Ho Chi Minh City street food is an integral part contributing to the appeal of this city. In this article, you will find the top 10+ must-try dishes that capture the essence of the city’s culinary scene.
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a haven for food enthusiasts. Its vibrant streets are lined with food stalls and vendors offering a wide array of tantalizing street foods. Whether you are a fan of noodles, rice dishes, or delectable snacks, Ho Chi Minh City street food can satisfy every palate.
1. TOP 10+ tasty Ho Chi Minh City street foods to try when cravings strike
1.1. Pha lau
When you are in Ho Chi Minh City, don’t miss the chance to savor the delicious specialty called Pha lau. This dish brings together the best of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, creating a delightful fusion of flavors.
Pha lau is a hearty stew that combines different cuts of offal, like intestines, stomach, and lungs, cooked in a flavorful broth infused with fragrant spices such as star anise and cinnamon. The result is tender and succulent offal pieces immersed in a rich and aromatic broth. It is usually served with crispy bread or rice noodles, accompanied by fresh herbs to enhance the taste even more.
Pha lau is a signature dish of Saigon (Source: Collected)
1.2. Banh beo
Banh beo is a popular Ho Chi Minh street food that is adored by both locals and tourists. It consists of small, steamed rice cakes, topped with a variety of savory ingredients like dried shrimp, crispy pork rinds, and scallions.
The combination of the soft, smooth texture of the rice cakes and the explosion of flavors from the toppings creates a delightful culinary experience that will leave you craving for more.
1.3. Banh canh cua
Banh canh cua is a popular Vietnamese street food in Ho Chi Minh City that offers a delightful noodle soup experience. This dish features thick and chewy rice noodles immersed in a flavorful broth made with crab as its base. The broth is infused with aromatic herbs and spices, creating a tantalizing aroma.
The highlight of Banh canh cua is the succulent crab meat, which imparts a rich and delicate taste to each spoonful. The dish is completed with fresh herbs, crispy pork rinds, and a refreshing squeeze of lime.
Banh canh cua is a true delight that should be included in your Saigon street food tour (Source: Collected)
1.4. Goi cuon – A much-loved Ho Chi Minh City street food of foreign tourists
Goi cuon, also known as Vietnamese summer rolls, is widely regarded as the best street food in Ho Chi Minh City, adored for its light and refreshing flavors.
These rolls are made with rice paper wraps filled with a combination of fresh ingredients. Typically, they include shrimp, pork slices, crunchy lettuce, bean sprouts, aromatic herbs, and vermicelli noodles. Each roll is dipped into a delicious peanut sauce, adding a creamy and slightly sweet taste.
1.5. Banh khot
Banh khot is a crispy and famous food in Ho Chi Minh City. These bite-sized pancakes are made with a flavorful mixture of rice flour, turmeric, and coconut milk. The batter is poured into a special cast-iron mold and fried until they turn crispy and golden brown.
The pancakes are then topped with a variety of fillings, such as shrimp, pork, and scallions. Served with fresh herbs and lettuce, Banh khot makes for a delightful snack or appetizer, perfect for satisfying your cravings.
Banh khot is a savory Ho Chi Minh City food with crispy flavors (Source: Collected)
1.6. Banh tam bi
Banh tam bi is a flavorful Ho Chi Minh City street food dish that you shouldn’t miss out on when exploring the vibrant food scene here. It combines 2 main ingredients: banh tam, which is a thick and chewy rice noodle, and bi, which refers to tender and succulent shredded pork rinds.
This dish is served with a generous amount of refreshing herbs, roasted peanuts, and a drizzle of fragrant coconut milk sauce. With each bite, you will experience an enjoyable combination of textures and a perfect harmony of sweet, savory, and nutty flavors.
1.7. Bot chien – A must-try in your Ho Chi Minh City street food tour
Bot chien is a popular dish among Saigon street foods, known for its crispy texture and irresistible flavor. It features crispy pan-fried rice cakes and scrambled eggs, stir-fried together with flavorful seasonings and topped with fresh green onions.
The rice cakes have a delicious golden crust, while the eggs contribute a creamy richness to the dish. With such a delightful mix of textures and flavors, Bot chien offers a truly enjoyable culinary experience.
Bot chien is an essential street food to sample in Ho Chi Minh City (Source: Collected)
1.8. Banh mi
If you are wondering what to eat in Saigon, don’t miss out on the iconic Banh mi Saigon, a famous Vietnamese sandwich that has gained worldwide popularity. It is a culinary masterpiece that brings together the best of French and Vietnamese flavors and textures.
This delicious sandwich features a crispy baguette filled with mouth-watering ingredients such as grilled pork or shredded chicken, fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, and a tangy sauce. The combination of crunchy bread, tasty fillings, and a variety of flavors creates a truly satisfying experience.
