there for the 1st time this coming april. will try as many food as I can.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks Clement, have a great trip to Saigon.

  • Tiffany Nguyen

    9 years ago

    OMG you’re the best!
    Did you try “Rau muống xào tỏi”? It’s water spinach sautéed with garlic. Delicious!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Tiffany, thank you very much, I really appreciate it. Yes, I did get to try it once at a nicer restaurant and I loved it. Thanks!

  • Damon and Jo

    9 years ago

    Thank you! We tend to get so overwhelmed in Vietnamese restaurants here in New York with all the options (that seem to only have minor changes) that we tend to just go with the most basic bahn mi or pho. Thank you for schoolin’ us!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Damon and Jo, good to hear from you, glad this is helpful. Enjoy the food!

  • Ryan

    9 years ago

    You covered off some of the best food in Vietnam. I’ve tried all these dishes, but your restaurant suggestions are much appreciated. I’ve been keeping track of everything I eat while living in Vietnam, and trying to figure out the best place to get the foods I love. Have a look at my site for more food suggestions. VietnaMenu

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Ryan, thank you very much. Very cool that you keep track of everything you eat too. You site looks very useful!

  • Bob Pfister

    9 years ago

    Hi Mark, your article is a wonderful article, and I am going to go back through the videos tonight! I had the pleasure to visit Saigon twice last year to visit my daughter who teaches English there. In fact, she just returned to Vietnam after spending the holidays here, and landed just two hours ago! I too fell in love with the food, the people, and the country, and through my daughter, have made many friends. I am planning on a return trip this year! I miss the food so much! On my last visit, we had the opportunity to also visit Da Nang, and also Hue before returning to Saigon. The food there is so good! In Da Nang we had Hot Pot, and my daughter and friend were able to select the still living seafood and have them prepared for our dinner! I loved it! In Hue we had a variety of things, I probably should have kept a log of everything I ate! I did gain weight during my stay…but I think that was too many Saigon Red’s! Your article was fantastic!
    Cheers to you and your wife and friends!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Bob, great to hear from you, thank you for sharing about your Saigon food adventures. The food in Da Nang and Hue sounds fantastic too, I really hope to do more traveling in Vietnam the next time I visit. Thank you again!

  • Do

    9 years ago

    Thank you for loving my country’ s food .
    Your reviews are detailed and many pics well shot , so I enjoy reading your website .
    Have you eaten ” chạo tôm ” ? it’ s a shrimp paste ( ground shrimp with garlic , pepper … ) wrapped around a sugarcane stick then grilled . To be dipped in fish sauce and eaten with fresh herbs of course .
    If you have not tasted yet , have a try .
    Congratulations for your great food survey .

  • Jordan Nguyen

    9 years ago

    Hey Mark, I’m so glad you decided to visited Vietnam 😀 i was born and raised there for about 8 years before moving to the United States. Not a day goes by that i don’t miss the food. I want to go back really badly, and is saving up money for it. If you ever get the chance, come visit Vung Tau, it’s where i was born and my family is from. It’s about 1-2 hours outside of HCM, and it’s a really popular beach destination for even peoples from Saigon. The food is incredible and the seafood is literally out of the sea fresh! We have both mountain and sea, which makes for an amazing view day and night. There’s also temples, churches, old landmarks to see and weirdly enough we have a giant Jesus statue on top of one of our mountains (Vung Tau is like the Vietnamese version of Rio de Janeiro in term of how much the view look alike, it’s really interesting!) Anyway, i would love to see you travel there, eating grilled crab and Oc on the beach haha

    Ps. If you don’t mind me asking, how long usually is your travel when you go outside of Thailand? (For places like Vietnam, Japan, and South Korea) And how do you deal with the language barrier?

  • Toonces

    9 years ago

    Very nice write up. One place you should try for banh cuon is in Ben Thanh market. Only 1 stall in the whole market selling banh cuon. Freshly made to order. Absolutely divine.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Toonces, thank you very much, and I appreciate the suggestion. Sounds great, will try it next time I visit Ben Thanh Market.

