TOP 5 MUST-TRY SPECIALTIES ONCE YOU ARE IN SAIGON
01 Aug 2019
Vietnam is well known all over the world not only for its stunning landscapes, spectacular destinations, untouched mountain and beaches but also for its unique cuisine with fresh ingredients and subtle variations by region. In this article, we will lead you to Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon) - the biggest city in Vietnam where you can enjoy top 10 must-try specialties in Southern Vietnam area.
1. Bun Mam - Fish Sauce Noodle
It is no coincidence that this dish is in the first position on the list. Bun Mam (bún mắm) or Fish Sauce Noodle is a specialty which is only available in southern Vietnam. As the name suggests, the main ingredient of any bowl of Bun Mam is the dark-colored broth prepared with fermented fish sauce, tamarind juice, and sugar. Along with this special broth, Bun (rice vermicelli noodles) are put into the bottom of the bowl and then, green onion, herbs, meats like squid, prawns, and pork are all scattered on top of it.
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For many, they are not keen on “fermented fish broth” due to its smell. However, it is honestly not fishy at all. It has a little sweet and balanced flavor with thick rice noodles and chunks of delicious fish and meat that will mesmerize you from the first try. You can easily find Bun Mam at restaurants as well as street food stalls in every corner of Ho Chi Minh City.
Bun Mam Phan Boi Chau
- Address: 22 Phan Boi Chau, across from Ben Thanh market, Ho Chi Minh
- Opening hour: 06:00 - 19:00
- Reference price: VND 70,000 -100,000
Bun Mam 47
- Address: 91A Le Quang Sung, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh
- Phone: (08) 39 601 727
- Opening hours: 11:00 - 22:00
- Reference price: VND 35,000 - 55,000
Bun Mam Truong Sa
- Address: 340 Truong Sa, Ward 2, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh
- Open hours: 09:00 - 22:00
- Reference price: VND 30,000 - 60,000
2. Banh Canh Cua - Crab Soup Cake
If you’re a crab lover, this Vietnamese dish is surely made for you. Banh Canh Cua (some places call it Banh Canh Ghe) is the Crab Soup Cake or Crab Soup Noodles. Different from other noodle soups in Vietnam, this unique dish is not only notable because of the crab but also famous for its special type of noodle. They use a hearty and thick noodle made with either tapioca flour, rice flour, or a combination of the two instead of traditional thin rice vermicelli noodles.
Banh Canh Cua is considered Vietnam’s version of Japanese udon noodles. The broth is thickened like gravy and has mellow crab flavor. With chilies, green onions, and fresh lime on top, Banh Canh Cua is definitely a tasty bowl that you don't wanna miss once visit the bustling city of Saigon.
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Banh Canh Cua Hoang Lan
- Address: 484 Vinh Vien, 10 District, Ho Chi Minh
- Open hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Reference price: VND 45,000 - 60,000
Banh Canh Cua Ut Le
- Address: 204 To Hien Thanh, 10 District, Ho Chi Minh
- Open hours: 17:00 - 21:00
- Reference price: VND 45,000 - 55,000
Banh Canh Cua 14
- Address: 223A Tran Binh Trong, 10 District, Ho Chi Minh
- Open hours: 7:30 - 23:00
- Reference price: VND 40,000 - 55,000
3. Hu Tieu - Pork Noodle Soup
Another Vietnam’s signature dish is Hu Tieu - Pork Noodle Soup. It is said that this delicious dish has origin from Cambodia and China. While there are a dozen variations of Hu Tieu, Hu Tieu Nam Vang is regarded as the tastiest dish of all.
There are 2 types of Hu Tieu Nam Vang: wet Hu Tieu and dry Hu Tieu. The ‘wet’ version is similar to the noodle soup with broth. Its broth is a mixture of bones, dried squid and pork which is left to simmer for hours. The dry version, on the other hands, is separated broth and noodle in two bowls.
Hu Tieu Nam Vang is also served with fresh vegetable, herb, green lemon, chilies... Since it is very popular in the South area, you will be amazed that there are more stalls serving Hu Tieu than Pho vendors in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hu Tieu Nam Vang Lien Hua
- Address: 90D Tran Quoc Thao, District 3 or 312 An Duong Vuong, District 5, Ho Chi Minh
- Opening hours: 10.00 – 21.00
- Reference price: VND 50,000 - 70,000
Hu Tieu Nam Vang Phu Quy
- Address: 84 Ho Thi Ky, District 10, Ho Chi Minh
- Opening hours: 7.00 – 22.00
- Reference price: VND 32,000 - 50,000
Hu Tieu Nam Vang Quynh
- Address: 197 Nguyen Trai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh
- Opening hours: 24/7
- Reference price: VND 60,000 - 70,000
4. Banh Tam Bi - Vietnamese Noodle in Coconut Cream
This dish will definitely make you redefine the old style food combination. Banh Tam Bi (Bánh tằm bì) is another special food that only has in the south of Vietnam. It is a traditional Vietnamese Noodle in Coconut cream.
Similar to Banh Canh Cua (food featured above), Banh Tam Bi's main ingredient is thick tapioca noodles or sticky rice noodle. A plate of Banh Tam Bi is a mixture of thick sticky rice noodles, pork meat, green onions, and coconut cream sauce with some roughly cut herbs, sweet basil and Vietnamese coriander on the top. If you love the flavor of coconut milk, you’re going to love this unique Banh Tam Bi.
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Banh Tam Bi Dong Thap
- Address: 352 Nguyen Trai, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
- Phone: 091 715 13 69
- Opening hours: 9:00 - 18:00
- Reference price: VND 25,000 VND - 55,000
Banh Tam Bi Nhung
- Address: 57 Chau Van Liem, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
- Phone: (028) 38 536 966
- Opening hours: 9:00 - 18:00
- Reference price: VND 20,000 VND - 55,000
Banh Tam Bi To Chau
- Address: 271 Nguyen Trai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Opening hours: 7:00 - 21:00
- Reference price: VND 20,000 VND - 55,000
5. Com Tam
Too much noodle? Well, the last dish on today list will not disappoint you. Com Tam or also call the broken rice (broken grains of rice that occur in the milling process) is the most famous and favorite rice-based dish in Vietnam. The common version of the broken rice is Com Tam Suon Nuong (the broken rice with grilled pork chop).
The most interesting part about this dish is that you can choose anything you want for your plate. Starting from the most basic version (Com Tam Suon Nuong), you can then fill up your portion with all sorts of delicious extra things like a fried egg, chicken, thin cell pigskin, extra pork, sausage, cucumber…
Com Tam Ba Ha
- Address: 389 Hung Phu, District 8, Tp. Ho Chi Minh
- Opening hours: 16:00 - 19:30
- Reference price: VND 20,000 - 60,000
Com Tam Ba Ghien
- Address: 84 Dang Van Ngu, Phuong 10, Phu Nhuan District, TP. Ho Chi Minh
- Opening hours: 7:30 - 21:30
- Reference price: VND 40,000 VND - 66,000
Com Tam Moc
- Address: 85 Ly Tu Trong, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, TP. Ho Chi Minh
- Phone: (028) 38.248.561
- Opening hours: 8:00 - 22:30
- Reference price: VND 30,000 - VND 70,000
Above are 5 delectable dishes that we suggest for you to try at least once when you're in Ho Chi Minh City. For more travel ideas and tips for your adventures, you can take a look at our Vietnam Travel Guide.
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