Saigon Street Food: 10+ Must-Tries for Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon street food is famous for its diversity and vibrant flavors spanning almost all streets of the city. From the famous fresh spring rolls to a lesser-known grilled banana cake, wherever you go in Ho Chi Minh City, there is always fantastic street food awaiting you. With out following guide, you can discover the street food scene of Saigon with or without the help of a knowledgeable street food guide.

The Street Food Culture of Ho Chi Minh City

Enjoying street food in Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting culinary experience. It is not over-exaggerated to say that street food is available at every city corner, from the iconic pho and banh mi to lesser-known treasures like bun thit nuong (rice vermicelli with grilled pork) and pha lau (beef offal stew). And most importantly, you can enjoy them at any time of the day.

The local way of eating street food in Saigon

The local way of eating street food in Saigon

The best way to enjoy street food in Saigon is at open-air eateries, adorned with tiny tables and plastic stools that foster communal dining experiences. Night markets like Ben Thanh Market and Nguyen Hue Walking Street add to the vibrancy, offering a dazzling display of street food stalls, music, and the irresistible aroma of sizzling pans.

Saigon street food is actually a fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, and French influences, showcasing a harmonious blend of flavors. It’s an adventure that’s not just budget-friendly but also an avenue for cultural exploration, where interactions with vendors and fellow diners weave a rich tapestry of local life and culinary traditions.

Is It Safe to Eat Street Food in Saigon?

Eating street food in Saigon is generally safe. However, you should opt for popular vendors with lots of local people to ensure good food quality and freshness. Also, pay attention to the cleanliness cooking area and ensure that the meats and seafood you eat are thoroughly cooked. Also, don’t drink tap water when you are here. Bottled water is advisable.

Must-Try Ho Chi Minh City Street Food

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Pancake)

Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo, a delectable Vietnamese delicacy, is a savory pancake generously stuffed with shrimp, pork, crisp bean sprouts, and occasionally mung beans. Crafted from a mixture of rice flour and turmeric, this culinary gem boasts a vibrant, sun-kissed yellow hue. Served alongside a medley of fresh herbs and a delectable dipping sauce, it creates a harmonious symphony of textures and flavors that tantalize the taste buds.

Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Rolls)

Goi Cuon

Goi Cuon

Goi Cuon, alternatively known as fresh spring rolls or summer rolls, are a culinary delight formed by enveloping a medley of ingredients such as shrimp, pork, rice vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and fragrant herbs within delicate rice paper sheets. These rolls, celebrated for their refreshing and healthful qualities, are often accompanied by a delectable peanut dipping sauce, rendering them a favored option to relish on sweltering summer afternoons.

Banh Trang Tron (Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad)

Banh trang tron - one of the best Saigon street food

Banh trang tron

Banh Trang Tron stands as a distinctive Saigon street food, known as rice paper salad. It harmoniously blends thin rice paper strips with vibrant green mango, aromatic herbs, savory dried shrimp, crunchy peanuts, and a zesty, invigorating dressing with a hint of spiciness. This delightful medley orchestrates a symphony of flavors, seamlessly weaving together sweetness, tanginess, saltiness, and a kick of spice that tantalizes the palate with every exquisite bite.

Oc (Snails & other Seafoods)

Oc Saigon

Oc Saigon

If you get into a “Oc” store in Saigon, you will not only find snails but also a variety of other seafood such as clams, mussels, etc. They are prepared in various ways, from steamed to grilled, or stir-fried. You will eat Oc with a special dipping sauce (made from fish sauce, pepper, chopped lemongrass, etc.). It is aromatic and will decide the flavor of your dish.

Bun Mam (Fermented Fish Paste Soup with Vermicelli)

Bun mam in saigon

Bun mam

Bun Mam is a delectable noodle soup that derives its distinctive flavor from a broth infused with fermented fish paste. This savory concoction is traditionally accompanied by tender rice vermicelli noodles and an assortment of delectable toppings, including succulent shrimp, flavorful pork, and savory eggplant. A burst of freshness is imparted by the addition of herbs, crisp bean sprouts, and zesty lime, culminating in a harmonious fusion of flavors. This rich and satisfying soup, celebrated for its profound umami notes, holds a cherished place among the local culinary favorites.

