A foodie’s guide to 24 hours in Saigon


With constant buzz and food available at every street corner 24 hours of the day, Saigon is a great place for passionate foodies to get their bearings on the local food scene. 

Do not hesitate to embark on a food tour around this melting pot of cuisines and try a myriad of fabulous-tasting dishes.

Here’s a list of what to eat in Saigon in 24 hours here.


Breakfast



1. Bánh mì chảo – bánh mì in a sizzle pan



Image credit: Quỳnh Giang

Bánh mì chảo is a dine-in, sizzling hot alternative to the traditional grab-to-go bánh mì or stuffed baguettes

Served in a sizzling pan with fried eggs as the base, the dish boasts a heap of pork paste, sausages, cheese, and deep-fried sausages. 


Image credit: Thuy Van

The eggs are flash cooked until they are seared on the edges, with the yolks being runny enough to blend with the other ingredients. A freshly baked loaf of bánh mì is served on the side upon request.

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-USD3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bánh Mì Chảo Ngon, 176 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Đa Kao, District 1, HCMC
  • Bánh Mì Hòa Mã, 53 Cao Thắng, Ward 3, District 3, HCMC
  • 6 Đặng Trần Côn, Bến Thành Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Bánh Ông Tức – Mr. Angry Cake, 161C/22A Lạc Long Quân, Ward 3, District 11, HCMC
  • 72C Trần Quốc Toản, Ward 8, District 3, HCMC

2. Xôi mặn – salty sticky rice



Image credit: Thanh Kỹ

A well-loved street food eaten for breakfast, xôi mặn can be found in every corner of Saigon, from roadside street carts to convenience stores.

Featuring glutinous rice as the main ingredient, the dish is topped with quail eggs, slices of pork sausages, shredded chicken, shallots. A spoon of chilli or soy sauce is drizzled all over the ingredients to lend the dish a salty taste. 

Price range: VND15,000-VND35,000 (~USD0.66-USD1.54)
You can find this dish here:

  • Xôi Gà Xá Xíu Chợ Bà Chiểu, 318/1 Đường Bùi Hữu Nghĩa, Ward 1, Bình Thạnh, HCMC
  • Xôi Bà Number One, 21 Nguyễn Trung Trực, Bến Thành, District 1, HCMC
  • 409 Trần Phú, Ward 7, District 5, HCMC
  • Xôi Bà Tân Định, 310 Hai Bà Trưng, Tân Định, District 1, HCMC
  • Xôi Tám Cẩu, Điện Biên Phủ – Cao Thắng intersection, District 3, HCMC
  • Xôi Bình Tiên, 88 Minh Phụng, Ward 5, District 6, HCMC

3. Bún mọc – pork-based noodle soup



Image credit: @emlovefoods

A bowl of simmering goodness consisting of pork meatballs, pork sausages, and a pile of wood-ear mushrooms atop soft rice noodles, bún mọc is a meaty and chewy soup dish for breakfast. The broth is cooked with pig bones and shiitake mushrooms, boasting a mildly sweet taste with an earthy note.

Chopped cilantro, shallots, and pepper are added to the bowl for extra aroma.  

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-USD3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bún Mọc Ròm Mập, 459 Võ Văn Tần, Ward 5, District 3, HCMC
  • Bún Mọc Thanh Mai, 14 Trương Định, Bến Thành Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Bún Mọc Nga, 49B Đường Số 2, District 11, HCMC
  • Bún Mọc Út Tịch, 308/14 Hoàng Văn Thụ, Tân Bình District, HCMC
  • Bún Mọc Bà Chiều, 280 Bắc Hải,Ward 15, Tân Bình District, HCMC

Lunch



4. Bún riêu cua – Vietnamese crab noodles



Image credit: @letseat.withkonni

Featuring rice noodles with succulent pig trotters, a rich layer of crab paste, deep-fried tofu, a spoon of fermented shrimp paste, and stewed tomatoes for extra sweetness, bún riêu cua is one of the most fulfilling seafood dishes you can have for lunch.

This dish is usually accompanied by a heap of perilla leaves, cilantro, and morning glory for extra flavors and crispiness.

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-USD3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bún Riêu Nhà, 193E Kỳ Đồng, Ward 9, District 3, HCMC
  • Bún Riêu & Canh Bún, 61/1/5F Phan Đình Phùng, Phú Nhuận District, HCMC
  • 64 Cô Giang, Cô Giang Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Bún Riêu Cây Mận, 350 Hòa Hảo, Ward 5, District 10, HCMC
  • Bún Riêu Cô Nga, 64 Nguyễn Hữu Hào, Ward 6, District 4, HCMC

5. Hủ tiếu bò kho – Vietnamese beef stew



Image credit: @andyto2001

Bò kho is a stew dish consisting of long-simmered high-fat beef alongside carrots, potatoes, and lemongrass.

