Ho Chi Minh City – conveniently abbreviated to HCMC and still often referred to as Saigon AND importantly the home of the banh mi (Vietnamese baguette). HCMC was the first stage of our journey through Vietnam and a great place to delve straight into the food scene! Here’s a few of the highlights.
Not far from Notre Dame Cathedral is this modern bistro with walls covered in bright murals inspired by Vietnamese propaganda. They serve a wide range of Vietnamese food with some great salad combinations and alternative banh mi fillings too.
Address: 21 Hàn Thuyên, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Ben Thanh Street Food Market
Located on Thu Khoa Huan in District 1, this trendy Street Food Market is easy to find. There are all sorts of food stalls here and not just serving Vietnamese so it’s great for variety. We had a delicious ginger and pork banh xeo (crispy pancake), some barbecue pork, and tried our first Vietnamese pizza or banh trang nuong. Made with a light, grilled rice paper base and topped with quails egg, crispy, sweet shrimps, spring onions and more, this was certainly different and really yummy!
Address: 26-28-30 Thủ Khoa Huân, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
Banh Mi Hong Hoa
This banh mi stall was worth traversing some of the nearby death roads for! The options were extensive and all looked great – I went for essentially the “everything” one but the one with bbq pork sounded delicious too!
Address: 62 Nguyễn Văn Tráng, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Pasteur Street Brewing Company
This popular craft beer destination just happened to be up the road from our hotel, so we went one evening after dinner. We ordered a sampling flight so we could try 6 different beers. My favourites were the Jasmine IPA and the Viet Wit as both were subtly, fragrantly flavoured. The Passion Fruit Wheat Ale was good too especially if you like a sweeter beer.
Address: 144 Pasteur, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam
Trung Nguyen Legend Coffee
There are so many stores for this Vietnamese coffee chain in HCMC so we figured it would be a nice place to have a coffee and relax one afternoon after sightseeing. It was a great way to escape the 35 degree heat for starters! I went for a simple iced coffee with milk where a coffee filter was placed over a glass containing condensed milk. When it was finished filtering (about 8 minutes) I mixed it together and poured into another cup filled with ice. The coffee was delicious!
One thing we didn’t try that is meant to be a local Saigon dish was ca kho to: fish cooked in a clay pot until tender and caramelised. It sounds delicious so we’ll have to see if we can find it further along in our trip. I’d read that Cuc Gach Quan Cafe is a great place to try it, but we just didn’t get a chance to go. But hey – leaves us something to come back for right?