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What is One Food or Meal You Would Try in Ho Chi Minh City?

what is one food or meal you would try in ho chi minh city?

I’ve been in Ho Chi Minh for over 12 years now, with over a decade as the owner and operator of a food tour company, so I get asked a question like: “What is one food or meal you would try in Ho Chi Minh City?”

Honestly, it differs depending on the person’s itinerary. If you are in Ho Chi Minh City as your only stop in Vietnam, then my answer will differ from someone who will be traveling North to South.

Eat a Bowl of Pho during a Quick Layover

If you are only in Vietnam on a small layover in Ho Chi Minh City, you should get a bowl of Pho while in the city. It’s so iconic and natural to want a delicious bowl of Beef Pho in Vietnam. It’s the ambassador of Vietnamese cuisine and its bragging rights at any future Vietnamese dinner with friends, “I’ve had Pho in Vietnam.”

You can check out my blog about the best pho in Ho Chi Minh City to see the complete list, but a quick tip is that one of the better bowls of pho I’ve had is located near the airport.

Pho Phu Vuong – 339 Le Van Sy, Tan Binh

Pho Phu Vuong is a great bowl of Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

This is a Southern Pho; it’s really good and was highly rated by my operations manager, who went around town eating pho with me during our recent research. I personally thought it was above average, but it wasn’t my favorite. However, it is undoubtedly a great bowl.

If you are limited on time, leave the airport, head over here for some pho, and enjoy a ca phe sua da. Then you are living life like a real Vietnamese!

A Few Days in Saigon During a Longer Trip Through Vietnam

If you have more time in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam during a long trip, my choice of what to eat in Saigon is split between two dishes. You can read about these in my article about famous Saigon dishes, but I’ll give you a quick idea here as well.

Bun Thit Nuong

This is such a great dish, and you can find the best versions in Ho Chi Minh City as it’s an iconic Saigon food. This dish features grilled pork, fried spring rolls, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and sweet fish sauce.

That feature of grilled pork and extremely sweet fish sauce is a famous Saigon Duo. You see it all over Vietnam, but Ho Chi Minh City is where it’s done the best.

A place I’ve loved for many years is right downtown in District 1, but I don’t recommend walking there as the street it’s on is a bit hectic and not suitable for foot traffic. You can check it out:

Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen – 175C Co Giang

what is one food or meal you would try in ho chi minh city?
A bowl of Bun Thit Nuong at Chi Tuyen in Ho Chi Minh City

I can’t remember exactly, but I believe a bowl here should only set you back for about 60,000 VND. My recommendation would also be to get the standard bowl; do not get it with stir-fried beef, which is a specialty or unique version this vendor sells. I don’t think it adds anything to the dish and isn’t needed.

Com Tam

Broken rice, grilled pork chop, and a fried egg that gets drizzled with sweet fish sauce. Again, we see the combination of grilled pork and sweet fish sauce as a signature of Saigon. If you are in Saigon, don’t miss out. Many people recommend Com Tam Ba Ghien, which is quite famous here in Saigon, but I would recommend you try:

Com Tam Nguyen Van Cu – 74 Nguyen Van Cu

Com Tam Nguyen Van Cu
Grilled Pork Chop over Broken Rice

This place is “expensive” relative to the price of your typical plate of com tam. I believe one plate as seen above is 120,000 VND. But, for me, absolutely worth it!

While you can’t find an exact replica of a pork chop, you can easily find very similar vegetarian versions of these dishes in Ho Chi Minh City. Is Ho Chi Minh Vegan Friendly?, is a good resource that can point you in the right direction if you want to try these dishes but don’t eat meat.

What is One Food or Meal You Would Try in Ho Chi Minh City?

There ya go, those are my recommendations above it’s split between three dishes and I’ll let you choose which one is right for you! If you are spending more time in Saigon check out my list of best places to eat in Saigon!

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