17 most popular Chợ Lớn foods for Chinese food lovers


Spreading over half of District 5, and a large section of District 6 and District 11, Chợ Lớn is considered Saigon’s Chinatown and was once a city of its own. Everyone knows that when that dumpling craving hits, Chợ Lớn is the place to go. 

However, with all its bustling energy and a dizzying array of food options, this gigantic kitchen can also be a bit overwhelming for new visitors. So, we’ve sampled our way around to create the ultimate guide to Chợ Lớn foods in this ethnic enclave of Chinese deliciousness.


Breakfast



1. Cadé steamed sticky rice – xôi cadé



Image credit: @miumiu.sgn

Xôi cadé features sticky rice steamed with pineapple leaves and served with a thickened sauce made from coconut milk, egg yolk, and durian. 

Filled with the richness and moist of whipped egg yolk, the rice is also redolent with the sweet, milky aroma of coconut milk. 

The dish is sometimes added with a little bit of sesame salt and copra to accent the overall flavor. 

Price range: VND8,000-VND20,000 (~USD0.35-USD0.87)
You can find this dish here:

  • 49 Phùng Hưng, Ward 13, District 5
  • Xôi Khâu Nhục, 236 Lãnh Binh Thăng, Ward 13, District 11 
  • 451 Trần Phú, Ward 7, District 5
  • Chè 3 màu – Xôi Xiêm, 157 Dương Tử Giang, Ward 15, District 5
  • Xôi Bình Tiên – Minh Phụng, 88 Minh Phụng, Ward 5, District 6

2. Salted egg custard buns – bánh bao Kim Sa



Image credit: @maipattie

A fluffy ball-shaped bun of steamy goodness, bánh bao Kim Sa bursts with gooey egg yolk and makes a decadent breakfast treat. When you tear open each bun, there will be a lava-like flow from the mashed egg yolk.  

The egg yolk used for these steamed buns is salted egg yolk, so the fillings are buttery and slightly salty. 

Price range: VND8,000-VND20,000 (~USD0.35-USD0.87)
You can find this dish here:

  • Baoz Dimsum, 86-88 Nguyễn Tri Phương, Ward 7, District 5
  • Saigon Xiao Mei, 938 Trần Hưng Đạo, Ward 7, District 5
  • Royal Garden Restaurant, Level 6 Parkson Hùng Vương,126 Hồng Bàng, Ward 12, District 5
  • Bánh Bao Thọ Phát, 78 Nguyễn Tri Phương, Ward 7, District 5

3. Charsiew wanton noodles – mì hoành thánh



Image credit: @i_lo_fo

Featuring steaming hot broth poured all over thinly sliced char siew, wonton dumplings, and Chinese broccoli atop egg noodles, mì hoành thánh makes a light, belly-warming dish at any time of the day.

The noodles are springy and soft, while the wonton pieces stuffed with shrimp and minced pork burst with moisture and are full of bite. 

From street eateries to fine-dining Chinese restaurants, you can find this comfort classic at any corner in District 5, District 6, and District 11.

Price range: VND45,000-VND80,000 (~USD1.96-USD3.49)
You can find this dish here:

  • 409/26 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 3 District 5
  • Laikee, 69 Ngô Quyền, Ward 11, District 5
  • Quán 498, 498 Lạc Long Quân, Ward 5, District 11
  • Mì Sủi Cảo Xá Xíu, 534 Phan Văn Trị, Ward 7, District 5
  • 98 Chợ Lớn, Ward 11, District 6

4. Har gow – há cảo



Image credit: @luckycamle

Há cảo (har gow), commonly referred to as dumplings, are among the most popular Cantonese dimsum dishes in the world and the most budget-friendly crowd-pleasing classics in Saigon. 

In Chợ Lớn, you’ll find plenty of variants of this dish, from deep-fried dumplings served with Chinese mustard for a mind-numbing appetizer to steamed dumplings to go with wonton noodles.

Tender and juicy, these dumplings usually have fresh shrimps and pork fillings stuffed inside transparent and silky smooth wrappers. 

