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If you are planning a trip to Ho Chi Minh City (still commonly referred to as Saigon by locals and tourists alike) your taste buds are truly in luck. People around the world are increasingly savoring Vietnamese cuisine, delighted by its delicate balance of sweet, salty, savory and sour. While the different regions of the country have delicious, unique and tantalizing local specialities, Saigon’s food is some of the best in the world. foods you should eat in saigon
Here are our top five suggestions for delicious foods that you should eat while you are in Saigon!
- Pho (Beef noodle soup)– Undoubtedly the one dish that most foreigners associate with Vietnamese food, pho is practically a religion to the people who love to slurp this noodle soup. A gorgeous beef bone broth filled with rice noodles, rare steak, tripe, tendon and other meaty bits, studded through and through with bean sprouts, fragrant basil, mint and chillies. Every region of the country has their own special pho (a dish that originates in the North), but the Saigonese will swear that theirs is the best.Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, head to Pho Bo Vien Thap Cam for a delicious hearty bowl served in an authentic street food atmosphere. Fancy something more famous? Try Pho 2000, located near Ben Thanh Market – this is where Bill Clinton tried his first bowl of pho back in the year 2000!
- Banh Mi (French bread sandwiches) – Another dish famous around the world, Banh Mi translates directly to “French Bread.” These sandwiches became popular during the period of French rule in Vietnam, with local French expats demanding the crusty white baguettes that they were used to at home.
Local Vietnamese people began experimenting with charcuterie and bread, and created their own mixture of rich pate, luncheon meat slices, pickled carrots and radish and fresh herbs. The result? A bold, decadent and addictive sandwich. Visit Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa for the best in Saigon.
- Bun Rieu (Crab Stock Noodle Soup) – You could be forgiven for thinking that pho was the only noodle soup game in town, as it is so famous abroad – but you would be wrong. There is an entire world of delicious noodle soups in Vietnam, and a personal favourite in Saigon is Bun Rieu. With a broth made from savoury crab meat and shells, tomatoes and rice vinegar, the dish is slightly sweet and beautifully tart. Bun noodles are rounder and thicker than pho noodles, and in Bun Rieu they are pared with golden fried tofu, spiced meatballs, chunks of pork, cubes of congealed pig’s blood, and a hefty serve of crab meat. For some of the best in the city, head to 47 Quan at 90 Dien Bien Phu Street.
- Bun Thit Nuong (Pork Noodle Salad) – One of things that Vietnamese food is best known for is its pairing of various different flavours and textures into one dish – and bun thit nuong demonstrates this perfectly. A cold bowl of vermicelli rice noodles are combined with lettuce, fresh herbs and skewers of juicy grilled pork, and then topped with fish sauce, chives and pickles. If you are lucky enough to be offered bun thit nuong cha gio (the same above, but with added fried spring rolls) go for it! The additional crunchy texture kicks this dish up into the stratosphere.
- Banh Cuon (Steamed Crepes) – Although Banh Cuon originally comes from the North of Vietnam, it is increasingly popular in Saigon. The term directly translates to rice cakes, but they are a lot more like steamed rice and tapioca flour crepes, a sort of noodle wrapped role filled with delicious savoury flavours. Often featuring minced pork, dried shrimp, mushrooms and tofu, they are served with lettuce and beansprouts, banh cuon are dipped in nuoc cham, the sweet fish sauce a chilli dip beloved by all in the country.
By sampling the items on this list you will truly be experiencing the best that Saigon has to offer. Bon Appetite!