Vietnam cuisine is so marvelous and unique with many kinds of food. One of the attractions of Vietnam food is street food, especially Saigon street food. Street food or sidewalk food is the foods or drinks prepared and served on the footpath with small plastic tables and chairs.

Therefore, the price will be cheaper and in some dishes, eating near the street is better and more interesting than in the restaurant.

street food

One of the attractions of Vietnam cuisine is street food

You may hear about some popular street food like Pho (a kind of Vietnamese noodles), Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette recipe), Com Tam (broken rice with grilled pork), Bun Cha (rice vermicelli with grilled fatty pork and herbs). Those dishes are really delicious but I won’t mention it again because of its popularity. Therefore, streetfoodofsaigon will recommend you another top 3 must-try dishes Saigon street food.

Street food with plastic chairs and tables

Street food with plastic chairs and tables

By the way, I will also give you some places from local reviewers that not too popular with foreigner travelers. Many of those places are located in different districts of Saigon. You can wander around Saigon as well as explore the cuisine. This thing may make you more interested and curious.

BOT CHIEN (Pan-fried scrambled egg rice cake)

Bot Chien, a sidewalk food, is popular with considerable Vietnam people, especially children, and teenagers. The vendor will prepare the rice flour and cut it into cubes in advance. First, the vendor will use a large pan to fry shallots to boost the smell and flavor, after that is the scrambled egg combines with cubes of rice flour until it gets crispy. Then, Bot Chien will be served with slices of papaya, peppers, green onions and a special sweet and sour soy sauce.

The soy sauce is an important factor which decides the attraction of that Bot Chien dish.

Bot Chien

Bot Chien with slices of papaya and a special soy sauce

Bot Chien can be easily found around the city center street. If you want to explore more about this dish, I will recommend you some local places:

  • Bot Chien Tran Phu – 11 Le Thuc Hoach Street, Phu Tho Hoa Ward, Tan Phu District
    • 8:00 – 21:00
  • Bot Chien 881 – 881 Hoang Sa Street, Ward 9, District 3
    • 7:00 – 9:00, 14:00 – 22:00
  • 7 Tan Hung Street, District 5 (behind Hong Bang School)
  • Nguyen Trong Tuyen Street, Phu Nhuan District (at the corner of Nguyen Trong Tuyen Street and Phan Dinh Phung Street)


Vietnamese usually eat Banh Mi Chao for breakfast. Banh Mi Chao is combo pan with many ingredients and served with hot and crispy bread. Eating bread with an extra dollop of pate, marinated beef steak, xiu mai (meatballs), sunnyside-up eggs, sausages, pate (liverwurst), caramelized onions, cheese (Laughing Cow Cheese in Vietnam) covered with sweet and spicy tomato sauces all inside a round pan is really tasty and wonderful.

The way they make the sauces will decide the taste and flavor of this dish. Banh Mi Chao becomes a new way to enjoy bread in Vietnam. Bread lovers will absolutely enjoy this must-try dish of Saigon street food.

Banh Mi Chao with many ingredients in a pan

Banh Mi Chao with many ingredients in a pan

Addresses Recommended:

  • Banh Mi Chao Co 3 Hau – 36, Street 18, Go Vap District
  • Chao Restaurant – 72C Tran Quoc Toan Street, District 3
  • Banh Mi Chao with fried eggs and fried spare ribs: beginning point of 3A Street, District 11
  • Banh Mi Chao 176 – 176 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 3

PHA LAU (Offal Stew)

Considerable as a specialty of Saigon, Pha Lau is a must-try dish for those who come to Ho Chi Minh City. If you want to have a memorable food tour in Saigon, you absolutely shouldn’t miss out Pha Lau. The Main ingredient of Pha Lau is the internal organs such as heart, intestines, kidney, tongue, stomach, and lungs of pigs, cows of goats. It seems astonishing but fantastic at first taste.

After cleaning, the internal organs will be marinated in peppers, salt, sugar, chopped garlic and shallots, soy sauce or fish sauce and five-spice powder in one to two hours. Then, they will stew it for one hour and finally pour the coconut milk syrup.

Pha Lau is an amazing specialty of Saigon

Pha Lau is an amazing specialty of Saigon

The special thing of Pha Lau is the five-spice powder and the sweet coconut syrup. Pha Lau carries the harmonious flavor which absolutely satisfies your appetite. Pha Lau is used with the sweet and sour tamarind sauce combines with chopped chili peppers. In addition, Pha Lau is cooked with instant noodles or served with bread.

Some recommendations that you can consider:

  • Pha Lau Phung Thien – 228 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Street, District 3
  • Pha Lau Rubi – 230 Nguyen Hong Dao Street, Tan Binh District from 11:00 to 22:00
  • Pha Lau Co Giau – three-way crossroads of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street and Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street (behind the Marie Curie School)
  • Pha Lau Marie – 433/44 Le Dai Hanh Street, District 11.