Price range: VND35,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.52-USD3.05)
You can find this dish here:

  • Há Cảo Phánh (opposite 013 Lot C, Xóm Cải Apartment Block), Ward 8, District 5
  • Há Cảo Bàn Cờ, 86 Ký Hòa, Ward 11, District 5
  • Hải Thanh – Há cảo & Xíu mại, 167 Bùi Hữu Nghĩa, Ward 7, District 5
  • Thiên Thiên, 197 Hà Tôn Quyền, Ward 4, District 11
  • Sủi Cảo Ngọc Ý, 187 Hà Tôn Quyền, Ward 4, District 11
  • Sủi Cảo 162 , 162 Hà Tôn Quyền, Ward 4, District 11

Lunch



5. Stuffed bitter melon and chilli pepper – khổ qua cà ớt



Image credit: VnExpress

A meaty and healthy Hakka-Chinese dish, khổ qua cà ớt boasts a sharply flavored combination of bitter melon and chilli peppers stuffed with fish paste or minced pork. 

A myriad of toppings such as pork skin, tofu, and green onions are tossed in to accent the overall flavor. Chilli seeds are removed from chilli peppers before minced fish or pork are placed inside.

Khổ qua cà ớt can be eaten as a dry dish with a sauce or a soup dish, paired with rice or bánh mì.

Price range: VND25,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.61)
You can find this dish here:

  • Chợ Phùng Hưng, 214 Phùng Hưng, Ward 14, District 5
  • 123 – 125 Châu Văn Liêm, Ward 14, District 5
  • 216 Trần Hưng Đạo B, Ward 10, District 5
  • Bảo Ký, 261 Xóm Đất, Ward 9, District 11
  • Khổ Qua Cà Ớt Chú Ba, 22 Dương Đình Nghệ, Ward 8, District 11

6. Garlic chive dumpling – bánh Hẹ



Image credit: @ellistzhang

Bánh Hẹ, or scallion pancake, is a classic Chinese street food made from a mixture of whipped eggs, a generous amount of scallions, and mung beans wrapped inside thinly rolled dough. For a crunchy and firm bite, the batter is often pan-fried till its edges crisp up. 

When being served, a spoon of homemade sauce is poured over the pancake so each mouthful is flavorful.  

Price range: VND5,000-VND10,000 (~USD0.22-USD0.44)
You can find this dish here:

  • 294 Trần Hưng Đạo, Ward 10, District 5
  • 36 Nguyễn Trãi, Phạm Ngũ Lão Ward, District 5
  • Across 710 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 11, District 5

7. Sauteed kway teow with deer meat – hủ tiếu sa tế nai



Image credit: @litisally

Brought to Saigon by the Teochew people in the 19th century, hủ tiếu sa tế nai has become a must-try soup dish whenever one visits the Chợ Lớn area. There are over 30 different condiments used for just one dish. 

For a milky broth with a starchy texture, coconut milk is an unskippable ingredient for the base soup. A pinch of shacha sauce, peanuts, scallions, lemongrass, and other medicinal herbs are deftly added to create a flavorful combination. 

The star of the dish must be the well-marinated deer meat, which is cooked till rare to preserve its moist and natural sweetness. 

Price range: VND45,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.96-USD3.05)
You can find this dish here:

  • Hủ tiếu Tô Ký, 36 Gò Công, Ward 13, District 5
  • Lâm Phát Ký, 311 Lê Quang Sung, Ward 6, District 6

8. Kungfu noodles – mì kéo sợi



Image credit: Vee Huỳnh

There’s a good reason why mì kéo sợi is fondly nicknamed kung fu noodles. When making this dish, a cook has to pull and stretch a chunk of dough until it becomes bouncy strings of noodles in a fast-paced and forceful manner that is reminiscent of kung fu. In fine-dining restaurants, you can have a cook perform noodle-making kung fu at your table. 

The dough used for the noodles is made from a mixture of egg yolk and flour for a springy texture and mildly sweet taste. You can have your noodles with dumplings, char siew, beef, or Chinese kale.

Price range: VND25,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.61)
You can find this dish here:

  • Mì Kéo Hải Ký, 116-118 Hà Tôn Quyền, Ward 4, District 11
  • Mì Lộc Ký, 311 Bãi Sậy, Ward 8, District 6

Dinner



9. Teochew porridge – cháo Tiều



Image credit: @thichanthichuong

Cháo Tiều, a Teochew cuisine, consists of savory fillings such as braised pickles, pork intestines, and eggplants served atop rice porridge. In Chợ Lớn, this dish is often served with crunchy, lightly salted Chinese crullers on the side.

You can opt to have all the fillings placed in a bowl separate from the porridge, or have them all in one bowl so the ingredients can interweave for a complex flavor. 

