“Eat like a local!”

Veerle 4 maart 2016 Vietnam Reistips

Walking through the streets of HCM, you’ll smell all sorts of wondrous and hopefully, by reading through this food guide, you’ll be inspired to seek out those great smells and experience some of the real HCMC ’s food scene.

If you come across a place that is busy and full of locals, chances are it’s good. But “How do I know it’s safe?”, “What if I get sick?”, “Is it hygienic?” are a few of the most common concerns that I heard when I discuss street food with people. Think it carefully if you want to try it yourself! :-)

The Lunch Lady

Unlike many local restaurants, Nguyen Thi Thanh (or Lunch Lady) only cooks one dish per day, changing the dish according to the day. This food stall has been operating for more than a decade with locals flocking there for its goi cuon (summer rolls) and bun Thai (Vietnamese-Thai noodle soup). Bun Thai is only served on Mondays, comprising rice noodles in a sweet sour broth, topped with generous amounts of pre-blanched shrimps, beef slices, squid rings, chopped herbs, and assorted vegetables. Due to its popularity, make sure you get there early as the stall closes once it runs out of ingredients.

  • Address: 23 Hoang Sa Street, Phuong Da Kao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Priced guide: from  40,000 VND
  • Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 09:00 – 15:00

Banh My 37

Banh Mi 37- a simple food cart is one of the best places in the city to get your hands on Vietnam’s uniquely fusion street food. Its signature nem nuong banh mi is a crispy baguette sandwich with several charcoal-grilled pork patties, tangy sauce, cucumbers, cilantro, green onions, Vietnamese pickles, and topped with sweet chili sauce.

  • Address: 37 Nguyen Trai, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening Hours: Daily 16:00 – Late
  • Priced guide: from VND 17,000

Banh xeo 46A

As the name suggests, Banh Xeo 46A specialises in the traditional Vietnamese rice-flour crepe, which is served with huge portions of pork, shrimp, diced onions, mung beans, and bean sprouts, as well as a side of raw leafy vegetables and herbs. As these are made to order, vegetarian options are also available here. Banh Xeo 46A is just a brief walk away from Le Van Tam Park, drawing a loyal following amongst locals who reside and work within the area. Besides banh xeo, Banh Xeo 46A also serves summer rolls (goi cuon) and spring rolls (cha goi), chicken wings and fried calamari rings, as well as cheap local beer.

  • Address: 46A Dinh Cong Trang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 21:00
  • Tel: +84 83 824 1110
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese Crepes

Cuc Gach Quan

The restaurant serves excellent Vietnamese traditional foods using fresh ingredients and local flavors. The tofu is particularly tasty and tender, as is the clay pot pork. Additionally, the atmosphere of the restaurant with the decoration of retro style adds an extra point to the overall experiences.

  • Add: 10 Dang Tat Street, ward Tan Dinh, District 1, HCMC
  • Tel: 848 38480144/ 84 1657 1010101
  • Price guide: around 200,000 – 300,000 VND per person
  • Opening hours : 9.am - 11 pm

Co Ngu

Co Ngu in District 3 can easily be missed by tourists since it is located far away from the intensity of District 1-the tourist centre. For those of you who love to experience meal in Vietnamese style, Co Ngu is worth trying. Generally when you order, you will be given a large bowl of rice and served with your choice of meat, fish and vegetables.

  • Add: 278 Vo Thi Sau Street, Dist 3, HCMC
  • Tel: +84 8 3827 5702
  • Price guide: around 200,000 – 300,000 VND per person
  • Set menu: 199,000 – 389,000 VND
  • Opening hours : 11.am - 10.pm


Koto stands for “Know One, Teach One” which provides training for thousands of Vietnamese disadvantage youth in hospitality, in particular restaurant. Services in the restaurant are provided by all the trainees under the monitoring of their supervisors offering unique experiences to witness the successful training of formerly disadvantage children. However, the amazing concept doesn’t mean Koto have to sacrifice its food quality and services. The menu offers great selection of authentic local foods as well as western foods with generous proportion.

  • Add: 151A Hai Ba Trung Street, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC
  • Tel: +84 8 3934 9151/Hotline: +84 909 306 708
  • Price guide: around 200,000 – 300,000 VND per person
  • Opening hours : 8.am - 11.pm

Huong Lai

Settled on the second floor, Huong Lai is another hidden gem for you to try meal in Vietnamese style. The restaurant offers set menus as well as regular menu. Similar to Koto’s concept, the staff is formerly disadvantage children who are trained in hospitality as well as English proficiency. Some of the must try dishes include pork stewed in clay pot, Thien Ly flower buds and Tangy sauteed chicken with lemongrass.

  • Add: 38 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, HCMC
  • Tel: +84 8 3822 6814
  • Price guide: around 200,000 – 300,000 VND per person
  • Set menus 140,000-280,000 VND
  • Opening hours : 7.am - 11.pm

Bun Rieu Nha

Noodle soup is very popular in Vietnam with great variety of options. One of them is crab noodle soup that you will not want to miss. Bun Rieu Nha restaurant is specialized in crab noodle soup whose flavor cannot be aped easily. Freshly made broth and crab, nothing beats this version of the Vietnamese classic dish.

  • Add:19E Ky Dong, District 3, HCMC
  • Hotline: 0908.664.270- 0984.711.332
  • Price guide: 30,000 for classic crab noodle soup - 260,000 VND for crab hot pot
  • Opening hours : 7.am - 9.30pm


Local coffee shop:

Magnolia Kitchen &Café

The restaurant is an oasis with clean, comfortable and beautifully decorated environment. The food is mainly Vietnamese with a western touch. It is a bit pricey for the proportion; however, the flavor will surely satisfy your taste buds without the guilt.

  • Add: 190-192 De Tham, Distric 1, HCMC
  • Tel: 08 3920 3047
  • Price guide: around 200,000 – 300,000 VND per person
  • Opening hours : 7.am - 11pm

Trung Nguyen

When in Vietnam, don’t miss a chance to drink coffee like a local and savor the strong and rich flavor of the popular exotic drip coffee. Trung Nguyen is quite popular brand in Vietnam which offers authentic local coffee. The price is higher compared to local coffee shop, however, Trung Nguyen provides different taste of drip coffee that you can choose according to your preference. Additionally, you can find it on every street corner in Ho Chi Minh city due to the wide distribution.

  • Price guide: from 50,000 VND

Phuc Long

Located in favorable positions, you can stop by Phuc Long coffee and tea house for their famous tea. Peach black tea and Ooling milk tea are a try. Although tea is their specialty, they offer good selection of coffee

  • Price guide: from 25,000 VND



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