In Saigon but not sure which are the Best Saigon Foods?
Our list is your ticket to a culinary journey through Vietnam’s largest city. The foods here are a unique mix of exotic flavours that have attracted worldwide attention from renowned chefs like Anthony Bourdain.
What makes the food here so special?
Saigon has some of the widest range of Vietnamese flavours of any region. These are often the result of the different ingredients which have been provided by unique farmland in the south.
This leads to differences from Hanoi, which is often where the more traditional form of Vietnamese dishes originate from. These are welcomed by those in the south, who are treated to a wide range of uniquely Saigon interpretations of these classic dishes.
Here is our selection of the 5 best Saigon foods available.
#1 Best Saigon Foods – Bánh Xèo
This Vietnamese savoury pancake consists of rice flour and turmeric for its base, which is fried in hot oil with diced pork and seafood on top. A generous supply of herbs and vegetables add flavour, along with some fish sauce on the side.
Banh Xeo changes considerable depending on where you have it. If you were to have this dish in the far south of the Mekong delta for instance, you might enjoy smaller and rounded pancakes, each one topped with a prawn and some pork. However, those in Saigon typically use larger pancake bases.
Locals often envelope portions of the pancake in lettuce, then dip it into the fish sauce. Alternatively, the pancake is opened up to allow additional fresh vegetables to be bundled within.
#2 Best Saigon Foods – Phở (Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup)
This rice noodle and beef soup is the national dish of Vietnam for good reason. It’s made with a delicious broth that has been infused with beef bones by simmered away for a few hours. No matter where you are, eating delicious Pho makes for a great start to the day, but the ones found in Saigon offer a different texture and taste.
Saigoneers tend to use thicker strands of rice noodles, whereas Northerners tend to prefer thinner noodles. Another difference is the sweetness. Southern Pho is typically sweetened slightly compared to the one found in Hanoi.
For the best places to check out for a high-quality Pho, check out our guide here. We’ve collected together our favourite restaurants for convenience, hanoi-style pho and even vegetarian options!
#3 – Bánh tráng nướng (Vietnamese Pizza)
This dish is as close to a pizza as Vietnamese food get. Instead of a wheat flour base, these bases consist of rice flour and turmeric. Like a traditional Italian pizza, there are a variety of toppings that you can go for. The most popular options are usually with egg, cheese and spring onion, with some chilli sauce and mayonnaise on top.
Banh Trang Nuong are among the most popular street dishes you can get in Saigon. The place that I would recommend is Ben Thanh’s street food market in case you’re in the tourist districts. Another option is the river front alongside Nguyen Hue Walking Street. The surrounding area makes for a pleasant evening/night snack session.
#4 – Bánh Tráng Trộn
This Vietnamese noodle dish consists of thin rice paper ribbons mixed togeth er with Vietnamese coriander, slices of young mango, quail eggs, fried shallots and sweet chilli flakes. Optional beef jerky may also be added, or even vietnamese ‘chicken floss’. The ribbons of rice noodle are served dry, but once mixed with the other ingredient develop a chewy texture.
These are among the most popular street food in the city, thanks to their extremely affordable price of 10-20k at street food vendors.
#5 – Bánh Mì
During the colonial-period of Saigon’s history, the French produced baguettes filled with pate to satisfy their desires for their nation’s home traditional food. With time, the Vietnamese adapted these French sandwiches to suit their own tastes. In addition to luncheon meat and pate, Banh Mi is filled with chilli, cucumber, daikon, and soy sauce. Though many other kinds of Banh Mi can be found.
It’s hard to find a Banh Mi which doesn’t satisfy. Although these do not change drastically depending on where you are in the country, there are special Saigon-style Banh Mis. Saigon’s Banh Mi Cu Ly pack their premium Banh Mi filled to the brim with a range of different ingredients.
Bánh Mì Bảy Hổ is another famous Banh Mi place which was recently featured on Netflix’s food documentary series ‘Street Food Asia’. It’s located here.
Have your own choice for the best Saigon foods? Let us know your favourite in the comments section down below.
If you’re looking for drinks to accompany your Saigon dishes, then take a look at our selection of the best Vietnamese drinks here.