Eat like a local in Ho Chi Minh City

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Buy me a coffee

If you are a big fan of authentic Asian foods or would like to try the weirdest dishes in the world, Ho Chi Minh City is a place to be. In this city, you can always find a place to satisfy your stomach whether it’s 5 in the morning or midnight.

Summer 2018, I went back to my hometown, Ho Chi Minh City, for more than one week and I didn’t miss my chance to enjoy all the delicious foods in my wishlist. My friends also introduced me to the new trendy restaurants in town. Overall it was so amazing and I can’t wait to share with you these excellent eateries.

You may need this: Get a haircut like a local in Ho Chi Minh City

Are you ready to get on my food journey in Ho Chi Minh City? Let’s go!!!

Buffet Gánh

The first thing I did in Ho Chi Minh City was going to Buffet Gánh because I could have a variety of food choices. This restaurant belongs to a three-star hotel in the city center. It is “all-you-can-eat” and they serve a lot of traditional Vietnamese dishes with different flavors. I chose this place to eat to make sure I would not miss any tasty Vietnamese foods. My parents and my 4-year-old niece also liked Buffet Gánh because of the family-friendly atmosphere of the restaurant.

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So many traditional Vietnamese foods
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A chef will stand right there to grill the seafood for you.
  • Address: 117 Dong Khoi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Price: 259.000 VND/person (lunch), 279.000 VND/person (dinner). About $11 – $13/person
  • Open hours: 11am-2pm, 6pm-9:30pm
  • Phone number: 02838296239 (call before you come)

Bonjour Resto

I didn’t intend to eat in this restaurant but it turned out to be a great experience. I was walking around to look for another eating place, and it suddenly rained so hard. So I ran into Bonjour for a drink and waited until it stopped raining. However, their foods on the menu seemed to be so yummy and I couldn’t resist ordering a dish :p.

This restaurant’s specialty is beefsteak with more than 10 optional sauces such as creamy garlic, pepper, green peppercorn, mulberry, barbecue, red wine, etc. I ordered the beefsteak with green peppercorn sauce and it was super delicious!!! Thanks to the sudden heavy rain that brought me to this restaurant. I will definitely come back to Bonjour Resto next time when I am in Ho Chi Minh City.

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A small retro style restaurant
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My meal (food+ drink) was 159.000 VND (about $7)
  • Address: 178/8 Pasteur, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (in a small alleyway)
  • Price: 29.000 VND – 169.000 VND/dish (about $1.3 – $8)
  • Open hours: 9am-10pm

Bánh Cuốn Tây Hồ (Steamed rice paper rolls)

Bánh Cuốn is a dish to die for because of the perfect combination of the thin steamed rice batter filled with cooked seasoned minced pork, wood ear mushroom, and shallots. Several side dishes and the sweet fish sauce make Bánh Cuốn even more satisfied to look and eat. An interesting fact is the locals often eat this food for breakfast because a small dish of Bánh Cuốn can keep them full until lunch (but I love eating it any time of the day).

I like to eat Bánh Cuốn here since it locates in district 1 (city center) and their menu is very easy to order (English version included). Additionally, the staff works quickly and your dish will be ready in 2 to 5 minutes.

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Inside Bánh Cuốn Tây Hồ
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The menu in Vietnamese and English
  • Address: 127 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Price: 36.000 VND – 48.000 VND/dish (about $2)
  • Open hours: 5am-9pm

Secret Garden

A couple from England that I met in Da Lat recommended me this restaurant. After listening to their experience, I was so curious about Secret Garden and I really wanted to check it out. Finally, I made it on my last day in Ho Chi Minh City.

To be honest, the foods here were not so different from the foods my mom usually cook at home. So you will have a chance to try the home-cooked Vietnamese dishes in a real “secret garden”. The restaurant locates in a small alleyway and you have to go up to the 5th floor of an old apartment. It may be not easy to find this restaurant but it’s worth giving it a try.

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Both tourists and locals love Secret Garden
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Go to the end of this alleyway and then turn left, go up to the 5th floor
  • Address: 158 Pasteur, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Price: about 500.000 VND for a meal for 2 people (about $21)
  • Open hours: 11am-10pm

The Cajun Cua

This restaurant is famous for its crawfish and seafood. Crawfish is a well-known dish in America but it just came to Vietnam a few years ago. This was my first time trying crawfish and I was speechless because it was so yummy!!! Although I had to wait nearly one hour for the foods, I enjoyed the crawfishes, prawns, clamps so much. There are 4 types of sauces to choose to eat with the seafood in the Cajun Cua: juicy, garlic butter, cajun, and basil. I recommend you to pick the juicy sauce if you try crawfish for the first time.

One thing I didn’t really like about the Cajun Cua was the slow service. You should book a table in advance by phone to avoid waiting.

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Give it a shot if you’re a seafood lover
  • Address: 267 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Price: about 500.000 VND/person (about $21)
  • Open hours: 11am-12am
  • Phone: +84 28 6291 0697

Cơm Tấm (Saigon-style broken rice)

When I studied abroad, Cơm Tấm was the dish I missed the most. Although I have tried to cook Cơm Tấm myself a few times, I have to admit that it is the best to eat this food in a restaurant or a street food stand in Ho Chi Minh City. It is usually served with cooked broken rice, grilled pork, steamed egg, vegetables and sweet fish sauce.

The broken rice is cheap but it provides as much nutrition as the unbroken rice. The colorful dish of Cơm Tấm always brings me a happy feeling before and after eating. I can’t wait till next time I am in town to eat this food with a grin on my face:D.

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You can eat Cơm Tấm everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City, but my favorite one is Cơm Tấm Kiều Giang:

  • Address: 192E Tran Quang Khai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (or) 63 Song Hanh, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Price: 28.000 VND – 70.000 VND (about $1.2- $3)
  • Open hours: 7:30am-9pm

Bánh Mì (Vietnamese sandwich)

In Ho Chi Minh City, you will see Bánh Mì everywhere on the street because it’s actually the most common street food in Vietnam. Bánh Mì is a baguette stuffed with grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, spreadable pork liver pâté, coriander, cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon.

I love the crunchy baguette and mixed taste of the other ingredients in my mouth so much!!! During my visit to Ho Chi Minh City this time, I have eaten Bánh Mì 4 to 5 times and I wish I could eat it many more times :p. The price of this food is pretty cheap, ranging from 15.000 VND-35.000 VND (about 65 cent – $1.5).

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Colorful and tasty Bánh Mì

Where to eat Bánh Mì:

  • 26 Le Thi Rieng, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • 64 Ham Nghi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • 4 Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

I hope my suggestions will probably help you to answer the question “Where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City ?”. If you know more places with delicious foods, please leave a comment. I will try it next time and write a review if the foods there make my stomach happy. Thanks for reading!

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Hi! I am Nhu, a Vietnamese girl living in the Netherlands. I have been living in 3 countries and traveled to 23 countries and still counting. Hopefully, with my blog, I can spread the inspiration to get you moving. If you already own itchy foot, then here comes the useful tips and advice on the interesting destinations that you may visit someday. Stay tuned!

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