The best Ho Chi Minh City dishes are well regarded as nutritious, savory, and hearty delights that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Some of the defining traits in Vietnamese cuisine include rice, noodles, seafood, pork, and beef, as well as various fresh herbs and spices, all of which result in robust flavors and unique interpretations.
Although the city is evolving into a cosmopolitan landscape with sprawling shopping malls, fine-dining restaurants and luxury hotels, you can still find plenty of roadside eateries, vibrant street market, and street food carts to satisfy your appetite for authentic Vietnamese delicacies.
This is what to eat in Ho Chi Minh for a real taste of the city.
- Banh Mi:
Available almost everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City, banh mi is a quintessential Vietnamese dish that you should never miss out on. This baguette sandwich with pickled vegetables, pate, butter, soy sauce, cilantro, chilies, and hot peppers. Quick and tasty, you can also choose from a variety of meat fillings for your banh mi, including roasted pork belly, fried fish with turmeric and dill, boiled sausages, meatballs, boiled chicken, fried egg, grilled pork loin, and Chinese barbecued pork.
- Oc – Vietnamese Shellfish
Best enjoyed with cold beers, Oc refers to platters of Vietnamese shellfish that are prepared in varying methods. Due to its popularity, there are plenty of roadside stalls and inexpensive restaurants with raw snails, blood cockles, clams, shrimps, and crabs displayed out front. After selecting those that strike your fancy, you can enjoy them grilled, sautéed, curried, or steamed. We highly recommend grilled mussels with scallion oil and peanuts, blood cockles sautéed in tamarind sauce, and clams steamed with lemongrass.
- Com Tam
Com Tam is actually ‘broken rice’ in Vietnamese, usually served with a fried egg, diced green onions, and a variety of meats such as barbecued pork chop, shredded pork skin, and steamed pork and egg patty. Diners can also enjoy this dish with a side of pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, and Vietnamese dipping sauce. Com Tam can be enjoyed at any time of the day as it is relatively inexpensive, with street markets and roadside food stalls selling.
- Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Roll
Goi Cuon or Vietnamese spring rolls comprise vermicelli noodles, pork slices, shrimp, basil, and lettuce tightly wrapped in translucent rice papers. Due to its very subtle flavor, you can dip it in a mix of freshly ground chili and hoisin-based dipping sauce topped with crushed peanuts. This traditional appetizer is a healthier alternative, which is a deep-fried egg roll made with a combination of mung bean noodles, minced pork, and various spices.
- Pho Noodle
Pho is rice noodle that’s served in a flavourful soup with beef, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and greens such as basil, mint, cilantro, and onions with a side of chili sauce for added spice. A basic bowl contains beef slices, beef meatballs or beef flank. This popular breakfast option at any local restaurant or street market in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Banh Xeo -Crispy pancake
Ban Xeo is a savory pancake that’s made of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric, stuffed with ingredients such as pork slices, shrimps, sliced onions, bean sprouts, and button mushrooms. Unlike the ones you find in Nha Trang and Hanoi, ban xeo in Ho Chi Minh City is much smaller in portion as it is usually eaten as a snack or appetizer. The best way to enjoy Banh Xeo is by wrapping it in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or rice wrappers, together with mint leaves, basil, herbs, and sweet fermented peanut butter sauce. Lastly, dip it in a sweet and sour fish sauce.
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