Braised with fish sauce, cashew oil, sugar, and various spices for a rich flavor, the beef has a satisfyingly delicious taste and juicy texture. You can have this dish with noodles, or bánh mì, or rice.

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-USD3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bò Kho dì Út, 194/5 Võ Văn Tần, Ward 5, District 3, HCMC
  • Bò Kho Bà Chánh, 46 Trần Văn Hoàng, Ward 9, Tân Bình District, HCMC
  • Bò Kho Út Nhung, 109/7 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, Ward 2, District 3, HCMC
  • Bò Kho – Hủ tiếu Cô Ba, 84/71 Tân Sơn Nhì, Tân Sơn Nhì, Tân Phú District, HCMC

6. Nui xào – Vietnamese-style pasta


Image credit: @tholyfield

Originating from France, nui xào, or stir-fried nouille, enjoys immense popularity among local people, especially office workers.

This calorie-loaded and savory dish features tender macaroni stir-fried with seasoned beef, cabbages, onions, and tomatoes. A fried egg is usually added on top to bulk up the dish.

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • 105 Nguyễn Thái Bình, Nguyễn Thái Bình, District 1, HCMC
  • 102/12 Cống Quỳnh, Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, HCMC
  • Tí Bu – Mì gói & Nui Xào Bò, 79/8 Nguyễn Hữu Cầu, Tân Định, District 1, HCMC
  • O Rít – Bún Bắp Bò & Nui Xào Bò, 153 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, HCMC
  • Dì Năm – Mì Xào Bò, 189 Cống Quỳnh, Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, HCMC

7. Cơm gà xối mỡ – rice with deep-fried chicken



Image credit: @axuongvn

Popular among young and old, cơm gà xối mỡ is a perfect crossover between Western cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine.

This iconic lunch dish features a crispy chicken thigh deep-fried in boiling oil alongside a scoop of rice stir-fried with eggs for a golden color, topped with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. 

A bowl of soy-based dipping sauce mixed with chilli is indispensable to the dish.

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • Cơm Gà Su Su, 123 Cống Quỳnh, Nguyễn Cư Trinh Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • 92C Cao Thắng, Ward 4, District 3, HCMC
  • 140 Lê Đại Hành, Ward 6, District 11, HCMC
  • Cơm Gà Lão Hương Thân, 402 Trần Phú, Ward 7, District 5, HCMC
  • Cơm Gà Hoàng Ký, 92 Huỳnh Mẫn Đạt, Ward 7, District 5, HCMC

Midday snacks



8. Bánh giò -Vietnamese rice pyramid dumplings



Image credit: @munications

An iconic midday snack loved for its silky smooth texture, affordability, and suitability for eaters of all ages, steamed bánh giò can be found at many street-side morning eateries or convenience marts such as Circle K

This steamed dish has a pyramid shape, featuring a light yet solid outer skin made from kneaded and stir-fried rice flour. Wrapped inside it is an assortment of ingredients such as chopped wood ear, quail eggs, and seasoned minced pork.   

Price range: VND10,000-VND25,000 (~USD0.44-USD1.10)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bánh Giò Đông Các – Hà Nội Ngon, 243/7 Tô Hiến Thành, Ward 13, District 10, HCMC
  • 243/7 Tô Hiến Thành, Ward 13, District 10, HCMC
  • Bánh Giò 7 trứng Bếp Nhà Tui, 55/24B Phan Đình Phùng, Ward 17, Phú Nhuận, HCMC
  • Bánh Giò Cô Tấm, 166 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, Ward 4, District 3, HCMC
  • Bánh Giò – Gánh Chưng Mẹ Múp, 219 Nguyễn Thái Học, Cầu Ông Lãnh, District 1, HCMC

9. Súp cua – crab soup



Image credit: @kietnavy.97

Wallet-friendly and usually sold on mobile carts, súp cua is an ultra popular midday treat in wet markets or often found near school gates.

A steaming hot bowl of crab soup consists of a thickened soup made from tapioca and egg whites as a base, on which is a rich layer of minced crab meat, shiitake, coriander, corn, a couple of quail eggs, and a generous amount of spices. 

To add flavors and nutrients to your soup, order silky smooth cooked pig’s brain and a buttery century egg as toppings. 

