Known for her rich history, friendly town folks and incredibly cheap and delectable eats, Ho Chi Minh City is the best place for foodies to embark on an all-you-can-eat extravaganza.
Sure we all know what a good pho or banh mi should taste like, or so we believe we do. Prepare to have your perceptions completely flipped on its head. Though, it’s only fair that we warn you that having your favourite Vietnamese treats in Singapore won’t be the same anymore.
If that doesn’t deter you at all, dive into true-blue Vietnamese food starting from the back alley streets of Ho Chi Minh to some of the poshest looking bars. To help guide you along, here’s our Ho Chi Minh City District 1 food guide.
In a bustling city like Ho Chi Minh City that bustles even more at night, places to find food in the wee hours of the morning is never a difficult feat. And Pho Ha, a cosy little pho-focused eatery in District 1 just a short walk from where we stayed, proved to be a solid go-to to satiate our pho cravings from as late (or early) as 1am.
This late-night spot is a bit of an institution in Saigon. Before the arrival of Bitexco tower across the road, the street that Pho Ha sits on used to be packed with late night pho outlets serving Saigon’s later night revellers.
Having been around for the past 20 years, these folks know how to serve up a proper bowl of pho, so skip your McDonald’s and head over to Pho Ha for a delicious late-night bite instead.
Amidst all the many street food heavens we stumbled upon during our trip to Vietnam, there were many intriguing cafes and eateries—ones that actually had proper service and air-conditioning—that truly impressed us. Mâm Bac was one such eatery.
Specialising in a variety of Vietnamese dishes from the classic pho, grilled meat dishes to some pretty exotic items as well, Mâm Bac is a 2-storey eatery in Ho Chi Minh’s District 1 that is worth visiting for a pleasant introduction to local flavours in a modern and comfortable setting.
To only have a single bowl of pho during a vacation to Vietnam is a downright atrocity. The popular street food is the core staple of Vietnamese cuisine and is literally what going to Vietnam’s all about—for us anyway.
Stumbling upon a rather unassuming eatery by the street going by the name Pho Hai Trieu, we were lured in by the bold aromas of simmering meat broth and freshly stir-fried delights, as well as a team of friendly wait staff who were eager to sit us down.
Specialising in an assortment of chicken dishes, pho and hearty soups, this humble eatery may not seem like much at first, but it really does impress with its wide array of menu offerings—especially their chicken dishes.
While pho, spring rolls and banh mi are great, they aren’t all that Vietnam is good for. In fact, there is way more depth and complexity to their cuisine than just rice noodles and French baguettes.
Tucked away along a quiet street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, lies 33 De Tham Restaurant—a 3-storey seafood restaurant that simply wowed us. Specialising in zi char-style cooking, their menu boasts a wide range of delights ranging from the usual to the exotic, of which you can choose to have fried, steamed, barbecued and even as part of a hot pot.
Their range of seafood is phenomenal and not only is the quality topnotch, the price is unbelievably affordable as well—we ordered up a pretty wicked array of items and barely felt a pinch. A popular haunt among expatriates and tourists, here is why you need to dine at 33 De Tham Restaurant when in Ho Chi Minh City.
Walking down the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, one might find it a challenge to identify exactly which pho stall is truly the best especially with the sheer amount of street-side stalls, food stands and restaurants selling it.
But perhaps one of the best and most highly recommended pho places in Ho Chi Minh City to visit is Pho Phuong 25 in District 1. Having heard so much praise being sung by both locals and tourists, we did not hesitate to pay this humble corner stall a visit—we were far from disappointed.
For a truly authentic and out-of-this-world beef pho experience when in Ho Chi Minh City, you really have to drop by Pho Phuong 25.
When visiting Ho Chi Minh City, no one ever leaves without paying the acclaimed Lunch Lady a visit. This internationally-renowned street food stall—located just a few steps away from popular pho joint, Pho Phuong 25—is famous for their down-to-Earth, rustic charm and menu that rotates daily.
The stall made its mark less than a decade ago after the late, great Anthony Bourdain visited them as part of his food programme, No Reservations. Until today, Lunch Lady is still highly patronised by locals, tourists, as well as food bloggers from around the world—like us.
The humble stall is owned and run by Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh, also known as the Lunch Lady. An international street food icon, her modest stall in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is packed daily and for good reason–her food is truly out of this world. Period.