If there’s one city that’s absolute heaven for food lovers, it’s Ho Chi Minh. With a French influence in many of the dishes here, the food is fragrant and full of flavour. You’re sure to see a lot of tempting things here but there’s some classic Ho Chi Minh dishes that you simply have to try.
From steaming chicken noodle soups to crispy savoury pancakes and frothy coffees, here’s the essential dishes to try in Vietnam. Happy feasting!
The traditional dishes in Ho Chi Minh you need to eat
Probably one of the most famous dishes in Ho Chi Minh, pho is a steaming noodle soup dish that’s traditionally eaten for breakfast. It’s made with rice noodles, bone broth and plenty of fresh herbs. You then add chilli, limi and hoisin sauce to taste. You can either get Pho Ga (chicken) or Pho Bo (beef).
2. Banh Beo
This tasty snack originally comes from Hue, a city in Central Vietnam, but you can also find it in Hoi An and a few places in Hanoi. It’s small, thin rice paper ‘pancakes’ that come piled high with chopped up shrimp, scallions, mung bean, fried shallots, and fish sauce.
3. Bun Rieu Ca
This is a must-try for seafood lovers. Bun Rieu Ca is a popular Vietnamese rice noodle soup with a tomato and crab soup base. A crab paste is thrown into the broth for extra flavour, with extra flaky crab chunks before serving. It’s a favourite dish to eat in summertime.
4. Bánh mì
All bow down to the mighty bánh mì. You’ll see banh mi stalls over the country, serving this simple-yet-delicious sandwich. This is where the French influence comes into play: it’s a soft, fresh baguette, with pate, pork, fresh herbs, pickle carrots and chilli.
It’s the perfect snack for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is perfect drunk/hangover food.
5. Banh Xeo
This famous street food is a crispy Vietnamese take on a savoury pancake. The batter is a mix of rice flour and coconut milk with turmeric. They then fill it with pork strips, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onion and fry it to perfection. There’s a certain way to eat ban xeo: you place a piece of it on a rice paper roll, add fresh veggies and dip it into sauce after each bite.
6. Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio
This is light and one of the most delicious dishes in Ho Chi Minh. It’s cold rice-vermicelli noodle topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs like basil and mint, fresh salad, bean sprouts and chả giò (spring rolls).
7. Com Tam
Com Tam literally means ‘broken rise’ and it’s a super tasty feast. It comes with pork chop, a bed of pickled vegetables, steamed egg cake (called trung hap) and garlic chive oil. You’ll find lots of great stalls all over the city, so you’ll never be too far away from this quintessential Ho Chi Minh dish.