Price range: VND15,000-VND35,000 (~USD0.65-USD1.54)
You can find this dish here:

  • Súp Cua Hạnh, 549 Sư Vạn Hạnh,Ward 12, District 10, HCMC
  • Súp Cua Cô Lan Bong Bóng Cá, 239 Lương Nhữ Học, Ward 12, District 5, HCMC
  • Súp Cua Óc Heo, 183 Tuệ Tĩnh, Ward 12, District 11, HCMC
  • Tiệm Ăn Nhà Bà H, 105/39 Road 59, Ward 14, Gò Vấp District, HCMC
  • Súp Cua Nhà Thờ Đức Bà, 84 Nguyễn Du, Bến Nghé, District 1, HCMC
  • Old Market of Tôn Thất Đạm (Chợ Cũ), Tôn Thất Đạm Street, District 1, HCMC

10. Bánh tráng trộn – mixed rice paper salad



Image credit: @tranphanthanhtuyen

Innovative and tasty, bánh tráng trộn is among Saigon’s most popular snacks and has inspired countless variations.

The base of the dish is rice paper cut into strips and kept dry. A bunch of toppings such as quail eggs, sliced mango, minced pork, shredded beef, and dried baby shrimps are tossed into the mix, followed by a squeeze of calamansi juice to flavor the ingredients. 


Image credit: @susii_2hand

Those loving a crunchy bite of this low-fat snack can order the charcoal-grilled version of it.

This dish is often served inside a plastic bag with a pair of chopsticks. 

Price range: VND15,000-VND25,000 (~USD0.66-USD1.10)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bánh Tráng Trộn Chú Viên, 38 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, Ward 5, District 3, HCMC
  • Bánh Tráng Trộn Sạch Cô Thảo, 90 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, Ward 5, District 3
  • 13B-B2 Hoa Đào, Ward 7, Phú Nhuận District, HCMC
  • Ăn Là Ghiền, No. 638 3 Tháng 2 Street, Ward 11, District 10, HCMC
  • Bánh Tráng Trộn 18, 18 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, Ward 4, District 3, HCMC
  • 268 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC

Dinner



11. Bún thịt nướng – grilled pork noodles



Image credit: @w.seong_h

Boasting rice noodle topped with succulent grilled pork, crunchy deep-fried spring rolls, and a heap of pickles and onions, bún thịt nướng is a flavorful dish served dry.

Spread a spoon of fish sauce over the ingredients for an extra depth of flavor before digging in.

Price range: VND35,000-VND75,000 (~USD1.54-3.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bún Thịt Nướng Chị Tuyền, Cô Giang Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Vị Sài Gòn, 487 Nguyễn Tri Phương, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC
  • Quán Hải Đăng, 157 Chấn Hưng, Tân Bình District, HCMC  
  • Bún Thịt Nướng Anh Ba, 126 Lê Văn Sỹ, Phú Nhuận District, HCMC
  • Quán Cô Ba, 287/68 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 3, HCMC

12. Cơm tấm – Vietnamese broken rice



Image credit: Đức Ân

For Saigonese, nothing says home like a plate of cơm tấm. This iconic and widely eaten dish features broken rice, a well-marinated pork chop grilled over charcoal, and a fried egg or egg quiche upon request. A spoon of spring onions and shredded pork skin are spread over the rice to bulk up the flavor and texture of the dish. 


Image credit: Đức Ân

Eaten with a fork and a spoon, this dish is always served with a bowl of salty sweet dipping sauce. Spread a spoon of dipping sauce over the pork or the rice before serving.

Price range: VND35,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.54-USD3.04)
You can find this dish here:

  • Cơm tấm Tài, 1 Nguyễn An Ninh, Ward 14, Bình Thạnh District, HCMC
  • A mobile cart, 33/16 Nguyễn Đình Chính, Ward 15, Phú Nhuận, HCMC
  • Cơm tấm Bụi Sài Gòn, 100 Thạch Thị Thanh, Tân Định, District 1, HCMC
  • Cơm tấm Ba Ghiền, 84 Đặng Văn Ngữ, Ward 10, Phú Nhuận District, HCMC
  • Cơm tấm Mộc, 85 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Thành Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Cơm tấm Thuận Kiều, 54 Thuận Kiều,Ward 4, District 11, HCMC

13. Bún mắm – fermented rice vermicelli soup



Image credit: @vietlifetj

Originating from Cambodia and later becoming a southern countryside crowd-pleaser, bún mắm is loved for its complex flavor with a subtle sweet note. 

Fresh vermicelli serves as the foundation of the dish, garnished with a host of toppings such as roasted pork, shrimps, squids, sliced bananas, water lilies, and shallots.

The broth, made from a fermented anchovy sauce as the base, is cooked with flavor-boosting ingredients such as lime juice, pineapples, sugar, and lemongrass.

