HO CHI MINH CITY | Do you have a Ho Chi Minh City Food Guide? Where can I find the best Ho Chi Minh City food? I’ve been asked these questions a lot since visiting Vietnam last month. I’m don’t have the same insight that a local does. I do, however, know some stuff, having eaten my way through the city three times over the past decade.
On my most recent visit to Ho Chi Minh City, I visited a variety of food spots. From street vendors, to high end restaurants. From soups to sandwiches, coffee to cocktails, and snacks to tasting menus, I’ve eaten and enjoyed a lot of food in Ho Chi Minh City.
In this list, updated as at July 2022, I provide a variety of places offering what I consider some of the best places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a culmination of my research, first hand experience, and discussions with knowledgeable locals.
I’ve placed the tips in alphabetical order, and they’re all delicious. Are any of your favourites listed below? Are there any places that you think should be on the my Ho Chi Minh City food guide?
Owner/chef Peter Cuong Franklin’s ‘Asia’s 50 Best’ awarded modern Vietnamese restaurant, Anan Saigon, is a must visit. The menu takes diners on a journey through the roots and diversity of Vietnamese cuisine. You’ll enjoy delicious dishes that challenge preconceptions about what Vietnamese food is, and can be.
Bánh Mì Hòa Mã
Opening in 1958, Bánh Mì Hòa Mã is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s first bánh mì spots, opening in 1958. The ‘bánh mì ốp la đủ thứ’ is a must order. It consists of a sizzling hot skillet filled with two fried eggs and several cuts of pork. To the side, a small dish of pate and mayonnaise, a plate of assorted pickled veg, and a freshly baked Vietnamese baguette.
Bánh Mì Huynh Hoa
Popular family run Bánh Mì Huynh Hoa has been operating since 1989, and is famous for their signature bánh mì đặc biệt. It’s a light and airy Vietnamese baguette loaded with pork bologna, shoulder ham, beef patties, pork floss, pork liver and skin pate, and a lathering of butter.
Bún Riêu-Canh Bún 66
Bún riêu is a traditional Vietnamese vermicelli noodle soup, and there are a few variations around. The version at Bún Riêu-Canh Bún 66 is bún riêu ốc, ồc being snails. Combined with vermicelli noodles in a fresh, sour, tomato and crab broth, it’s a delight.
Bún Thịt Nướng Chị Tuyền
Bún thịt nướng is a popular Southern Vietnamese dish consisting of a bowl of cold rice-vermicelli noodles topped with grilled pork, grilled garlic pork sausage, spring rolls, fresh herbs and salad, and bean sprouts. It’s served with nước mam fish sauce, and topped with roasted peanuts, pickled carrots and radish. One of the best versions in Ho Chi Minh City can be found at Bún Thịt Nướng Chị Tuyền.
Bò Kho Dì Út Ấn Độ
The speciality at Bò Kho Dì Út Ấn Độ is the Northern Vietnamese noodle soup dish, bò kho. The dish originated in China, evolving over the years for local ingredients and tastes. It’s a slow cooked beef stew, featuring slow braised, tender chunks of marinated beef and beef tendon, vegetables, and lemongrass. It’s hearty, yet light at the same time.
Cacao Bà Tám
Cacao Bà Tám is tucked away down a few side streets, and is absolutely packed with locals enjoying the same thing. It’s an iced triple cacao drink, containing drinking chocolate, thick cacao paste, Milo, and condensed milk, over shaved ice. With it, comes bánh mì, and scissors to cut it.
Cháo lòng Chị Thanh
This street cart in District 1 has an offering that differs depending on when you visit. From late afternoon until the early hours of the morning Cháo lòng Chị Thanh specialises in cháo lòng, a delicious, hearty pork offal congee dish.
Chè Vỉa Hè Cô Điệp
Chè Vỉa Hè Cô Điệp is a sidewalk dessert shop in District 3 that’s popular with locals looking for a quick dessert to-go, or enjoy while sitting on one of the plastic chairs on the sidewalk. Make sure you try their banana, coconut milk, and tapioca pearl dessert.
The Cocoa Project
The Cocoa Project is a bean to bar chocolatier and cafe that’s about creating a culture of chocolate appreciation in Vietnam. The chocolate, made on site, uses the best quality Vietnamese cacao beans and ingredients. It’s also a cafe, offering an assortment of chocolate drinks, cakes, and pastries.
Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền
Cơm tấm is an essential Ho Chi Minh City food. It consists of broken rice with grilled pork ribs and assorted sides. At Cơm tấm Ba Ghiền, which has been operating since 1995, there’s six base sets that you can customise as you like. Go for combo #6 ‘cơm tấm bì chả sườn trứng ốp la’, which gets you a bit of everything.
Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang Thành Đạt
The speciality at Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang Thành Đạt is hu tieu nam vang. Nam Vang is the Khmer name for Phnom Penh, and the dish is a Chinese/Khmer one that originated in that city. There are several variations of the light and fragrant pork bone broth noodle soup, all which you can try here.
Là Việt Coffee
Là Việt Coffee is specialty coffee roaster from one of Vietnam’s premier coffee growing regions, Da Lat. They have several cafes in Ho Chi Minh City, offering up some of the city’s best Vietnamese and Western style coffees, teas, and coffee cocktails.
Layla Eatery & Bar
Hidden cocktail bar Layla, is one of the best in Ho Chi Minh City, famed for its delicious and creative cocktails. Influenced by the flavours and produce of Vietnam, they’re made using the best quality spirits, fresh ingredients, herbs and other botanicals. If you’re hungry, there’s a full menu of elevated bar snacks.
LUA Saigon is a casual spot, focused on a constantly changing selection of seasonal Vietnamese / French inspired share plates, made using the best quality local ingredients. Accompanying the food is a focused selection of wines from like minded wine makers, including special biodynamic house wines and kombuchas.
Maison Marou is the flagship cafe, patisserie, and chocolate factory from bean-to-bar chocolate makers Marou. They make a chocolate that’s French in style, using Vietnamese ingredients, including cacao beans sourced exclusively from small scale Vietnamese growers.
Nhà Hàng Đông Phố
Nhà Hàng Đông Phố is a restaurant in the heart of District 3, that specialises in food from Hue, and French food. It’s housed in a beautiful multi-room building, with a charming old world atmosphere. Try one of their tasting menus, which provides a varied assortment of what the restaurant does best.
Palais Des Douceurs
Palais Des Douceurs is a French patisserie and cafe in District 1, hidden above shoe store, Annas. It’s a quiet and relaxing space, offering a delicious array of French pastries and baked goods, coffee, and tea.
Trung Nugyen Legend
Trung Nguyen is the largest and domestic coffee brand in Vietnam. At their multiple cafes, they use high quality, sustainable sourced Vietnamese coffee beans. It’s not strictly ‘the best’ coffee in town, but it’s always good, reliable, and nearby.
Quán Bún Chả Ánh Hồng
One of the best spots to enjoy Hanoi specialty bún chả in Ho Chi Minh city, is Quán Bún Chả Ánh Hồng. Start with the base set, which gets you smoky, flavoursome grilled pork mince patties, white rice vermicelli noodle, fresh herbs, pickles, dipping sauce, and condiments like chilli and garlic.
Quan Ut Ut
American BBQ specialists Quan Ut Ut serves a variety of low and slow BBQ dishes with a focus on pork. There’s the usual American flavours, but also a few options that take inspiration from Vietnam. Try the Oh Hell Yeah Saigon Pork Ribs, cooked low and slow with sweet and stick fish sauce.
QUNICE Saigon is all about delicious things cooked over fire, and is an offshoot of the award-winning Bangkok restaurant of the same name. It offers a broadly European menu informed by local produce and flavours. When you’ve finished your meal, head upstairs to Madam Kew for a cocktail and chill live music.
This cocktail bar is about experimental cocktails, using locally sourced produce, with a particular focus on Vietnamese fruits, vegetables, and flavours. Sustainability is a big focus at Summer Experiment – a rooftop herb garden provides ingredients for the bar and kitchen. The food here follows the same philosophy as the cocktails.
The Workshop Coffee
The Workshop Coffee is all about third wave coffee, brewed using the best locall and internationally sourced beans, brewed any number of ways. Think espresso, V60 pourover, Chemex, and Aeropress. Flavour profiles are listed for each bean, along with the suggested brewing methods.
Have you been to Ho Chi Minh City before? What are your favourite things to eat there, and your favourite place to eat them? Love craft beer? Take a look at my Ho Chi Minh City Craft Beer Guide for where to find the best locally brewed beers in town.