Price range: VND35,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.52-USD3.05)
You can find this dish here:

  • Cơm Cháo Triều Châu 63, 663 Hồng Bàng, Ward 6, District 6
  • Cơm Cháo Triều Châu, 450 Hồng Bàng, Ward 6, District 6
  • Quán Cơm Triều Châu, 243 Tân Thành, Ward 15, District 5
  • Cháo Tiều Cô Phương, 108 Ngọc Hân Công Chúa, Ward 13, District 11

10. Fish ball curry – cá viên cà ri



Image credit: @nhathoa.do

Cá viên cà ri, a Cantonese classic, showcases meaty fish balls swimming around in heated trays of rich curry sauce bursting with the aroma of coconut milk. 

With a generous drizzle of spicy curry and savory spices, this dish makes a flavorful brunch or dinner to wake up to. You can have this dish with some scoops of rice or noodles to balance the curry’s strong taste.    

Price range: VND15,000-VND25,000 (~USD0.65-USD1.09)
You can find this dish here:

  • 98B Hải Thượng Lãn Ông, Ward 10, District 5
  • 436 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 8, District 5
  • 5/44 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 7, District 5
  • Lê Gia – Hongkong Street Food, 623 – 625 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 11, District 5
  • 418 Lane Trần Phú, Ward 7, District 5 
  • Tiệm Mỳ Anh Hùng, Nguyễn Trãi – Trần Phú intersection, Ward 7, District 5

11. Roasted duck – vịt quay



Image credit: @vits2chunji

Vịt quay, or roasted duck, a classic feasting option, is usually sold in a half or whole portion. 

Known to be marinated and cooked according to traditional Chinese recipes, Chợ Lớn’s fattened duck dishes are usually dolloped with classic spices such as five-spice powder, runny syrup, maltose, and soy sauce. 

A bowl of homemade sauce made of plum jam, chutney, and hoisin sauce makes a mouthwatering accompaniment to the dish. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, this dish makes for a sumptuous dinner.  

Roasted ducks are usually served with white rice, and a plate of Mandarin pancakes are served upon request. 

Price range: VND250,000-VND550,000 per kilogram (VND10.89-USD23.97)
You can find this dish here:

  • Sài gòn 938, 938 Trần Hưng Đạo, Ward 7, District 5
  • 877-879 Trần Hưng Đạo, Ward 1, District 5
  • Trần Quang Ký Restaurant, 390 Trần Phú , Ward 7, District 5
  • Vịt Quay Phát Thành Restaurant, 132 Bùi Hữu Nghĩa, Ward 7, District 5
  • Royal Garden Restaurant, Level 6 Parkson Hùng Vương,126 Hồng Bàng, Ward 12, District 5
  • Vịt Quay Vĩnh Phong, 523-525-527 Phan Văn Trị, Ward 7, District 5
  • Vịt Quay Phát Đạt, 922 Võ Văn Kiệt, Ward 5, District 5

12. Oysters omelette – hàu chiên trứng



Image credit: @hangmoon.09

Tasty and unique, hàu chiên trứng, an oyster dish of Hokkien and Teochew origins, is an ideal weeknight dinner for seafood lovers. 

Small ocean-fresh oysters, the main fillings of the dish, are mixed with egg yolks, thinly diced scallions, soy sauce, and pork lard for a rich flavor. The batter is then added with starch for a thick consistency, and fried in an oiled pan for an appetizing blend of crisp.

Price range: VND45,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.96-USD2.61)
You can find this dish here:

  • 128 đường Phùng Hưng, Ward 13, District 5
  • Lâm Phát Ký, 311 Lê Quang Sung, Ward 6, District 6

13. Herbal noodle soup of stew fried duck – mì vịt tiềm



Image credit: @mightyinthemitten

Featuring thinly sliced duck meat, medical herbs, and chilli peppers in flavoursome broth cooked with pork bones, mì vịt tìềm is an ambrosial and healthy dinner treat. 

To get rid of the bad odor, duck flesh is thoroughly cleansed and marinated with wine, ginger, soy sauce, and ground pepper. Then, it is braised with medicinal herbs such as dioscorea hamiltonii, poor man’s ginseng, anise, cinnamon, shiitake, fresh longans and licorice for an extra depth to its flavor. 

When being served, the duck flesh is placed atop a base of egg noodles, then topped with kale or brocoli, and scallions. 