Price range: VND40,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.76-USD2.64)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bún Mắm Sáu Kèn, 412 Nhật Tảo, Ward 6, District 10, HCMC
  • Bún Mắm Bạc Liêu, 257 Vĩnh Viễn, Ward 4, District 10, HCMC
  • Bún Mắm444, 375 Lê Quang Định, Ward 5, Bình Thạnh, HCMC
  • 22 Đường Phan Bội Châu, Bến Thành, District 1, HCMC
  • Bún Mắm Tài, 855 – 856, Diên Hồng, Ward 1, Bình Thạnh District, HCMC

14. Bún măng vịt – noodles with duck and bamboo shoots



Image credit: @nauybui

Amidst a sea of noodle soup dishes that you can find in Saigon, bún măng vịt stands out for its distinctly aromatic broth and fleshy toppings.

Featuring juicy chunks of duck flesh topped with shallots and bamboo shoots atop a thick layer of rice vermicelli bathed in aromatic broth, this dish makes a scrumptious and fulfilling meal at any time of the day. 

This dish is usually served alongside a small bowl of sauce made from fish sauce with ginger and chilli, which is served as a dip for the meat.

Price range: VND35,000-USD70,000 (~USD1.54-USD3.09)
You can find this dish here:

  •  281/26/9 Lê Văn Sỹ, Ward 1, Tân Bình District, HCMC
  • Cháo Vịt Thanh Đa, 118 Bình Qưới, Ward 27, Bình Thạnh District, HCMC
  • Cháo Vịt Liên, 21/8A Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, Ward 2, District 3, HCMC
  • Hệ thống Vịt Cỏ 202, 202 Phan Văn Trị, Bình Thạnh, HCMC
  • Hệ thống Vịt Cỏ 202, 111 Võ Văn Kiệt, Cầu Ông Lãnh, District 1, HCMC

Supper



16. Sủi cảo – potstickers



Image credit: Luật Phạm

Originating from China,
sủi cảo is one of the most popular dinner and supper dishes among

Postickers typically encompass ground pork, shrimps, and mushroom fillings wrapped in a thin layer of dough with the edges sealed. They can either be boiled, steamed, pan fried, or deep fried, depending how you want to have them. You can have them as appetizers or with noodles.

A bowl of dipping sauce, which is traditionally made of black vinegar and sesame oil, is always served alongside the dish. 


Image credit: Kiệt Tuấn

Hà Tôn Quyền, a food lane in Chợ Lớn, is famous for its broad offerings of potstickers and wonton noodles. This place is always buzzing with food lovers after sunset, so you know it’s a legit place for potstickers or Chinese noodles.

Price range: VND40,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.76-USD2.64)
You can find this dish here:

  • Sủi Cảo Thiên Thiên, 195 Hà Tôn Quyền, Ward 4, District 11, HCMC

17. Bò lá lốt nướng – grilled beef in betel leaves



Image credit: @thewillchen

Aromatic, juicy, and tasty, bò lá lốt is a grilled dish featuring a ground mixture of beef, mushroom, and pork ears rolled inside in betel leaves.

The rolls are grilled over charcoal until the leaves turn crispy and waft up a medicinal aroma. 

This dish can be served as a standalone dish, or with wet rice paper or rice vermicelli along with a packet of herbs and dipping sauce to accent the overall flavor.

Price range: VND50,000-VND160,000 (~USD2.20-USD6.61)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bò Lá Lốt Thanh Vy,  267A Minh Phụng, District 11, HCMC
  • Bò Lá Lốt Bắc Hải, Bắc Hải – Cách Mạng Tháng 8 Intersection, District 10, HCMC
  • Bò Lá Lốt Anh Ba, 460 Phan Xích Long, Phú Nhuận District, HCMC
  • Bò Lá Lốt Cô Liêng, 321 Võ Văn Tần, District 3, HCMC
  • Bò Lá Lốt Cô Phương Giang, 228A Xóm Chiếu, District 4, HCMC

Things to eat in Saigon in 24 hours


A multi-ethnic city, Saigon’s food scene is pretty diverse and ever-growing. From wet markets to food lanes to well-established restaurants, you’re bound to find a wide variety of delicacies here. 

Be it crab soup or potstickers, these dishes are budget-friendly and fulfilling. If you don’t mind plastic tables and chairs in crowded places sans air conditioning, you’re in for great treats with small bills.

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from:  Quỳnh Giang, @w.seong_h, and @munications

Enjoying The Smart Local Vietnam? Follow us on Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more stories like this. If you have a story to share, email us at pressvn@thesmartlocal.com.