Eat & Drink like the locals, Ho Chi Minh City

4.5 out of 5 stars 78 Reviews

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  • my favorite longkong variety of lansium fruit
    my favorite longkong variety of lansium...
    by machomikemd
  • available at local restos too
    available at local restos too
    by machomikemd
  • more tea
    more tea
    by machomikemd
  • Fondest_Memories's Profile Photo

    Great food are found everywhere in the city: Great food at dirt cheap prices

    by Fondest_Memories Updated Mar 10, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are no shortage of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city. If you are the type that would eat anything that doesn't kill you. Then you'll enjoy many of the casual restaurant in the city. Personally, I would prefer the food from a casaul restaurant than those big luxurious ones, and more casual are more pleasant for your wallet. You can find cusual restaurants anywhere in the city. Although, it's a lot easier to find a good restaurant with a local, it's not necessary. All you have to do is take a walk down the street and you are bound to find a restaurant. Most dishes in Vietnam range from 15,000-30,000VND which equate to about $1-2USD.

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    Son Dong: Street Food at Ben Thanh Market

    by hoz Written Mar 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Every evening street restaurants spring up outside Ben Thanh Market. Starting at 5pm they erect tent tops and start heating the grills and woks. In no time the streets are alive with the aroma of fresh Viet cooking. We ordered more than the four of us could eat for under $6.00 US. Everything from Pho to grilled ribs is available. Don't be afraid to enjoy yourself. I am a renal transplant patient and must be very careful about food yet I felt perfectly safe eating here. And it's a welcome refuge from the chaos in the streets!

    Favorite Dish: I liked the crispy fried noodles with beef.

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  • walterwu's Profile Photo

    Want Really Cheap Local Food?

    by walterwu Written Jan 15, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Locals sitting on low chairs
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    We walked around the vicinity of our Windsor Plaza Hotel and chance upon these locals sitting on these small/low chairs at street stalls enjoying their meals.

    As we don't speak a single word of Vietnamese, we weren't able to ask them the price or anything at all.

    But I reckon the price should be at least 1/3 of that in air-con food outlets within malls.

    Favorite Dish: Didn't get a chance to try the Vietnamese beef noodle at this place but managed to do so in the hotel's cafe during buffet breakfast.

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  • ja3ja3's Profile Photo

    Tu Tri: Local Vietnamese Food along the Saigon River

    by ja3ja3 Updated Mar 20, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tu Tri Restaurant along the Saigon River
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    Last night the Saigon sky offered a beautiful celestial trio – the moon, Venus, and Jupiter – all within reaching distance from one another. In the city lights, all other heavenly objects were obscured and these three bright bodies had the entire sky to themselves. A balmy breeze and celestial show! What a great way to start the evening on the back of our motorbike on the way to dinner.

    Such a beautiful night deserved a special dinner.

    A bit of a drive – but not too far, we headed off to Binh Thanh district to enjoy a special meal at Tư Trì. Special for several reasons. First, the food here is priced at not typical Saigon prices (usually about 50,000 vnd – $2.50/person) – we’d end up with a bill of 440,00 vnd for 2 ($10 usd/person) – but still affordable . Secondly, we wouldn’t be enjoying classic Saigon Street Food in an alley or busy city boulevard, nor a standard Saigon restaurant. Instead, we’d sit at our table beside the Saigon River! Very nice! And finally, our food itself would be quite special. Main course - vú dê nướng (BBQ goat udder). What!?

    I admit, I was mildly uncertain when Hai made the selection. But he assured me I’d love it. And he was correct.

    After offering us a small bag of both cashew nuts and peanuts with our Saigon Beer Đỏ (red label), the waiter set up a small wood-charcoal stove topped with domed grill in the center of our table. He proceeded to lay out slices of marinated goat udder over the coals along with slices of okra and eggplant.

    Hai, as usual, immediately took over the chef duties and attended to the grilling, continuously turning each udder and vegetable segment.

