The 7 popular dishes to try in Saigon
- on Dec 22, 2019       By: BN
With its tremendous variety of gastronomic specialities, Saigon cuisine is so tasty and surprising that it must make your stay in Saigon an unforgettable gourmet getaway. Among its thousand and one original flavours, here are the popular dishes to try without hesitation in Ho Chi Minh - a city renowned as a paradise for street food in Vietnam.
Com Tam, three treasures rice
This typical Saigon dish is one of the first to taste to start the day like a local. A Com Tam plate consists of broken rice with grilled pork ribs, an omelette, steamed mixed eggs, minced pork skin and Chinese sausage. To eat, sprinkle with an onion-oil sauce and another sweet and sour sauce made from Nuoc mam or fish sauce. With a few fresh slices of cucumber and tomatoes, you will enjoy a hearty and tasty breakfast. It’s also the opportunity to taste the rice, the main ingredient of Vietnamese cuisine. We can see more and more canteens serving Com tam in Saigon in the evening which will satisfy the night owls.
Price: between 30,000 and 55,000 VND
Com tam 111 Nguyen Phi Khanh, District 1
Com tam 67 Tran Huy Lieu, Phu Nhuan district
Com tam Ba Ghien, Phu Nhuan district
Banh mi, the Vietnamese sandwich
It is not difficult to find in each district of this city a number of small corners where the Banh mi, the iconic Vietnamese sandwich, is served. Whether you purchase from a booth or travelling stall, it is undoubtedly one of the best choices for catering to locals in Ho Chi Minh City.
Besides the classic garnishes like Vietnamese pâté, omelette and grilled pork, the cooks also offer a wide range of choices to satisfy varied tastes with pork dumplings, roast pork, Vietnamese pork pâté or fish. A little secret that makes Banh mi Saigon different from others is the butter that is spread before the traditional pâté. The crispy baguette is always stuffed with a good portion of raw vegetables, cucumber and coriander to make the recipe a delicious bouquet of flavours. Don’t forget that the Vietnamese Banh mi is among the best Vietnamese dishes not to be missed.
Price: between 10,000 and 55,000 VND
Huynh Hoa, District 1
Banh mi 150, Nguyen Trai, District 1
Banh mi pha lau Tieu, District 5
Bot chien, fried rice flour cake with eggs
This Chinese dish previously served in District 5 or Chinatown has long been part of the daily life of Saigon residents as a very common snack. We bake the rice and tapioca cupcakes marinated in soy sauce in a large pan of oil and then pour whisked eggs and spring onions over the golden cakes. Simple and appetizing, the more onions that you add, the more the dish awakens your taste buds. Popular with young people and students in Ho Chi Minh City, it is an ideal dish to satisfy your feeling peckish at the end of the day.
Price: between 15,000 and 40,000 VND
Dat Thanh, District 3
Phung Khac Khoan, District 1
187 Nguyen Kim, District 10
Phu Nhuan market, Phu Nhuan district
When you say snail sanctuary, you have to include Saigon, even though it is not a coastal city. At a booth brimming with snails, a multitude of more succulent varieties than the others should make you salivate at first sight. Stir-fried with tamarind and steamed in Thai-style, stir-fried in garlic or in a pan... No less than 20 kinds of snail will lead you to an unusual culinary experience that you will never get tired of. The recipe and the spices vary from one canteen to another where they invent delicious concoctions with coconut milk, lemongrass, tamarind and more Whatever your desires, this is something tasty for everyone here.
Price: from 30,000 VND
Oc Xom Chieu, District 4
Oc Nhu, Oc Thanh Thai, District 10
Hu tieu, saigonese noodle soup
In addition to three treasures rice and Banh mi, another emblematic dish of Saigon is Hu tieu which is simply called saigonese noodle soup. Unlike Pho or Bun, traditional Vietnamese noodle soups, this variant is distinguished by thinner and more elastic rice pasta. Originally served with simple pork slices, other ingredients are currently accompanying Hu tieu such as shrimp, pork liver, quail eggs, cuttlefish and more. This colourful and fragrant mixture has something to offer for all and is a delight that is often enjoyed at breakfast and dinner. It can be eaten hot as a soup or cold as a salad that can’t be consumed without soybean sprouts, dried fragrant garlic and a bowl of broth garnished with spring onions.
Price: between 35,000 and 65,000 VND
Thanh Xuan, Hu tieu oldest restaurant in Saigon, District 1
Quang Ky, Trieu Quang Phuc, District 5
Hu tieu Nam Vang, Cambodian version adapted to the Saigon flavour, served in 2 known places:
84 Ho Thi Ky, District 10
93 Huynh Man Dat, District 5
Goi kho bo, green papaya salad with dried beef
For a low price of 15,000 to 20,000 dong, this salad is a delicacy to which one will be quickly addicted while strolling through the streets and alleys of this food-loving city. Green papaya, dried beef, a few pieces of crunchy dough, Rau ram or Vietnamese coriander, grilled peanuts, all are blended together with a special sauce that is at the same time salty, sweet and spicy, culminating in the creation of a unique taste that you will not forget for a long time.
Price: between 15,000 and 20,000 VND
Le Van Tam Park, District 1
Ong Nam, 76 Nguyen Van Phu, District 1
38 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1
Sidewalk 259A Hai Ba Trung, District 3
Banh trang tron, rice leaf salad
It would be most unfortunate to visit Ho Chi Minh City without trying another salad no less popular with street food enthusiasts, the Banh trang tron. With less than a dollar, you can savour an alluring portion of this, composed of rice leaf cut into strips, grated green mango, quail eggs, Vietnamese coriander, dried beef, grilled shrimp, peanuts and especially the Muoi tom, an original local spice. Everything should be mixed well to allow your taste buds to succumb to the spicy and fragrant salad which is ideal to freshen your afternoon.
Price: between 10,000 and 22,000 VND
At Chu Vien, 38 Nguyen Thuong Hien, District 3
Ho Con Rua or Turtle Lake, District 3
Market 200, Xom Chieu, District 4
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