Che (Sweet Soup)

Che Saigon

Che Saigon

Che in Saigon refers to a diverse spectrum of delectable sweet soups or desserts, crafted from an array of ingredients, including beans, glutinous rice, velvety coconut milk, and an assortment of fresh fruits. From the vibrant hues of Chè Ba Màu, a delightful Three-color dessert, to the creamy indulgence of chè chuối, a banana and coconut milk sweet soup, these delectable confections offer a delightful conclusion to any Saigon street food adventure.

Bot Chien (Vietnamese Fried Rice Flour Cake)

Bot Chien

Bot Chien

Bot Chien, a beloved dish within Saigon’s vibrant street food scene, is famous among locals for its tantalizing blend of crispiness and irresistible flavor. At its core are pan-fried rice cakes, perfectly crispy and adorned with scrambled eggs. These delectable components are skillfully stir-fried, infused with flavorful seasonings, and crowned with a garnish of fresh green onions.

The rice cakes boast a delectably golden crust, while the eggs introduce a creamy opulence to the ensemble. This harmonious marriage of contrasting textures and flavors elevates Bot Chien into a culinary delight, ensuring an entirely pleasurable gastronomic encounter.

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)

Banh Mi

Banh Mi

Banh Mi stands as an indisputable icon and cherished Vietnamese street food, a favorite among travelers, although not native to Ho Chi Minh City. This delectable creation comprises a French-inspired baguette, generously stuffed with an array of delectable ingredients, including succulent grilled pork, savory pâté, tangy pickled vegetables, aromatic cilantro, and creamy mayonnaise. The interplay of these diverse flavors and textures converges to craft an irresistible culinary delight that is both savory and deeply satisfying.

Banh Mi can be readily savored along the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, making it an essential indulgence for any food enthusiast exploring the city’s vibrant culinary landscape.

Hu Tieu – Cannot Miss in Saigon

Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu is a beloved noodle creation by the southern Vietnamese people. This dish features chewy rice noodles bathed in a luscious broth forged from a fusion of pork bones, seafood, and fragrant spices. You have the delightful option of personalizing your bowl of Hu Tieu with an array of delectable toppings like pork, plump shrimp, tender squid, and crisp bean sprouts.

The marriage of flavorful broth, supple noodles, and various savory toppings gives this dish a delightful flavor, satisfying even the most fastidious diner.

Banh Khot

Banh Khot

Banh Khot

Banh Khot, a renowned and crispy delightful street food in Ho Chi Minh City, captures the hearts of every food enthusiast. These petite pancakes, bursting with flavor, are crafted from a tantalizing blend of rice flour, turmeric, and creamy coconut milk. The batter is skillfully poured into a specialized cast-iron mold, where it is fried to perfection until it achieves a delightful crispiness and a rich, golden-brown hue.

These delectable morsels are then crowned with an array of toppings, including succulent shrimp, savory pork, and aromatic scallions. Served alongside fresh herbs and crisp lettuce, Banh Khot emerges as a delightful snack or appetizer, the ideal choice for satiating your culinary desires.

Banh Chuoi Nuong (Grilled Banana Cake)

Banh chuoi nuong

Banh chuoi nuong

Another delectable treat that simply can’t be missed in Ho Chi Minh City is the grilled sticky banana cake, a charmingly sweet snack that leaves an indelible impression on every palate. Each banana is enveloped in a layer of sticky rice and then meticulously baked, releasing a delicate aroma that’s further enhanced by the embrace of a banana leaf wrap.

The sticky banana cake is typically served with a generous sprinkle of roasted peanuts, and it’s generously bathed in thick, velvety coconut water that permeates every delightful bite, elevating the taste to a truly unforgettable experience.

Banh Tam Bi – A Favorite Dish of Saigon Locals

Banh Tam Bi

Banh Tam Bi

Banh Tam Bi is another must-try Saigon street food. It is a flavor-packed delight that captures the essence of the city’s culinary artistry. This exquisite dish harmonizes two central components: banh tam, characterized by its thick and chewy rice noodles, and bi, which denotes tender and succulent shredded pork rinds.

Served in style, banh tam bi often comes adorned with a lavish profusion of revitalizing herbs, toasted peanuts, and a drizzle of aromatic coconut milk sauce. Every mouthful promises an enchanting blend of textures, where the juxtaposition of sweet, savory, and nutty flavors dances in perfect harmony, ensuring an absolutely delightful gastronomic experience.

