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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is jam-packed with eateries dishing out the country’s delicious cuisine. From market halls to upscale establishments, there is no shortage of places to eat in HCMC. During our trip, we were determined to try the absolute best Saigon food – and with that in mind, we discovered top Ho Chi Minh restaurants. Fellow travelers can follow in our footsteps to taste some of the most enticing food in the city.
Saigon Food: What To Eat in Ho Chi Minh City
Well known as a foodie haven, Ho Chi Minh City cuisine is exquisite. Utilizing an intriguing blend of local ingredients, Ho Chi Minh food has impeccable flavor. Menus feature iconic Vietnamese dishes and local specialties. In many cases, Saigon street eats are on par – or even better – than food served at extravagant Ho Chi Minh City restaurants – so we include both street stalls and sit-down restaurants on our list of the best places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
When we were seeking out the best restaurants in Saigon, we used tips from fellow travelers and insider advice from local residents. Using these recommendations for Ho Chi Minh City Best Restaurants, we gorged on some of the best food in Saigon. Because there are so many choices, we limited our exploration of where to eat in Saigon to District 1 – which is home to numerous top restaurants.
Ho Chi Minh Restaurants: Where To Eat in Ho Chi Minh District 1
Our list features some of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh District 1. For each of our recommended Ho Chi Minh restaurants, we provide a brief description of the establishment, what we ate and a link to Google Maps so that other travelers can easily find it. At the end of the post, you will find a Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Map with all of our recommended HCMC restaurants.
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Banh Mi Huynh Hoa: Best Banh Mi in Vietnam
MAP. We begin our list of Top Restaurants in Saigon with Banh Mi Huynh Hoa, a small shop on a relatively quiet street that cranks out the best – and we mean the best – Banh Mi sandwiches. A must-eat in Ho Chi Minh City, the Banh Mi at Huynh Hoa are stuffed with cured meats, a heaping smear of pate and a variety of veggies – and the taste is out of this world. With warm, crispy bread and the perfect balance of flavorful fillings, Huynh Hoa makes an unforgettable Banh Mi.
We arrived right when they opened (at 2:30 in the afternoon) and encountered an already long queue. The line moved fast though – patrons only need to indicate how many Banh Mi sandwiches they want and whether they want it spicy or not spicy. The sandwiches are more expensive than other Banh Mi vendors – but absolutely worth it for the size and taste. We paid 42k VND (about $1.75 USD) for each of our sandwiches.
Ben Thanh Street Food Ho Chi Minh City Market: Saigon Street Food
MAP. Featuring some of the best street food in Ho Chi Minh City under one roof, Ben Thanh Street Food Market is an ideal place to get an introduction to a variety of local dishes. Packed with vendor stalls and long shared tables, it is one of the fun places to eat in Saigon. Visitors can freely peruse the fare on offer; after ordering the food is delivered to the table when it is ready.
We sampled several different dishes from the vendors at Ben Thanh Street Food Market. One of the dishes we most enjoyed was the platter of Banh Can mini savory pancakes from the Hello Sapa food stall. The rice flour cakes are baked in an iron skillet and each one is filled with either pork, shrimp, octopus or eggs.
Pro Tip: The Ben Thanh Street Food Market is a good place for visitors to get a first taste of HCMC Street Food. That said, the prices are higher than at other street food markets in Saigon; our set of 8 pancakes, while a filling meal, cost 90k VND ($4 USD). While it is easy to find cheaper eats in other Ho Chi Minh City markets, we like Ben Thanh Street Food Market because of the friendly vendors, clean bathrooms and jovial atmosphere.
Den Long Home Cooked Restaurant Ho Chi Minh City
MAP. Eating a meal at Den Long Home Cooked Restaurant is an exceptional culinary experience. With stylish decor and exemplary waitstaff, the classy restaurant serves well-presented dishes that are suitable for sharing family-style. Hailed by many as the best Vietnamese restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, we were eager to try it and made reservations (via Facebook) to ensure we got a seat.
Warmly welcomed and immediately seated, the waiter patiently explained the menu, inquired about our food preferences and made recommendations. Based on the waiter’s endorsement, we ordered Ga Ro Ti (caramelized chicken), the signature Com Trai Dua (house special coconut rice) and lightly fried crispy rolls. Each dish was absolutely spectacular – and our most memorable dinner in Ho Chi Minh City.
