What to eat for Lunch in Ho Chi Minh City a.k.a Saigon?
Entering the world of Vietnamese food can be a daunting task for a beginner out there on their own. What is it? Where is it? Is it the best? These are the questions that probably run through the mind of those out on their own Ho Chi Minh City foodie adventure.
Well, this is why we have put together a Top 5 List of our favorite Lunch foods in Saigon. We have done the leg work to point in you in the right direction for a delicious afternoon feast.
#5 Miến Gà Kỳ Đồng
Glass Noodles, Boiled Chicken, in a sweet but light chicken broth has been pleasing the crowds in District 3 for a long time now. One of the unique items that you will find in your bowl is small yolk that is found inside the chicken before it makes its way to become an actual egg. While this isn’t typically something you would find in a bowl of Chicken Soup back in the Western Nations, do not be fickle! Dig right in because this small yolk is delicious.
Glass Noodles for the uninitiated is a transparent noodle commonly known as cellophane noodles. You can find these noodles in different dishes from Pakistan all the way up to Korea. Typically, the noodle is made from various starches that might include Potato, Mung Bean, Cassava, etc etc. If you haven’t had the glass noodle, go for it. If it isn’t your thing, then be sure to ask for some other options in your soup. The two other popular noodle choices here would be rice noodle or wheat noodle.
The homemade Vietnamese hot sauce for dipping the chicken is also a do not miss when you visit this vendor. I repeat, use this sauce, it is delicious.
The herbs on the table will be Thai basil, Mint, and Sawtooth Coriander along with a nice big plate of Bean Sprouts.Address: 14/5 Kỳ Đồng, Phường 9, Quận 3 Hours: 8 am- 11 pm/ 7 days a week Note: Restaurants close for random days in Vietnam but this one is open 99% of the time it should be, if it is not Tet Holiday.
#4 Bánh Khọt Vũng Tàu Khanh
This vendor is located fairly far from the city center of Saigon. If you plan on making a trip out here, it might be worth while to check out our other recommendations in this area so that you can make an event of the trip with more bang for your taxi bucks.
It is best to think of this dish has a wrap, since this is the proper way to eat the Banh Khot. This delicious fried disk of Coconut water and Rice Flour is topped with flash fried seafood such as shrimp and squid. There are a few different versions of Banh Khot but this is the more traditional version from Vung Tau. If you have tasted Banh Xeo, the famouse Vietnamese Pancake, then you will be familiar with the taste and style of eating this dish.
The plate of Banh Khot is set on the table leaving you to assemble your own wrap according to the desires of your own palette. Feel free to sample all of the fresh herbs and vegetables placed on the table to get an idea of what you like and don’t like. Using the big leaves as the base for the wrap, you can then place the smaller herbs on top of those. Placing the Banh Khot disk inside with a little shredded papaya, you will then roll the wrap tight, dip into the side of sweet fish sauce, and enjoy.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to add some chili to your sweet fish dipping sauce.Address: 7 Đồng Nai, P. 15, Quận 10 Hours: 9am-10pm / 7 days a week
#3 Bún Chả Hà Nội
Allow me to get wax poetic, on the dish that is Bun Cha Ha Noi. A delicious meal brought to us from the heavens playing on our love for sweet and sour infused with the taste of grilled pork. Combined with fresh herbs and vegetables to keep it light and playful in our mouths. This dish is damn good and you should eat it.
Now, if you have the chance to eat it in Ha Noi, then you should eat it there. If you are only visiting the South of Vietnam then our recommendation here at #3 will do the job just fine.
If you decide that you want to eat two bowls of Bun Cha, we won’t judge. We have done this as well on several occasions.
Tip: Banh Thom (Fried Shrimp and Potato “Cake”) and Nem Cua (Square Crab and Pork Spring Roll) are two side dishes you should order while here. 1 plate of Banh Thom is enough for 3-4 people. While if you love crab like we do, then perhaps 1 Nem Cua per person will be ideal.Address: 8B Trần Phú, Phường 4, Quận 5 Hours: 7am-9pm / 7 days a week
#2 Bún Thịt Nướng Chị Tuyền
In Southern Vietnam this is an extremely popular dish that can be eaten for Breakfast, Lunch, and/or Dinner. You can find heaps of Bun Thit Nuong vendors all over the streets of Saigon.
We have been serving this dish on our afternoon food tours for years and have no plan on stopping. Quite often this tends to be the highest ranked dish on the tour based on the response of our guests. With that many thumbs up from all over the world we suggest you try it as well.
Tip: This dish contains pork in every way possible, so if you are not eating pig this dish is probably not the best choice for you. Be sure to check out our Top 5 Vegetarian Foods in Ho Chi Minh City Blog.Address: 195 Cô Giang, Quận 1 Hours: 7am-9pm / 7 days a week
#1 Cơm Tấm Nguyễn Văn Cừ
Broken Rice, Pickles, and Marinated Grilled Pork served with Sweet Fish Sauce is our number one choice for the best lunch food in Ho Chi Minh City.
This dish can literally be found everywhere you look on the streets of Saigon, but this particular vendor is doing it very well. Not a very far taxi ride from the center makes this a must try dish while in Ho Chi Minh City.
Be prepared as this can be quite filling and heavy so you aren’t going to want to eat for a while after sinking your teeth into this meal.
Tip: Come here very hungry for Breakfast or Lunch.Address: 74 Nguyễn Văn Cừ, P. 2, Quận 5 Hours: 6:30 am- 3 PM / 7 days a week
I’m a food geek, tourism nut, and online marketing enthusiast who has lived in Vietnam for 8 years. I’m the owner and Director of Back of the Bike Tours who provides quality experiences in Ho Chi Minh City for travellers.