The heart of Saigon lies in the tiniest alleys on top of miniature plastic tables and chairs and no matter how much you’re willing to spend for the best bowl of pho, nothing will beat what Ho Chi Minh City's street-food vendors are serving up. Understanding a city’s culture often lies in its cuisine and Saigon’s can be found in the food stalls that cover every district, neighbourhood and laneway. With so many incredible food options to choose from, it can be truly overwhelming to say the least. Luckily for you I've narrowed down just 5 of my personal favourite street foods in Saigon and where you can find them.
1. Bánh Xèo
Vietnamese cuisine has been a total game changer for me, bánh xèo especially! This huge sizzling pancake made from rice flour and coconut milk may not be your typical Sunday crepe, but its divine combination will make your tastebuds explode. Stuffed with bean sprouts, taro, carrots, cooked shrimp and thin slices of cooked pork, then wrapped with greens and dipped in fish sauce, it's an absolute must-taste in the city. Yum!
My Favourtie Bánh Xèo Spot: Banh Xeo 46A, 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Tan Dinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh
2. Bánh Canh Cua
These thick, hearty and dreamy tapioca noodles are elegantly mixed with a handful of crab meat, sliced pork, quail eggs, shrimp, and crab cake. With a dash of green onions and black pepper to top it all off, this street food dish will make you crave it for years to come!
My Favourite Bánh Canh Cua Spot: bánh Canh Cua 87, 87 Trần Khắc Chân, Tân Định, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh
3. Bún Chả
If I was forced to eat bún chả for the rest of my life, I wouldn't complain. Not even once. That's how amazing this dish is. The spiced patties and thin slices of pork belly (grilled until crispy) are served in a delightful bowl of fish sauce, sliced young papaya, carrot and garlic. Yum! And to accompany all of that deliciousness you can throw rice noodles and fresh herbs into the mix!
My Favourite Bún Chả Spot: Hải Hội Quán - Bún Chả Hà Nội & Nem Rán, 51 Xuân Thủy, Thảo Điền, District 2, Ho Chi Minh
4. Bún Mắm
Saigon loves soups and as a soup lover myself I was elated to have moved to a city which appreciates the diversity of soup as much as I do! Bún mắm, however, has a fermented fish broth base, with bits of seafood, pork belly, eggplant and fish cake in the mix. Now I know it might not sound too appetizing at first, but its sweet and tangy base, thick rice noodles and chunks of delicious meat have never disappointed my taste buds. Ever!
My Favourite Bún Mắm Spot: Bún Mắm Phan Xích Long, 11 Hoa Sứ, Phường 7, Phú Nhuận District, Hồ Chí Minh
5. Banh Flan
Banh flan or Vietnamese crème caramel will make your tastebuds absolutely melt and leave you dreaming of more. Originally derived from Europe and perfected in Vietnam, banh flan is a popular snack to quench your cravings for something sweet. Although, I constantly crave this throughout the day. The best part is that there are thousands of banh flan combinations, including green tea, chocolate, coffee and my personal favourite coconut milk flan. Yum!
My Favourite Banh Flan Spots: Ngoc Nga flan cake, 134/56, Đường 20 THƯ, Ward 9, Quận 4 and Coconut milk flan, Nguyen Van Troi Market - 209/22 Le Van Sy Street, Ward 13, District 3
For all things Vietnam and travel related you can also find me on Instagram @AlyshiaTurchyn! Let me know what you're favourite street food is!