Bun Cha 145 HCMC Restaurant
MAP. Bun Cha, a Hanoi food specialty, is one of our favorite things to eat in Vietnam – and Bun Cha 145 makes the dish perfectly! Crispy char-grilled pieces of pork and delicious meatballs are served in sweet and sour broth with a side of rice noodles, fresh herbs, minced garlic and chopped chili. Patrons at Bun Cha 145 are encouraged to enhance the meal as desired – and the restaurant provides helpful consumption tips for first timers. A side of crispy rolls are a common accompaniment and should be dipped into the broth and eaten along with the meat and noodles.
Being a small restaurant, Bun Cha 145 is almost always busy; however, we timed our visit before the dinner crowds and did not have to wait for a table. The menu only has a few options – but we were only interested in the first two: Bun Cha and Nem Ran (fried spring roll). After filling out our order slip, our food was delivered quickly…and we feasted!
Banh Xeo 46A: Best Banh Xeo Ho Chi Minh City
MAP. The first time I ate Banh Xeo was at a Hanoi Cooking Class – and it instantly became one of my favorites in Vietnamese cuisine. The sizzling pancake is stuffed with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and scallions. To eat it, diners break the pancake into pieces then roll a piece into rice paper along with lettuce, mint and Thai basil and dip it into sauce before consuming. When we started researching places to eat in Saigon, Banh Xeo 46A came onto our radar. It is often touted as one of the best restaurants in HCMC for Banh Xeo crispy pancakes – in fact, even the late Anthony Bourdain has eaten at the establishment.
As one of the famous restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Banh Xeo 46A was already crowded when we arrived for lunch (mostly with tourists, as has been the trend since Bourdain’s visit). However, the accommodating staff were able to squeeze us into seats at an outdoor table. The menu features several local dishes – but we didn’t even look beyond the first menu item: Banh Xeo.
The giant sizzling pancakes are cooked in a skillet in the outdoor kitchen – and each one is so large that it hangs off the edge of the plate. Seeing the massive size, we ordered just one to share. Similar in style to the Banh Xeo that we ate in one of our favorite restaurants in Da Nang, at Banh Xeo 46A, the inside is still a little gooey and lettuce leaves are used in place of rice paper to roll up the pancake pieces. I was hesitant about the variations, but one bite confirmed the reason for the restaurant’s fame as it is undeniably delicious!
Banh Mi 37: Ho Chi Minh Street Food
MAP. A Banh Mi is usually a pretty good bet for cheap eats in Ho Chi Minh City – and there are street food carts all over the city making the famous Vietnamese sandwiches. However, on our mission to seek out the best food in Ho Chi Minh City, we found our way to the Banh Mi 37 cart. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t too difficult to find – the cart is located on the same alley where we were staying. (That said, we would have made an effort to find this cart even if we were staying on the other side of the city!)
Unlike most Banh Mi carts that use cured meats, Banh Mi 37 char-grills lemongrass pork patties to fill their sandwiches. The barbecued meat combined with vegetables, herbs and a spicy sauce make it a far superior sandwich. The sizzling scent wafts down the street and entices hungry patrons to line up – sometimes with wait times up to 30 minutes – for a taste. And, with a price of just 20k VND (less than $1 USD) per sandwich, we can confidently say it is some of the best street food in Ho Chi Minh City. Want it without the spiciness? Just ask! The sandwich is just as good without the hot sauce!
Pho Quynh: Best Pho in Ho Chi Minh
MAP. Just like the rest of the country, Pho is one of the top things to eat in Ho Chi Minh City. While the iconic soup is available in numerous eateries, Pho Quynh was recommended to us by locals as one of the must-eat restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City for a bowl of steaming Pho.
Located on a busy corner, the 2-story Pho Quynh packs in hungry patrons 24 hours a day. They serve several variations of Pho with heaping portions of fresh herbs and other accompaniments (like bean sprouts, limes wedges, sliced peppers and hot sauce). We each ordered a bowl of traditional Beef Pho, which featured a generous portion of meat in an excellent broth.
MAP. Looking for one of the best restaurants for Vietnamese food in a lively and hip environment? Then Propaganda Bistro is a great place to get a taste of the local Saigon cuisine. With artsy communist murals, hand-crafted drinks, well-plated meals and a souvenir shop, most patrons are tourists. However, that does not detract from the phenomenal HCMC food on the menu.
