Eating is one of the top things to do in Ho Chi Minh city. With a glut of tasty dishes to sample, it’s hard to decide what to choose. For a short list of the must-try food in the city, you can read below: Must – try eat dishes in Ho Chi Minh City.
Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich)
Available almost everywhere in HCM City, banh mi is a quintessential Vietnamese dish that you should never miss out on. This baguette sandwich is priced between VND 10,000 and VND 20,000, with pickled vegetables, pate, butter, soy sauce, cilantro, chilies, and hot peppers.
Quick and tasty, you can also choose from a variety of meat fillings for your banh mi, including heo quay (roasted pork belly), cha ca (fried fish with turmeric and dill), cha lua (boiled sausages), xiu mai (meatballs), thit ga (boiled chicken), trung op la (fried egg), thit nuong (grilled pork loin), and xa xiu (Chinese barbecued pork).
No trip to Vietnam is complete without a steaming bowl of pho, the most popular traditional food in Vietnam. Simple yet complex at the same time, pho is served with flat rice noodles in a beef broth that usually takes several hours to prepare. The broth is usually topped with green and white onions, coriander leaves and bean sprouts. Accompanied with the soup is an array of garnishes that consists of gia (bean sprouts), chanh (lime), rau que (basil), hanh (scallions), tuong ot (chili sauce) and ot (sliced chilies). Most pho restaurants will have a wide assortment of meats and trimmings to choose from. Basic selections are either tai (sliced of ground beef ), bo vien (beef meatballs) or nam (beef flank). More adventurous eaters have the option of more exotic fare such as gan (beef tendon), sach (thin sliced stomach lining) or ve don (flank with cartilage). If you want a bit of everything in your bowl, order a Pho thap cam.
Bun Thit Nuong (Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork)
A hearty dish in Ho Chi Minh City, “Bun Thit Nuong” features vermicelli rice noodles with freshly chopped lettuce, sliced cucumber, bean sprouts, pickled daikon and carrot, basil, chopped peanuts, and mint, topped with grilled yet tender pork shoulder. Diners can also opt for bun thit nuong cha gio, which comes with crunchy slices of cha gio (deep-fried eggrolls). As with most Vietnamese dishes, you also get a side of nuoc cham sauce to mix into the bun thit nuong for a flavourful ensemble.
Goi Cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls)
Goi cuon comprise vermicelli noodles, pork slices, shrimp, basil, and lettuce tightly wrapped in translucent banh trang (rice papers).
Due to its very subtle flavour, you can dip it in a mix of freshly ground chilli and hoisin-based dipping sauce topped with crushed peanuts.
This traditional appetiser is a healthier alternative to cha gio, which is a deep-fried egg roll made with a combination of mung bean noodles, minced pork, and various spices.
Hu Tieu (Rice Noodles)
Hu tieu is a subtler version of pho noodles, featuring a clear pork-based broth, flat rice noodles, and an assortment of pork toppings. There are also countless variations available in Ho Chi Minh City, though the most popular one is hu tieu xuong, which is topped with pork ribs. Alternatively, you can enjoy hu tieu with shrimp, squid, or fish if you’re not a fan of pork. A bowl of hu tieu is usually priced at VND 18,000 at street stalls and VND 25,000 onwards if you’re dining at more established restaurants.
Ca kho to (Caramelised fish in clay pot)
Served in numerous Vietnamese restaurants within HCM City, ca kho to refers to catfish braised in a clay pot.
This dish is prepared by cutting a whole catfish into fillets before it’s braised in a thick gravy made with a combination of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, shallots, garlic, and various spices and seasonings.
Due to its intense sweet-salty flavour, ca kho to is always served with a plate of white rice.
Literally translated as “broken rice”, this hearty dish is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This dish started with humble beginnings with Vietnamese farmers serving this rice at home as the “broken” leftovers were not suitable to sell in the market. Nowadays, it is served in Ho Chi Minh city and isn’t just for farmers anymore.
The dish is usually served with many different meat options such as suon nuong (barbecued pork chop), bi (shredded pork skin), cha trung (steamed pork and egg patty) or trung op la (fried egg). Diced green onion in oil is sprinkled on the meat and a side of pickled vegetables and sliced cucumber finish the plate. Served on the side is a bowl of the ubiquitous nuoc cham dipping sauce.