So, everyone has different food tastes when they come to a new country, especially one that might be very different to their home country. Some people choose to stick with what they know and go for Western options, other people like to get Western versions of the local dishes and the brave like to go out and find the best street food available! I like to have a mix, sometimes I fancy being adventurous and other times I crave something familiar and homely!
Here are my suggestions of must try restaurants to meet all of your needs and desires while travelling in HCM.
Don’t worry, the best restaurants in Hanoi blog is on it’s way!
1. Pho Chay Nhu
This café is a little far out from D1 (the main tourist district), in Binh Thanh, but I think it’s worth a visit. For a start, it is in a very local area, away from any tourists, which makes it a really fun afternoon adventure.
It serves a number of popular Vietnamese dishes such as Mi Quang (thick yellow noodles with peanuts and veggies), Pho (Rice noodle soup with herbs) and Banh Xeo (savoury pancake) in vegetarian versions that taste as delicious as their meat counterparts. It also serves Com Tap Cam which is boiled rice with veggies and tofu/ sepan in an awesome array of different sauces.
This is a plastic table and chairs kind of place that serves iced tea as well as a selection of fizzy drinks. It is very cheap (around $2.50 for everything) and the staff are very friendly and speak a bit of English.
To add to this, it is right next to Le Van Tam park, which is a gorgeous little place with fountains, shady trees, clean paths, green grass, locals and many squirrels running around!
2. Asian Kitchen
Asian Kitchen is the place to be if you want to try a number of different dishes from all over Vietnam, in a Western setting, down a small backpacker alley in the centre of HCM.
The staff are all friendly and speak good English and the food is tasty. It offers a number of vegetarian options as well as many non-vegetarian options and is reasonably priced.
It has a very extensive menu with lots to choose from and you can order Vietnamese or Western cuisine, depending on your mood!
3. Banh Mi 37
By far my best Vietnamese snack is a good old Banh Mi! When I did my motorbike tour of Vietnam I would frequently eat these tasty baguettes with a number of different fillings.
This place is a little further out and not in the main tourist centre, but it’s worth the short trip. Located in District 5, (next to D1) on Nguyen Trai street, this is not actually a restaurant or café but a simple a food cart that serves delicious baguette sandwiches. They are incredibly cheap and so perfect for the budget traveller. The stall opens at 5pm every day but this stall is so popular that it often has a long queue, so make sure you get there early!
There are a wide variety of fillings to choose from including crispy pork and charcoal grilled pork meatballs, fresh cucumber and tomato, a dash of coriander, spicy sauce (if you fancy it!), soy sauce, green onions, pickles and sweet chilli sauce.
4. Ben Thanh street food market
Right in the centre of HCM, where all the hustle and bustle of daily Vietnamese life takes place, there is the Benh Thanh street food market. This huge market is an undercover market made of hundreds of street food stalls that sell all kinds of food not just from Vietnam but from all over the world. You will find food from the US, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and many other places.
All of it is reasonably priced, tasty and fresh and the locals are very friendly. There is a seating area where you can take your food to eat with friends, which means you all choose a different stall and dish but still enjoy it together.
This must see food market in is Thu Khoa Huan street, Binh Thanh, in the centre of D1. It serves everything from spring rolls and pho, to rice and noodle dishes, pizza and French fries. Definitely check it out and go with some friends or family for a social, local experience!
5. BBQ street food on Pham Ngu Lao
This is an experience not to be missed! On the bustling main street of HCM’s thriving district 1, sit on a plastic chair drinking cheap beer and soda and watch the tourists and locals flock by while eating delicious BBQ food.
You can order seafood, pork, beef and chicken all on skewered kebabs with an assortment of veggies, such as, peppers, mushrooms and onions. You can also enjoy local veggie dishes like water spinach with garlic and fried spicy Okra.
The BBQ food is really delicious and the atmosphere is like nothing you’ll have ever experienced, so grab your friends and head down to Pham Ngu Lao for a night of great food and cheap drinks. Later, why not head out to one of the local bars for an after dinner drink?
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