    I, as usual, began sampling the other food on the table. Enjoying the beer (of course, served in Vietnam with large ice cubes in each glass); sampling the nuts; and tasting the stir-fried vegetable, hoa tiên lý, that arrived at the table.

    Hoa tiên lý, a vegetable I’ve never encountered in the US, but always order here in Vietnam when it’s available. Bright green colored, tenderly crunchy, and chuc-full of tiny moist flowers buds. Sauteed in garlic, let’s just say, life was good on the Saigon river bank!

    “Ăn đí” (the eating command), Hai instructed.

    Time for the BBQ’d goat udder.

    A texture and flavor “bomb” (as in explosion, not failure)! Squid-like in its chewy texture, but more tenderly meaty. Seared on the outside and moist on the inside. Good job Hai! We wrapped the udder, the okra and eggplant, a few leaves of Vietnamese herbs, and a slice of quả khế (unripened star fruit) in a sheet of rice paper and dipped the entire food assembly into a never-before-encountered-by-me sauce, chao. The charcoal flavor of the udder, okra and eggplant, dipped in the chao was remarkably delicious.

    Chao is a southern Vietnam specialty (I plan to do more research here) - a blended tofu base, a fermented tangy accent, and a chili-pepper kick. I hit bottom on this dipping sauce before the grilled items were all devoured. So indulgently, I ordered more. A large circular, plate-sized rice cracker, bánh đa, served as the meal’s “bread”.

    I was already a happy camper when the final dish, gà nướng (BBQ chicken), arrived.

    A small bird – seems this chicken was more or less pigeon-sized. It was chopped into segments of unidentifiable chicken parts. Cleverly cut so that every piece had the maximum number of chicken bones available for gnawing, chewing, and manipulating in your mouth. Again, the Vietnamese way (I hear the French way too) so that the flavor concentrated around the meat bones is available to the eater to enjoy with each and every bite. Makes sense. Just heightens the required eating alertness, and extends the total meal time. In any case, it was moist, meaty and delicious.

    A totally enjoyable and memorable meal.

    We’ll be back for sure – and very likely long before the moon, Venus, and Jupiter present their next heavenly trio show.

    Tư Trì is a sprawling restaurant complex suitable for large groups/parties in certain areas, and for romantic private dining along the river bank.

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  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Eating Street Food

    by tampa_shawn Updated Feb 24, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Eating off the street vendors is a great experience.

    Just look for a clean store and squat down and eat with the locals.

    The name of many of these places are called "stove and stool" restaurants...because that is all there is

    Look at the picture and you'll understand

    Favorite Dish: Pho is a good choice to try

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  • sweetie_inc's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Our breakfast at the hotel...

    by sweetie_inc Updated Mar 30, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Viet bread + coffee
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    I have never tasted a plain french loaf this good... So crispy on the outside and very soft in the inside.. the aroma of the bread when you pull it apart was so hhmmmmm....

    Having it every morning with Vietnamese Coffee was just so perfect...

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  • maria_hz's Profile Photo

    Pho Hoa: Noodles, noodles, noodles

    by maria_hz Written Aug 7, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yummy!
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    This noodle place is a bit off the tourist tracks, and here i had the most lovely vietnamese beef pho (noodles)! Vietnamese food is in many ways similar to Chinese, but less oily and more fresh herbs. We had some beef pho, with condiments and coconut juice straight from the nut. Wonderful!

    Sorry, since I was invited here I was not allowed to pay, so no idea what it cost but probably dirt cheap compared to Europe.

    Favorite Dish: Noodles!

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  • Mel&Mike's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Outside the Central Market

    by Mel&Mike Written Oct 29, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    HUGE PRAWN
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    Vietnam is a great place to eat cheap, good local food. You could survive on a bowl of Po with a nice cold beer and still get a balance of nutrients! Not to mention the people watching is great, although you are also on show! Take Courtney's advice and drink lots of beer - he says it helps to kill anything that maybe a little dodgy.

    Favorite Dish: Any of the po noodle dishes and the PRAWNS are spicy, lick your fingers good!