  • Carlotta

    9 years ago

    I left Vietnam yesterday and I miss the food already! It was so good! I went to that Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai in Saigon as well. I saw lots of local waiting so I decided to queue as well. It took like 15 minutes but it was totally worth the wait. I normally don’t really like pork but in Vietnam even that is delicious. I think the secret is in the herbs and spices that they use, they make everything more tasty.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Carlotta, thank you very much for sharing, and I know how you feel about missing Vietnamese food. Glad you went to Banh Mi 37 Ngueyn Trai, my mouth is watering!

  • Paing

    9 years ago

    This post is getting viral!! Keep it up, Mark!

  • Mike | VagabondingMike

    9 years ago

    Bro, if there is an award for the best food-porn…you just won it!

    This might just be the most epic Vietnamese food directory ever compiled.

    Well done sir…well done!

  • Linh

    9 years ago

    Such a great video! You have a lot of my favorite dishes posted! I hope you had a great time in Vietnam, if you ever go back definitely stop by Hue. My family is from there and the beach side is amazing! Plus Hue has a lot of other dishes that you’d probably enjoy as well!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Linh, I really had an amazing time in Vietnam, and the food was incredible. Great to hear your family is from Hue, next time I go to Vietnam I would love to visit and try the food there!

  • J West

    9 years ago

    Hey Marc….we’ve missed you in Thailand amigo. Hey we’ve uncovered a new condo rental scam that’s swept through Bangkok like a bad meal. I know you’ve got readers eager to find out about first condo rentals so I thought I’d share and save people some grief. How it works is through the new breed of extremely crooked property managers/real estate agents who have suddenly sprung up every where and have attached themselves as rental agents to certain buildings and groups of buildings. Their web sites are slick…making it look as if they are the buildings main agent for rentals….in most cases this is totally false. You should make sure you’re talking to the building manager not the real estate agent.

    These sneaky dishonest real estate agents will ask you for a ‘deposit’ on line to be sent to a certain bank. When you arrive they will insist you sign a lease immediately and then inform you if you don’t you will forfeit your original deposit. This hooks many unsuspecting tenants. As you know in most cases this is thousands of baht. They then inform you that the ‘damage deposit’ the owner insists on is two months rent instead of the traditional one month. Many people have reported to me that the rental agent has included additional lease terms as long as two years unknown to the tenant.

    What this ends up being is a straight up rip off. The property manager at the end of your stay ( say you thought you were staying six months) informs you that you are in breach as your lease reads two years. She’ll pull a bogus copy of the lease out and insist you’d signed it. They will then ‘inspect’ your condo and declare it infested with ants, cockroaches or termites and demand that you’re responsible to pay for the fumigation. At the end of all this is the property manager refusing to return any of your damage deposit. I have heard many horror stories. Including one that said the damage deposit could not be returned because the owner had taken the money to China and was therefore ‘gone’.

    Many tenants are reporting to me that the ‘damage deposits’ don’t cover anything already unknowingly damaged in the suites ( including faulty plumbing) and that the tenants have even been held liable for pre-exisiting infestations of ants and termites…which you know are a long standing problem in Bangkok condo’s.

    This scam is very wide spread now and spreading it seems as these thieves report their success to one another…and want to ask you to inform all your friends about this scam before any more people fall for it. I know of two buildings where the scam is active and people are reporting having been ripped off…one being Parkland Srinakarin and Bangna Complex Residential on Bangna Trad Road ….both these places advertise and hype through the internet…so be forewarned……when rented through Realty BKK ( the building manager is not associated with Realty BKK and seems to be OK….but the external real estate agents are definatley sleazy scam artists) both in Bangna..East Bangkok.

