I’ve recently (just very recently) came back from a 4 days 3 nights trip in Saigon city (Ho Chi Minh). My only objective (aside being the first time traveling to the country) is food hunting. Many people who have been there said that their food is good, so we set out for a Vietnam food adventure. I’m never really a big fan for Vietnamese food because I’ve been lied to all my life in Kuala Lumpur’ Vietnamese restaurants. To date there’s still not one good Vietnamese food I’ve eaten in KL city. So, Vietnamese cuisine never really crossed my mind, nor I’m motivated to even travel there, except this one time when I was in Melbourne city. OMG, the first super good yummy Pho I’ve ever had. LOL. And then after that, I couldn’t stop day dreaming about Vietnamese beef noodles, I even craved for it so much that I got lied to again in KL restaurants, wanted to so bad to just take trip to Melbourne.
Traveling to Saigon, it’s like Pho dream came true. *Yay* On my literally food tasting and eating trip, here are my top 5 BEST Vietnamese food. If you think you have a tastebud like me, then this is MUST TRY OK!
TOP 5: Charcoal grilled (or BBQ) Octopus.
I came across this reading blogs over blogs on best Saigon streets for food. And happen to find this blog, (Vietnamcoracle) which writes a good amount of food varieties in the city. After much flipping through pages, we decided to make our trip to Van Kiep streets. We Grab Car there for about 45,000VND to 230 Van Kiep, a street said to be specializing in grilled octopus. Our drive stopped us somewhere in the middle, and it wasn’t as happening as I expected because the season was pretty rainy. So we walked for a bit and then we found this small little place that happen to have many Vietnamese sitting on tiny stools and tables drinking beer and eating BBQ’ed stuff on the sidewalk. We said to ourselves, this must be popular since there’s many locals. LOL. We don’t know how to order, so we point fingers at the Octopus. The spicy, marinated octopus is grilled over a coal barbecue served with special green spicy sour sauce. Supeeeeeeeer tasty! Not sure how much the grilled octopus cost, but our total bill came to be 110,000VND.
TOP 4: Banh mi Op La
Banh mi is a Vietnamese bread (like subway in Vietnam style). But Op La, not too sure what it means exactly is where they served sunny side eggs, sausages and ham … etc separately in a hot pan. Then with a small plate to pate as a side and another plate of bread. The best thing about this particular op la, is that they originally made their own pate recipe and mayonnaise too. So it’s really delicious and very local too!
This small little corner stall, Hoa Ma is breakfast spot for many locals at 53, Cao Thang in District 3. A stall run by a family busy packing and serving their customers (mostly locals) their different types of banh mi. And we took a seat close to the side of the stop and experienced motorist stopping by (like mcd drive thru) ordering their take away banh mi. They opened at around 6am and closes once everything is sold out – some blogs mentioned as early as 10am! So if you want to try out, make sure you wake up early enough to reach there.
TOP 3: Vietnamese Pho (Raw Beef Noodle)
Surprised this falls under top 3? Well, yes continue to read on what’s my top 2 list in a bit more. Meantime, let me explain particularly only this shop’s pho is among the best of all the pho I ate everyday and got me craving for more even on my last hours in Vietnam.
Pho Hoa at 260 Pasteur road, is considered traveler’s place. The price of the pho is slightly hire that the other pho places nearby. This stall have english menu, and the price stated there so you can understand.
You’ve gotta taste a few pho to know that this place makes good soup base that you’ll end up coming again. LOL.
TOP 2: Charcoal grilled pork chop with broken rice (Com Tam Ba Ghien)
I don’t exactly have words to describe this dish. It’s really so tasty and it feels like all your favorite food in the world combined. It’s grilled pork chop is so tender mixed with the broken rice with spring onion sprinkled on top, … ummmm.. is just so good! That I forgot to even snap any pictures of the place.
The Com Tam is found in 352 Chu Văn An, Bình Thạnh District, which is quite far of a travel from District 1 (where our hotel is). We came across this while reading some few travel blogs, talking about this type of must try dish when in Saigon. True to their word, is really good. Very popular among the locals, while they were grilling the meat, you can already smell it from 100m away.. just follow the scent *grins*
TOP 1: Bun Cha
I think if I’m not mistaken, this is called Bun Cha. I’m not so sure, for at least this was what I googled, but then when I ordered the same thing from another place (by just pointing on the menu word) I got another type of dish. LOL.
Anyway, back to this. You’ll noticed as the food goes tastier and tastier, i have less and less word for description. This cold rice noodle, dipped into the sweet sauce with mince pork ball wrapped with lettuce and shoved it into your mouth… the feeling is just heavenly.
Where can you get this?
145 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam
Unfortunately, we want to eat it on the last day when we’re flying home as lunch, but they were closed … I was so sad. We went back feeling frustrated and I am still craving for this. This would be the only dish, that’ll make me fly back to HCM, just for a day trip to get it!
And there goes my list! Try it if you’re going for a city sight seeing in Saigon. Have fun 🙂
I have also written a blog post on ‘What I should know when visiting Saigon’. Click here to read it.