Price range: VND60,000-VND180,000 (~USD2.61-USD7.84)
You can find this dish here:

  • Mì vịt tiềm Yau Chan, 398 Trần Phú, Ward 7, District 5
  • 409/12 Nguyễn Trãi, Phạm Ngũ Lão Ward, District 5
  • Huê Ký Mì Gia, 59C Thuận Kiều, Ward 12, District 5
  • Thiêm Huy Mì Gia, 455 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 7, District 5
  • Vit Tiềm Hải Ký, 349 – 351 Nguyễn Trãi, Ward 7, District 5

Supper



14. Egg chestnut dessert soup – chè củ năng



Image credit: Tú Phó

A simple-looking yet vitamin-packed dish, chè củ năng consists of crushed chestnuts, sugar, and cooked egg whites. Lotus seeds and other dried fruits are often served atop the dish for an extra burst of flavor and aroma.

According to most traditional dessert vendors, this dessert is best served hot. 

Price range: VND15,000-VND35,000 (~USD0.70-USD1.52)
You can find this dish here:

  • Chè Cột Điện, 476 Trần Hưng Đạo, District 5
  • Chè Hà Ký, 138 Châu Văn Liêm, Ward 11, District 5
  • 186 Ngọc Hân Công Chúa, Ward 12, District 11

15. Black sesame sweet soup – chè mè đen


Image credit: @huonggggg1102

A highly popular dessert in Chợ Lớn during winter, chè mè đen is normally served hot. It takes the form of thickened sweet soup, made from a mixture of roasted black sesame seeds, soaked sticky rice, and a decent amount of condensed coconut milk for extra starchiness. 

Sprinkled with shredded coconuts, thinly sliced ginger, and peat nuts on top, this dish boasts a silky smooth texture and aromatic flavor. 

Price range: VND15,000-VND35,000 (~USD0.65-USD1.52)
You can find this dish here:

  • Chè Tường Phong, 83 An Điềm, Ward 10, District 5
  • Chè Hà Ký, 138 Châu Văn Liêm, Ward 11, District 5 
  • Chè Mè Phủ, 149 Nguyễn Thái Bình, Nguyễn Thái Bình Ward, District 1

16. Boiled chicken egg and black tea – chè hột gà


Image credit: @evelyn.gnouf

Featuring a unique combination of boiled eggs, tropical fruits, beans, and vegetables, chè hột gà is known to clear lung heat and relieve liver dampness according to Eastern medicine beliefs. It can be served hot or with ice.

The star of the desert is its egg, which is boiled in red or oolong tea until its white turns brown and the egg has a buttery and slightly bitter taste to it. 

Price range: VND25,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.18)
You can find this dish here:

  • Chè Hà Ký, 138 Châu Văn Liêm, Ward 11, District 5
  • Chè Cột Điện, 476 Trần Hưng Đạo, Ward 14, District 5
  • Chè Tường Phong, 83 An Điềm, Ward 10, District 5

17. Buddha Jumps Over The Wall – Phật Nhảy Tường



Image credit: @baoluk

Phật Nhảy Tường is probably the most meticulously cooked and costly dessert you can find in the entire city. 

As simple-looking as this iconic Fujian dessert is, it is packed with nutritious and expensive ingredients such as abalones, scallops, fish maws, pork tendon, bamboo shoots, mushrooms,  ginseng, and taro.

For a complex flavor, all of the ingredients go through different and complicated stages of cooking, from pan-frying and marinating to stewing. This dish is ideal for supper as it is known to help diners warm up the body and fend off the cold. 

Price range: VND128,000-VND680,000 (~USD5.58-USD29.63)
You can find this dish here:

  • Yu Shang Lou Restaurant, Level 1, 975 Trần Hưng Đạo, District 5
  • Baoz Dimsum, 88 Nguyễn Tri Phương, Ward 7, District 5
  • Dim Tu Tac, 29B Trần Hưng Đạo, Ward 6, District 5
  • Shang Garden, 1A Tôn Thất Tùng, Phạm Ngũ Lão Ward, District 1

Embark on the food trail of Chợ Lớn with classic Chinese foods


When Chinese refugees came to Chợ Lớn, commonly referred to as Saigon’s Chinatown, over 200 years ago, not only did they bring their traditions and culture, but they also brought with them countless delectable and unique cuisines. Overtime, these dishes have been modified with a Vietnamese twist to suit local tastes.

Now that you’ve got a good idea of what to expect when venturing into Chợ Lớn, we strongly recommend you to look into Hanoi’s food culture to further your exploration of Vietnamese food scene.

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from: @mightyinthemitten, Mì Gà Ngũ Long, and @win_00

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