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    travelmad478's Restaurant Tip

    by travelmad478 Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite Dish: In Saigon, we had everything from incredible French pastries to a delicious clear soup with shrimp and spinach. Go figure. I wish I could remember names and locations of restaurants, but since I was there in 1996 my suggestions would probably be outdated anyway.

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  • drolkar's Profile Photo

    The Chinese district, CHOLON,...

    by drolkar Written Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Chinese district, CHOLON, is a good place to go for Chinese food.

    Favorite Dish: The omni-present Vietnamese dish is pho or noodle soup, which comes in many varieties.

    Coffee is usually served with evaporated milk and is therefore very sweet. The bread and croissants are probably the best to be found in Asia, no doubt thanks to the influence of the French !

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  • carstenj's Profile Photo

    I can't say I have a favourite...

    by carstenj Written Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I can't say I have a favourite restaurant in Saigon, home cooking is good though. In general, chinese and vietnamese cuisine is good, cheap and plentifull.
    We tried Shrimp Burgers which were not bad at all.
    Fresh Coconut juice or Sugar Cane juice made fresh as you wait. It is so good and refreshing.

    Favorite Dish: NOT is the ducks eggs. They actually contain a small duckling and this is considered a delicatesse. Yuk!

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Vietnamese Coconut w/ assorted Jelly Drink!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 14, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    many choices
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    Vietnam has many coconut inspired desserts and with assorted jellies and you can choose an endless variety while at the Benh Thanh Market or even at the roadside and sidewalk stalls where many vietnamese sell these sweet and refreshing drinks and most of them are absolutely very refreshing drink, made with coconut juice and sea grass jelly and is common in vietnam, cambodia, laos and thailand. it cost 12,000 VND to 20,000 VND at Benh Thanh Market and again is available even at the sidewalks.

    Favorite Dish: the different sweet and refreshing vietnamese drinks sold at sidewalks and the markets and restautants.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Go Hai San- Seafood Salad!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 14, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    yummy
    4 more images

    As you would have noticed, My restaurant tips are filled with assorted vietnamese food pictures since I love vietnamese food and the desserts, it has a combintation of meats, vegetables and seafood and since I have more larger 64 gigabyte memory cards at my cameras, had taken tons of photos and videos of them. Now going back to the Go Hai San.

    It is a dried rice noodle with snow crab, shrimp, scallops, and bean sprouts and is an appetizer or a snack in south vietnam. Also a must try since it is really good! price is 50,000 VND an Order and the sidewalk stalls and goes up to 12,000 VND at upscale restaurants. It could be a meal by itself since it has carbohydrates, proteins and fat all in one.

    Favorite Dish: the many kind of the go hai sain noodle

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Grilled Jumbo Tiger Prawns!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 14, 2012

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    Biggest  Prawns and tastier!
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    Jumbo Prawns are plentiful in vietnam since they have many brackishwater areas in the mekong delta and also they have many shrimp ponds around the area hence are very cheap that even the markets offeer jumbo prawns to locals at the eateries inside.

    Jumbo Prawns are very cheap in Vietnam since they are using the pacific white shrimp (penneaus vannamaei), which grows in a shorter span than the tiger prawns (penneaus monodon) hence cheaper to produce. here in Benh Thanh Market, an order of grilled jumbo prawns is about 110,000 VND ($ 5.20).

    Favorite Dish: you can find the jumbo prawns everywhere at cheap prices

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Eat & Drink like the locals: Rice Crispies in Thick Sauce with Seafood

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 14, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    wow
    4 more images

    this is another deeelicious vietnamese food! it could be a meal in itself. the seafood sauce is creamy and when you add it with the seafood and rice crispies, it result in an explosion of flavors!
    it is a very filling meal and for a glutton like me, I want more hehehehe.

    it is a combination of french and vietnamese cuisine.

    Favorite Dish: this rice crispies with seafood is a specialty of the ngoc sung marina, one of the popular seafood restaurants in district 3 of saigon.

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