Pha Lau (Beef Offal Stew)

Pha Lau in Saigon

Pha Lau in Saigon

When you find yourself in the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City, seize the opportunity to relish the delectable specialty known as Pha Lau. This culinary gem artfully marries the finest elements of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, resulting in a delightful fusion of flavors that will leave your taste buds enchanted.

Pha Lau takes the form of a hearty stew, where various cuts of offal, including intestines, stomach, and lungs, undergo a flavorful transformation in a broth infused with fragrant spices like star anise and cinnamon. The outcome is a symphony of tender and succulent offal pieces, bathed in a rich and aromatic broth that dances on your palate. Typically accompanied by crispy bread or delicate rice noodles and garnished with fresh herbs, Pha Lau promises an elevated taste experience that’s not to be missed during your culinary exploration.

Com Ga Xoi Mo (Fried Chicken with Rice)

Com ga xoi mo

Com ga xoi mo

Com ga xoi mo, a beloved dish in Saigon, is famous for its sheer popularity and mouthwatering appeal. This tantalizing creation revolves around succulent chicken legs, first simmered to tenderness and then masterfully fried to a delightful crispiness in hot oil. A unique twist in this culinary masterpiece lies in the use of the chicken’s flavorful boiling water to cook the rice. The result is a fragrant and aromatic bed of rice that perfectly complements the crispy chicken, creating a harmonious culinary symphony that’s adored by locals and visitors alike.

Banh Beo (Water Fern Cake)

Banh beo

Banh beo

Banh beo holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and travelers. It is a kind of steamed rice cake adorned with an array of savory toppings, including dried shrimp, crunchy pork rinds, and aromatic scallions.
The enchanting amalgamation of the rice cakes’ tender, velvety texture and the burst of flavors from the toppings crafts a truly enchanting gastronomic journey that’s bound to evoke cravings for more.

Where to Find the Best Saigon Street Food?

When it comes to a Saigon street food tour to discover the finest street food in Ho Chi Minh City, here are some of the best destinations to explore:

  • The surrounding of Turtle Lake (District 3): Nestled near the crossroads of Vo Van Tan, Pham Ngoc Thach, and Tran Cao Van streets, this lively locale is renowned for its vibrant array of street food stalls offering an extensive selection of delectable treats.
  • Vinh Khanh Street (District 4): Famed for its seafood, especially snails, Vinh Khanh Street is home to a multitude of restaurants and street vendors dishing out fresh and flavorful culinary creations.
  • Alley 200 Xom Chieu (District 4): This hidden culinary gem nestled within a local neighborhood offers an enticing array of street food options, spanning from pha lau to an array of noodle delights.
  • Co Giang Street (District 1): Co Giang Street is lined with dedicated food vendors, tantalizing taste buds with beloved Vietnamese street food classics like banh mi, pho, com tam, and che chuoi.
  • Ben Thanh Market (Le Loi Street, District 1): As one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most iconic landmarks, Ben Thanh Market not only serves as a bustling marketplace but also as an exceptional spot to savor a diverse range of street foods.
  • Alley 284 Le Van Sy (District 3): This hidden alley stands as a local favorite, celebrated for its authentic Vietnamese street food offerings, encompassing banh mi, hu tieu, and much more.
  • Alley 14 Tran Binh Trong (District 5): Renowned for its delectable Vietnamese street foods, this alley serves up delights such as banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), bot chien, and banh mi, earning its place among the city’s culinary treasures.

>>> Join our Ho Chi Minh City Full-day Tour to visit its major highlights and sample these delicious street foods.

Ho Chi Minh City street food is a truly paradise. Whatever place you visit in the city, whether it is a bustling street or a vibrant market, there is always something to tantalize your taste buds. So, get ready for an amazing Saigon food adventure now. Check our list of well-planned Ho Chi Minh City tours or contact us right here if you need help planning your trip.

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Alice Pham

Hello, I'm Alice Pham - a travel blogger at IDC Travel. I have traveled to almost places in Vietnam and gained numerous useful experiences. I'm here willing to help you plan the most wonderful trip to our stunning S-shaped country.

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