What is it?
Or maybe it’s who is she(?)
Made famous by a visit from renowned Chef Anthony Bourdain, the Saigon Lunch Lady is one of the city’s many gems.
It’s similar to other street food stalls around the city, but dishes are unique on each day which ensures their freshness. The key to its success is the Saigon lunch lady herself, who was friendly when I came through for a visit. Despite its popularity with tourists, the place still feels like another typical place at the side of the road.
Each day a different Vietnamese dish is served, with about 10 dishes in total that are regularly rotated week by week. They’re all soup-based, and include such Vietnamese favourites like Mien Ga, Bun Mam, Banh Canh and Bun Bo Hue. In addition, you can also have a side of spring rolls or a savoury pancake as well.
I arrived on a Wednesday morning and was served Mien Ga – Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup. This consisted of a couple of chicken drumsticks in a broth, with a few vegetables and some egg noodles. The bowl was bursting with flavour thanks to the broth, and the bowls were generously portioned! The chicken was succulent and easy to chew through despite the bones. As for the side dishes, I received a crispy savoury pancake with prawns and some chilli sauce.
Expect to pay foreigner prices for most of the dishes. Even though others around me paid less (I saw someone pay with 50k and receive change), I was expected to pay 70k (3USD) -not a bad price considering how much food you’re served. However, the price was definitely steeper than most places you’ll find at the side of the street. Apparently, the side of savoury pancakes costs about 20k, and are given without consent to any foreigners. These aren’t particularly tasty, so I’d suggest letting them know that you’d rather not have it.
In addition to her food, the lunch lady also sells cookery books to share her different recipes.
Where can I find the Saigon Lunch Lady?
It’s tucked away on a side street near the river. You might need to do some searching around for the place in order to settle down for a meal. The Saigon Lunch lady is available from 11am-3pm
Chung Cư, Lô D, Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh.
Tip – The Saigon Lunch lady is a short drive away from some of our favourite coffee spots. Moc Little farm and Nap coffee have excellent coffee and a relaxing atmosphere. Free to visit while in the neighbourhood.
If you enjoyed this article and want to find more fun things to check out in Saigon, then you should subscribe to our newsletter.