    The only way I know to defeat a scam like this is one that takes many years of expertise and a knowledge of Thai culture. Thai hate to be embarrassed…so you must bring this out to a very noisy confrontation in public. Ask the building owner for help…she will have had prior complaints. Ask a local prominent business man to assists…believe it or not not this works. Tell the building owner you do not wish to embarrass the building occupants by calling the TOURIST POLICE. Threaten the real estate agents with calling the TOURIST POLICE. If you do this all together you stand a better chance of recovering your damage deposit. Lawyers will do nothing….regular police will not speak English and can’t help you.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey J, good to hear from you. I’m back in Thailand, and will be posting more Thai info and food soon. Thanks for this information.

    • jeff

      9 years ago

      a well written article. i was in saigon in november but didnt know where to find these food. i will be going again in august. hope to try a few. mark it would have been better if you can come up with a map of the places…ehehehh asking to much.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Jeff, thank you very much. Here’s the map of everywhere: I just didn’t include it on this post because it was getting too crowded and slow, but maybe I should embed it, that might be helpful. Thanks for reading!

  • Cryst

    9 years ago

    You should do a food guide in Hanoi too. It’s quite different even with the same food compare to Saigon. I read you was there in 2010, after 5 years maybe there’ll be a lot of new foods.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Cryst, that’s a great idea, and in time I really hope to go to Hanoi again to write a guide like this for Hanoi. Are you from Hanoi?


    9 years ago

    I’ve been to VIetnam 4 times, and it is one of my favourite countries – if not, simply, my favourite country. On my first day in Saigon, I stumbled upon an elegant sidewalk café on my way to a museum – can’t remember the name, but it was the capitol building of the Republic of Vietnam (South VIetnam). I thought, “I know where I am going to have lunch!” After touring the museum, I returned to the café. It was so gorgeous – a restored French colonial mansion, with tables and umbrellas in front, and they played French music on the sound track. That is where I tried Vietnamese style iced coffee for the first time. I didn’t like the first gulp, but by the time I had finished it, I ordered another. I was addicted to it! I had lunch there almost every day for the 2 weeks I was in Saigon, and I invariably ate the same things: pork neck pho! YUMMM!!!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey, thank you for sharing your story about eating in Saigon, and that you love Vietnam as well. That sounds great, yah, a Vietnamese iced coffee is a great thing, so refreshing and tasty. Hope you can return again for more delicious food.

    • Andrew Nguyen

      9 years ago

      Sir, the restaurant you went to named “Nha Hang Ngon”.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Andrew.

  • Ryan

    9 years ago

    Great article Mark! This is on my bookmark for when I go to Vietnam. I’m planning on taking a trip after I finish graduate school.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Fantastic Ryan, thank you. And I’m so happy to hear you’re planning a trip to Vietnam!

  • Huy Pham

    9 years ago

    Mark, I live in CT, USA but I was born in VN and spent half of my life there. I love the street food there, When is your next trip to VN. I also love your blog and I am very jealous of you eating all the good food. I hope we will meet one day in VN and eat all the good food there.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Huy, thank you for reading and sharing, would be great to meet you in the future as well. Are you able to go back and visit Vietnam often?

  • Vy

    9 years ago

    Wow! This is the best Saigon food guide that I have seen. Thank you for bringing back so many wonderful memories of Vietnam. There are definitely a lot of places here that I haven’t tried! Will have to check them out next time I’m in Saigon.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Vy, thank you very much, I highly appreciate it. You’re welcome, it was so much fun eating and exploring Saigon. Are you able to go back to visit often?

    • Vy

      9 years ago

      I grew up in Vietnam and moved here when I was young. I’ve only been back three times. With a toddler it will be a while but I have a lot of wonderful food memories!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing Vy!

  • Vergil

    9 years ago

    Wow…all this place i have been because i’m Vietnammese…I really like that Vietnam make you feel happy with something like foods,…Haha…Well,Can you share with us about your feeling with these people in VietNam store,…Thanks a lot…HAve fun..