As one of the top places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City, we ordered a few different items to share. While we enjoyed the Meatball Banh Mi, we thought that the fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce were outstanding in every way. The refreshing blended juices and teas are another must-try! Be aware, however, that the stylish restaurant is quite expensive for Ho Chi Minh restaurants in District 1.
4P’s Pizza: Best Pizza Ho Chi Minh City
MAP. When we were deciding where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City, we didn’t think we would end up at a pizza place. However, 4P’s Pizzeria was recommended to us as one of the top restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City – and, since we were craving a taste of Western food, we decided to give it a go. Doubtful of how good pizza could be in HCMC, we were amazed at the quality pizzas they churned out from their brick oven.
Featuring multiple locations in HCMC (and in other Vietnam cities, too!), we dined at the Ben Thanh 4Ps location. Situated in a multi-level brick warehouse, the fashionable restaurant employs a farm-to-table concept and even makes the cheese for their pizzas in-house.
A popular place for dinner in Saigon, we had to wait for a table, but were offered seats at the bar where we ordered local Saigon craft beer while we waited. The pizzas on their menu range from classic Italian pies to unique local flavors. They allow pizzas to be ordered half-and-half, so we opted for half traditional Salami and Chorizo and half locally-inspired Soy Garlic Beef. Far surpassing our expectations, we loved them both!
Cocochin Foodcourt: Refined Street Food Market Saigon
MAP. If one thing can be said about HCMC food markets it is that they are loud, messy and pungent. However, that’s not the case at Cocochin, where the clean space features an ambiance that is actually charming. Located in the Saigon House on the popular Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Cocochin Food-court provides a snazzy food market experience with numerous vendors dishing out regional eats.
We were welcomed into the food-court and presented with a plastic card that we used to tally up our food purchases. Each food stall features a menu with pictures, which helps when ordering – and being able to pay with the card made it easy to try several things from different stalls. Everything we ate was good, but the dish that stands out the most was a claypot of rice topped with a fried egg, pork ribs and vegetables.
Ho Chi Minh Restaurants Map
Use this link to Google Maps for our HCMC Restaurants Map online.
Ho Chi Minh Cafes
Ho Chi Minh City cafes are a part of the local life. Vietnamese coffee – sweetened with condensed milk – is a specialty and can be ordered hot or over ice. Highlands Coffee (the Vietnamese version of Starbucks) and Cong Ca Phe (famous for their coconut iced coffee and communist memorabilia) are two popular chain coffee shops. However, we recommend popping into any coffee shop that looks inviting while exploring the city. Pro Tip: Use our Self-Guided HCMC Walking Tour to Top Ho Chi Minh City Attractions.
Fine Dining Ho Chi Minh City
While fine dining in Saigon was not on our agenda, there are several extravagant Ho Chi Minh restaurants. A few highly-rated choices are Xu Restaurant Lounge, Stoker Woodfired Grill and La Bai Restaurant.
Looking for Craft Beer in Ho Chi Minh City? Read Our Saigon Craft Beer Guide!
Saigon Food Tour
Joining a HCMC, Vietnam Food Tour is a fabulous way to get acquainted with the local cuisine. There are several options when it comes to guided tours that feature Saigon food.
Private Food Tour Ho Chi Minh
Visitors can join a guide for a private Ho Chi Minh City food tour that features 9 food tastings and local drinks. Featuring well-known dishes and off-the-beaten-path restaurants, this tour gets excellent reviews! Find out more!
Motorbike Street food tour Ho Chi Minh
For an adventure beyond just the food, hop on a motorbike with a guide to explore the city’s top eats. On this HCMC, Vietnam street food tour, venture beyond District 1 to get a taste of authentic local fare – and even try making your own steamed rice rolls! Get the details!
Ho Chi Minh City Cooking Class
Visitors who want to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine with a hands-on experience should participate in a local Saigon cooking class. The class begins at the Ben Thanh Market, where the instructor purchases fresh ingredients that they will use to prepare the food for the class. Then, head into the kitchen with the chef to create a classic Vietnamese cuisine feast! Reserve your spot!
We Want To Know: What is your favorite Saigon food? Is there anything you would add to our list of Ho Chi Minh Restaurants in District 1? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments!
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