Just like with most of the major cities in Vietnam, the street food scene in Ho Chi Minh is exciting. You’ll find food stalls in almost every street corner, from the small alleyways to the major highways. Every day, thousands of street-side vendors would whip up delicious and cheap foods to feed a crowd of hungry customers sitting in small chairs by the sidewalks.
Street food in Ho Chi Minh is not only about the food. It’s also about the place, the culture, the atmosphere, and the experience. If you’re going to eat the same foods at home or at a restaurant, it would not be as exciting and delicious as eating it by the street side. So if you want to experience how it is to eat street foods in Ho Chi Minh, check out this list of the best streets to indulge in a tantalizing street food feast.
1. Vạn Kiếp Street
Vạn Kiếp Street sits along the border of Phu Nhuan and Binh Thanh districts. This is where you’ll find an exciting display of a wide array of local Vietnamese delicacies, such as spring rolls, Banh mi sandwiches, and of course, a piping hot bowl of Pho.
Straddling along the border of two of the most vibrant districts in Ho Chi Minh, the street food stalls in Vạn Kiếp Street is often filled with customers, especially when evening comes. Make sure you get here early for dinner to avoid the crowd. Usually, the place is packed with young Vietnamese locals from school or work and would gather around the small plastic tables as they partake their meals.
2. Cô Giang Street
The Cô Giang Street in Ho Chi Minh is a straight and narrow street that marks the southern perimeter of the famous backpacker area in District 1. If you’re staying in this area, then the Cô Giang Street is the most convenient place for you to enjoy mouthwatering Vietnamese street side treats.
Unlike in Vạn Kiếp Street, Cô Giang is not as densely packed with street food stalls, but it still offers a wide array of delicious local eats. Here, you can feast on mouthwatering noodles like the seafood vermicelli soup, Banh Mi, Pho, and many more. Most of the customers here are foreigners, mostly backpackers. In the evening, some stalls would sell barbecues that go well with a bottle of ice-cold beer. Cooking smoke fills the air as diners sit around the small tables arranged by the sidewalk.
3. Sư Vạn Hạnh Street
Sư Vạn Hạnh is a long and lively street along District 10 that’s often jam-packed with hungry locals every single day. The crowds usually consist of locals living in the nearby residential neighborhood lined with apartments and some run down and dilapidated shophouses.
Every day, a long line of food stalls are arranged by the side of Sư Vạn Hạnh, displaying a wide variety of delicious and cheap Vietnamese delicacies. Local families, both young and old, would take refuge on the small plastic stools as they wait for their foods to be prepared. There are also a few air-conditioned cafes in the area, so if you’re craving for a delicious cup of coffee after your street food meal, or perhaps you just want to cool off, then drop by at one of these cafes.
4. Vĩnh Khánh Street
Vĩnh Khánh Street is located in a neighborhood in Ho Chi Minh that used to be the home of a notorious Vietnamese gangster. But don’t let that scare you off because he has already been executed in 2004. The Vĩnh Khánh Street is certainly a must-visit for foodies, especially for the seafood lovers. As a matter of fact, this street is also known as the Seafood Street of Saigon.
Vĩnh Khánh Street is lined with sidewalk restaurants serving a wide array of local dishes. Some of the most famous dishes to order here are grilled cuttlefish, chili crab claws, grilled octopus, and a bowl of snails cooked in various ways. What’s great about eating here on weekend nights is that there are some performers that entertain diners, from street dancers to fire-eaters. Indeed, the scene here is lively, vibrant, and exhilarating.
5. Phan Văn Hân Street
If you are visiting the Bình Thạnh market, check out the Phan Văn Hân Street, a narrow street lined with cheap street food stalls that are frequented mostly by students from the nearby schools.
The Phan Văn Hân Street is densely packed with street food vendors, including snail and shellfish eateries illuminated by fluorescent light bulbs at night. When evening comes, vendors would set up the stalls by the pavement, in front of some old dilapidated shophouses. Customers would sit on the tiny chairs arranged by the sidewalk as they wait for their orders to be cooked. The scented smoke from the grill fills the street and mingle with the passing motorbikes and cars.