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Vergil, great to hear from you, thank you for reading this guide, and I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it. I had amazing experiences with the people in Saigon, so many people were helpful and kind, and many of the restaurant owners were also so nice and generous. Are you from Saigon?

  • Ha Nguyen

    9 years ago

    I came across your post on facebook, and looking through your entire list makes me so homesick. Back in Vietnam I took the food for granted, and it wasn’t until I studied abroad did I miss the hell out of every dish there. It is also amazing that you got all the Vietnamese names correctly. I will definitely check out your other posts, since this entry looks so detailed and splendid. Keep up the good work!

  • Nalka

    9 years ago

    Outstanding foods mark wiens thanks for everything
    I’m going travel Addis Ababa ethiopia I want to hear more about Addis Ababa ethiopia
    Thank you so much

  • Tram

    9 years ago

    Very mixed feelings… It’s terribles watching your videos mouth watering but I just can’t stop watching them. Hell of a job you guys have done, brought me right back to Vietnam and I can see myself eating them just by watching these videos. So proud of my home country food. Thanks !

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Tram, thank you very much, really appreciate it!

  • Quang

    9 years ago

    Simply outstanding! Thanks so much, Mark.

  • De’Jav

    9 years ago

    One heck of a menu everything looks good.

  • Sovannn

    9 years ago

    J’ai l’eau à la bouche, rien que de voir ces jolies photos !!! hum miam miam !.
    Merci Marks, d’avoir partagé ces moments et merci pour ton travail de qualité.

  • Lucy Lien Dinh

    9 years ago

    Thank you Mark for this great post. I’ve been in Sydney for years and this just made me miss my hometown so badly and I wanna go back rite now to enjoy the food. Thumb up for the bò lá lốt, its just amazing OMG Im mouth-watering. Thanks for keep all the dishes with its name in Vietnamese. Love your work

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      You’re welcome Lucy, thank you for reading. I agree with you and the bò lá lốt, that’s one of my absolute favorite Vietnamese dishes as well.

  • Gerard ~ GQ trippin

    9 years ago

    My word. You just summarized the cuisine I grew up on my entire childhood in one post. Glad to see all of this carried over to Vietnamese restaurants where I live now. There’s even one thing I haven’t even heard of before.. it was the Bánh tằm bì. Glad to see there’s still new Vietnamese dishes for me to explore. Thanks for this Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Gerard, thank you very much, sounds like a delicious childhood you had. Thank you very much for reading!

  • andy

    9 years ago

    Fantastic Post Mark. thanks for putting them together.
    Any desserts post you are planning on?

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Andy, thank you very much, I enjoyed doing it. Soon I’ll write a bit and post a video about Che Khuc Bach (panna cotta almost dessert), which was one of the few desserts I tried – and it was really good.

  • dixie

    9 years ago

    Fantastic post, Mark! Really excellent information here. I’ve already bookmarked this article for my next trip!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it, thank you very much Dixie!

  • Ronson Bao Pham

    9 years ago

    You did an excellent job, Mark! It’s so good to see all these kind of delicious Vietnamese foods that you have introduced to many people around the world. Thanks you for your fantastic job with all the details about the dishes and great video about those restaurants as well!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      You’re welcome, thank you very much Ronson. Eating around in Saigon was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in a long time, so I hope this guide will be helpful for others visiting as well.

  • Frank

    9 years ago

    The last 12 years I’ve been continuous in almost all countries in SE Asia cause of my profession but it seems impossible for me to enjoy the taste of all the various dishes of Vietnam, even.during my longest stay of 10 months in 2014. So keepon the good things/

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you very much Frank. Next time you’re in Saigon, hope you have a little extra spare time to taste some more dishes!

  • Benjamin Du

    9 years ago

    I enjoy watching for youtube videos and reading your posts. They are very informative. I am visiting Vietnam soon. I will try those places. Thanks again.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you Benjamin, glad you’ll be traveling to Vietnam soon, hope you have a wonderful trip.

