Recently, the Food and Wine Magazine, a US food and beverage magazine, has released a list of the 10 most popular street food destinations in the world including Ho Chi Minh City, often called Sai Gon with familiar dishes such as noodles, pancakes, sour soup … in which the patty sandwich stands at No. 1.
It is undeniably that Saigon cuisine is the crystallization of delicious and unique dishes in the South area and it is the cross- culinary of many different cultures. Many delicious and unique dishes of provinces and cities across the country and many countries in the world (China, India, France, America, Italy, Russia, Japan, Australia, …) have become part of Saigon cuisine such as Pho, Fried fish in Hanoi; Ho Tay shrimp in batter; Northern rice; Lang Son fermented pork roll; Hue beef rice noodles; Quang noodle; Hoi An Cao Lau; Peking duck; pate pies, meat, sausages; salad; Sushi. However, this interference makes the culture of Saigon cuisine more delicate, more attractive in international visitors’ eyes without losing the traditional beauty.
Saigon Street food market
Dubbed as "Non-sleeping City", Sai Gon has always been so bustling and dynamic. What makes Saigon unique is the street food paradise which serves day and night. Going to Saigon, if you don't enjoy the street food here, it is like you have never come to Saigon. Therefore, in Saigon, people have built Food Street, Ben Thanh Market or food tours like Saigon Food Tour to cater to food lovers.
The culinary tours of Saigon last about 4 hours but the choice of food and destination is in their own way. Saigon Food Tour will take guests to enjoy unique dishes in the places where Saigon people usually frequent. These are the eateries that attract many locals to eat and drink and have a historical thickness to tell guests its stories. During the tour, guests will enjoy more than 10 dishes. Foreign tourists prefer the riverside or in the winding alleyways, or the small shops are close together on the Hoang Sa, Truong Sa Street from the famous Thanh Mai noodle on Truong Dinh street, duck porridge in Thanh Da to the snail shops and delicious seafood everywhere in the city. They interact directly with the indigenous person, which brings the real experience that is very difficult before for foreigners to get.
Now, let's follow us to explore the Saigon street cuisine paradise.
1. The Sweet dishes
During hot summer days, Saigon is the paradise for the "sweet believer", you can sip tea, tofu, and fruit.
Saigon has many delicious and famous sweet gruel stores like the three- color sweet gruel on Nguyen Phi Khanh Street which is also known as the 'picky sweet gruel' or “Chảnh chè” in Vietnamese or you can also enjoy the special sweet gruel tray (apartment Su Van Hanh, District 10) with 12 cups of sweet gruel. In addition, Ky Dong sweet gruel (Ky Dong Street, District 3) also has a variety of sweet gruels such as mixed gruel, green bean gruel, green bean jelly, coconut jelly, Thai gruel, fruit gruel…
It is impossible to not mention about Nguyen Canh Chan. This street is known as the 'land' of the fruit usually eaten with coconut jam. The coconuts are grated and then simmer with jaggery to make a special fruit jam with a very unique and delicious scent.
Tofu is also one of the delicious sweet dishes of Saigon. Saigon tofu tastes good and characteristic with the rich combination of tofu with baby jackfruit, red bean, aloe vera, sticky rice, jelly, pearl bubble…All of them make a great dish.
2. The salty dishes
Roadside stalls are always a top choice for young people who love freedom, cool and airy space. Rice noodle soup, “Phá Lấu”- the food that mixes the organs of animals such as beef, pork, chicken, duck, … with affordable prices that allows you to enjoy them.
Phung Hung fried rice flour
Phung Hung fried rice flour is famous for the expensive price in Saigon, up to 35 thousand per dish. However, the unique spice in this shop is not always available. It is a very strange mixture, including green onion, tamarind, garlic and chili powder. A little of chili mixed with the sweet taste of fermented- turnip, the smell of green onion have made Phung Hung fried dishes become incredibly attractive.
Kuy- teav or “Hủ tiếu” in Vietnamese gets visitor's attention in the ability to cut the meat of the store owner. You will be amazed at the thin meat slices like the paper. This popular dish is favored here by the convenience and ease of eating. Diners are always served as soon as this dish has been cooked.
Crab soup is quite popular in Saigon, with the most famous destination is Nguyen Du also known as 'church crab soup'. Crab soup is very delicious, full of meat, eggs, chicken. In addition, it has a popular price. If you want, you can ask for more eggs or crab-meat for 'monumental' soup
Pha Lau is made from the stomach and small intestine, lungs, liver, heart pig …, marinated, fried and cooked. Coconut milk is the main ingredient of the Pha Lau broth making the sweet and fat characteristic. Some famous Pha Lau stores are Pha Lau of apartment 1A – 1B (Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1), Huynh Van Banh Street- Phu Nhuan district, Xo Viet Nghe Tinh street- Binh Thanh district, near to Marie Curie school (Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street, District 3).
The girdle-cake is a delicious snack of the younger, this dish is mixed of the sweet and spicy of dried beef, the smell of egg yolks, the fragrant crust of peanuts, the sour of mango, the spicy of satay and laksa leaves … all make up a great snack.
Let's quickly record the famous stores such as Ms. Thao store, Ms. Long (Nguyen Thuong Hien), the gate of the Polytechnic University or the area near Ho Con Rua Street.
It is not difficult to find a crowded snail restaurant in Saigon. Snail restaurant is the popular name because there are other types of seafood in there. There are many ways to make the snail attractive, from steaming, boiling, and frying to baking … with all kinds of spices such as garlic, onions, peppers, chopped vegetables.
It is true to say that street food has made Saigon more attractive than ever. So why do not you quickly come to Saigon to enjoy the culinary paradise here?