1.9. Bun mam
Bun mam is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that will excite your taste buds with its rich and delicious flavors. This seafood-based soup combines shrimp, squid, fish, and vegetables in a flavorful broth made with fermented fish sauce.
Served with thick rice noodles, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime wedges, you can customize each bowl to your liking. The combination of juicy seafood, aromatic broth, and fresh herbs creates a mouth-watering dish for all to enjoy.
Bun mam is popularly regarded as the best Saigon street food for its rich flavor and distinctive aroma (Source: Collected)
1.10 Che chuoi
Che chuoi is a warm banana and coconut soup that combines the natural sweetness of ripe bananas with the creamy richness of coconut milk. This dessert is further enhanced with the addition of tapioca pearls, creating a chewy and comforting texture. A hint of pandan leaves adds a subtle fragrance to the dish, while roasted peanuts sprinkled on top provide a delightful crunch.
Whether enjoyed as a comforting treat on a cool day or as a satisfying end to a meal, che chuoi is a beloved dessert that showcases the harmonious blend of tropical ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine.
1.11. Com tam – A delectable Saigon street food that every foodie should add to their bucket list
Com tam, or Vietnamese broken rice, is a must-try street food in Saigon that should be on every food lover’s list. This dish offers a unique combination of flavors and textures that will satisfy your cravings.
It starts with fragrant broken rice, topped with juicy grilled pork chops, a crispy fried egg, and a side of fish sauce dressing. The flavorful pork, paired with fluffy rice and tangy pickled vegetables, creates a tantalizing blend of tastes in every bite.
Com tam is a favored dish in Ho Chi Minh City street food scene (Source: Collected)
1.12. Hu tieu
Hu tieu is a popular noodle dish that originated in southern Vietnam. It features thin and chewy rice noodles immersed in a savory broth made from pork bones, seafood, and aromatic spices. Diners can enjoy this dish with a variety of toppings, such as sliced pork, shrimp, squid, and bean sprouts.
The combination of tender noodles, flavorful broth, and tasty toppings creates a comforting culinary experience. Whether you prefer a mild or spicy version, Hu tieu is a specialty that highlights the delicious flavors of Saigon cuisine.
Pho is an aromatic noodle soup that has become a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. Pho Saigon features thin rice noodles immersed in a flavorful broth made from simmered beef bones, fragrant herbs, and spices like star anise and cinnamon.
This dish is typically served with thinly sliced beef or chicken, along with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chili peppers. The mixture of soft noodles, savory broth, and a variety of toppings will surely amaze your taste buds.
Pho is an essential dish that represents the essence of Ho Chi Minh City street food culture (Source: Collected)
1.14. Mi Quang
Mi Quang is a beloved Vietnamese noodle dish that originated in the central region of the country and has gained popularity in other regions, including Saigon.
It features rice noodles coated in a flavorful broth, which gets its vibrant color from turmeric. The noodles are then generously topped with a variety of ingredients, including delicate pork slices, juicy shrimp, boiled quail eggs, fresh herbs, crunchy peanuts, and crispy rice crackers.
To elevate the flavors, a tangy fish sauce or shrimp paste is drizzled over the dish, adding a delightful umami kick.
Mi Quang is a delightful combination of savory, sweet, and spicy flavors (Source: Collected)
2. Where to find the best street foods in Ho Chi Minh City?
When it comes to finding the best street food in Ho Chi Minh City, here are some top locations to explore:
- The area surrounding Turtle Lake (near the intersection of Vo Van Tan, Pham Ngoc Thach, and Tran Cao Van streets, District 3): This vibrant area is known for its diverse street food stalls offering a wide range of delicious treats.
- Vinh Khanh Street (District 4): Famous for its seafood, particularly snails, Vinh Khanh Street boasts numerous restaurants and street vendors serving fresh and flavorful dishes.
- Alley 200 Xom Chieu (District 4): This hidden gem is tucked away in a local neighborhood, offering a variety of street food options, from pha lau to noodle dishes.
- Co Giang Street (District 1): Co Giang Street is lined with food vendors serving up popular Vietnamese street foods like banh mi, pho, com tam, and che chuoi.
- Ben Thanh Market (Le Loi Street, District 1): One of the most iconic landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market is not only a bustling market but also a great place to experience a variety of street foods.
- Alley 284 Le Van Sy (District 3): This hidden alley is a favorite among locals for its authentic Vietnamese street food, including banh mi, hu tieu, and more.
- Alley 14 Tran Binh Trong (District 5): This alley is known for its delectable Vietnamese street foods, such as banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), bot chien, and banh mi.
Saigon has an array of stalls where you can indulge in its street food offerings (Source: Collected)Ho Chi Minh City street food is a culinary paradise that should not be missed out on. Whether you are exploring the vibrant markets, strolling through the bustling streets, or simply following the tantalizing aromas, the street foods of Ho Chi Minh City will surely amaze your taste buds. So, start planning your trip today and get ready for an adventure that will fulfill all your cravings!