  • Louise

    9 years ago

    Dear Mark

    My friends and I are going to Vietnam in May, including Saigon, for a total of 3 weeks. This post is just what we needed! Like yourself, we are massive foodies and have been compiling a list of dishes to try out there so thank you so much for this. We look forward to your new videos every week, keep it up!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Louise, great to hear you’ll be traveling to Vietnam soon, and that you love food as well. Hope you and your friend have a wonderful visit!

  • Mal Milligan

    9 years ago

    Mark – this was your best post EVER !! Seriously. The most comprehensive one stop shopping blog post for eating in Saigon. Outstanding Dude. I’ve made 10 trips to Vietnam and these food pics just make my mouth water like Pavlov’s dog. I have to get some Phở at my local Vietnamese restaurant or I won’t be able to concentrate.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Haha, thank you very much Mal, really appreciate all of your support. Enjoy the pho!

  • Nguyen Le Quang

    9 years ago

    Oh, your post makes me miss my lovely Saigon. I didn’t see trứng vịt lộn (balut???). I heard that it is a little bit difficult for foreigners to eat trứng vịt lộn. However, you should try once and trứng vịt lộn sauted with tamarind sauce is … Oh, my!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Nguyen, thank you very much, glad you enjoyed it. I’ve eaten it before, and I really like it, but I just didn’t include it here because I wanted to keep this list smaller and include more of just full meals. Will you return to visit Saigon soon?

    • Nguyen Le Quang

      9 years ago

      I may return to visit Saigon next month. And your post really helps me a lot. Thank you so much Mark. Hope you enjoy your food passion. I still keep waiting for your next food post 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you Nguyen, and glad that you might return to Saigon next month, hope you enjoy the food!

  • cyril

    9 years ago

    Wow awesome post! You put in so much effort and detail into these posts. Thank you! Mmmm Bo la lot. I want some now! What country are you visiting next?

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you very much Cyril, really appreciate it. I’m not sure yet… have to do some planning, but hoping to travel further in Southeast Asia, and also to more rural parts of Thailand.

    • cyril

      9 years ago

      oh I see cool!! Im not Laotian but it would be cool if that cuisine got more exposure. seems to be very a mysterious place and i heard some Thai food in america is actually Laotian in origin so it would be cool that cuisine get more exposure! Same with cambodia and Phillipines? Anyways, you got yourself a new fan, I will be watching all your new videos every week.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you Cyril, good ideas too. I hope to visit and make videos about Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines in the future.

  • Cam

    9 years ago

    WOW – this is fantastic! I will certainly bookmark and check back when I find myself at a Vietnamese restaurant. Well done Mark!

  • Octopus Alchemy

    9 years ago

    Brilliant, brilliant guide Mark!

    Although feel like the formatting could be made simpler by providing a ‘click through’ menu at the top of the page?

    Love your work.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thank you, I appreciate it. Yah, I was thinking about some kind of glossary as well, to make it better organized and to be able to jump to each dish – I’ll try to look into it further. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Thi Ha

    9 years ago

    Great post… Mark! keep up 😀

  • Andrea Anastasiou

    9 years ago

    Mark, we’re in Saigon for the next two months and this post is a God send! I’ve tried many, many Vietnamese dishes, but now that I’ve seen your list I realise that we haven’t even scratched the surface yet! Going to use this as a guide and eat my way through town! Thank you.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Andrea, so cool that you’re in Saigon right now. There is so much food to eat, enjoy!

  • ron

    9 years ago

    Thanks Mark.
    I’ll visit Saigon on June. this willl help me very much.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Great to hear that Ron, I know you’re going to love the food on your upcoming trip. How long will you be staying?

  • art

    9 years ago

    Starting to get excitedly hungry. Can’t wait to taste these grub. Thanks Mark.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      You’re welcome Art, thank you for reading this!

    • soen

      9 years ago

      wow ur so
      lucky to taste all thosed delecious food