Ho Chi Minh City - Food and Dining Guide

Ho Chi Minh City - Food and Dining Guide

From an exciting street food scene to top-class international options, quirky coffee shops and fine regional cuisines, Saigon is Vietnam's culinary capital. Home to residents from all over the country, Saigon is the best place to sample all the regional cuisines and fresh flavours of Vietnam.

Although the most popular, regional cuisines don't represent the whole picture of Vietnam's dining scene. There are actually a large impressive collection of international restaurants in town, raging from French cuisine to Chinese, Thai, Japanese, among others. If you want to experience Saigon's international food offer, head to the expat enclave in District 2, which is around 15 minutes by cab from downtown, across the Saigon river. Fast becoming an important hub of international cuisine, this is a foodie's paradise where you will find some of the city's best dining options.

Here are some of the options you cannot miss:

Quan Ut Ut

Although it is actually an American barbecue joint whose name can be translated as "Restaurant Oink Oink", this is one of the most popular restaurants there. As you might have guessed given its name, this restaurant serves dishes centered in pork. These porcine creations are some of Vietnam's most loved dishes, which include bun cha (vermicelli noodles with grilled pork meatballs) and thit heo kho (caramelized pork). Despite being a very popular place, they don't take bookings, so you are going to have to queue.

Quan Ut Ut, 168 Vo Van Kiet Phuong Cay Ong Lanh, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam; +84 839 144 500


Although this restaurant might look like a fine dining establishment and it offers world-class dishes, it's still a bargain. Here you can sample a large range of Southeast Asian cuisines such as Cambodian, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai and Laotian. Don't miss out on the sweet port curry from Myanmar.

Monsoon Restaurant & Bar Saigon, No.1, Cao Ba Nha, Nguyen Cu Trinh ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 84 Vietnam; +84 8 6290 8899

Cuc Gach Quan

Located on the outer limits of District 1, Cuc Gach Quan is the right place to sample Vietnamese dishes. Although the menu is quite lengthy, you can't miss out on are soft shell crab and red rice. They also offer a deliciously homemade tofu for vegetarians. Vietnamese through and through, this is a great place to eat amazing food if you are on a budget.

Cuc Gach Quan, 10 Dang Tat Ward Tan Dinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam; +84 8 3848 0144

Banh Xeo 46A

If you visit Vietnam, you can't miss out on their scrumptious sizzling pancake - banh xeo. The batter is made out of rice flour, water, tumeric power and coconut milk. This batter is stuffed with stuffed with fatty pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. Then it's pan-fried and served with aromatic herbs dipped in nuoc cham - fish sauce thinned with water and lemon. One of the best places to try this delicacy is Banh Xeo 46A.

Banh Xeo 46A, 46A D Dinh Cong Trang District 3, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam; +84 8 3827 1372

Ho Chi Minh's Street Food

Saigon abounds with street-side eateries that range from proper stalls to nothing more than a pushcart and some stools on a street corner. Offering ambience and atmosphere along with delicious varied Vietnamese food, these street vendors are the beating heart of Saigon. Eating food from a street vendor is more than a dining option, it's an experience and an ideal opportunity to soak in the local culture.

The best streets for street food are Van Kiep street (Phu Nhuan district), Su Van Hanh street (street 10), Vinh Khanh street (district 4), Phan Van Han street (Binh Thanh district), Co Giang street (district 1) and Tran Khac Chan street (district 1).

Here are some of the best dishes you can get from a street vendor:

Bánh cu?n

Originally from the north of the country, this disch consists of a ladle full of rice batter which steamed on top of a cloth stretched over a pot of boiling water. This process leads to a rice sheet which is filled with ground pork, mushroom and shallots and then it's rolled up and cut into mouthful pieces.

Bun bo Hue

Associated with the cooking style of the former royal court, this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup can be bought from street vendors in Saigon where it retains its royal flavour. This traditional soup is prepared with vermicelli, generous slices of beef shank and a broth made out of lemongrass and shrimp paste. The dish can be garnished with either basil leaves, banana leaves or diced green onion.