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Vietnamese food is deliciously salty, tart and slightly spicy. It is well known to be refreshingly light, appetising and flavourful. 

Let me show you 9 must-try dishes while you’re in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City. (Pho is on there, but there’s more you might never have heard of…)

1. Pho

I couldn’t make a list of must- eats without adding Pho to it. This delicious soup noodle uses thin rice noodles, slices of meat, fresh herbs and bone broth.

The broth is simmered for hours to get a rich, but light meaty flavour. Pho is typically beef, but you can also find chicken pho.

Locals like to  eat pho for breakfast, but you can eat pho anytime you want. 

2. Bo Kho

A beef braised stew with only a few decades of history. Invented in Ho Chi Minh City, this stew is served with bread or noodles. 

It’s hearty, rich and packed fulled of flavour. You’ll find chunks of melt-in-your-mouth beef, carrots, tomatoes and sometimes potatoes. (it’s sounding a bit like Irish stew, but it’s not)

Distinct ginger, lemongrass and other spices like star Anais comes through clearly.

There’s no better place to try Bo Kho than the city that invented it. 

3. Bo Ne

Vietnam’s version of steak and eggs! 

Bo Ne is typically eaten for breakfast, but just like Pho, you’ll have no problems eating it for lunch or dinner. Bo Ne is a deliciously heavy meal you will want to go run laps after eating it!

Marinated steak with eggs, onions, pate and a bunch of other things served on a hot skillet!

4. Com Tam

Com Tam means broken rice in Vietnamese. 

It’s literally broken grains of rice. It changes the texture of the rice once cooked and gives off a more subtle fragrant sweetness that broken rice is most prized for. 

Com Tam can be served with many things, but most commonly:

Marinated grilled pork chop, crab cake, cucumber slices and pickled vegetables.

5. Pork Banh Mi

You can’t go to Vietnam without having Banh Mi. Banh Mi is a popular quick meal you can get at almost every street. 

Freshly baked baguettes with various fresh vegetables, pickled vegetables, herbs, pates and meats. 

What’s not to love!? 

I lost count how many I had while I was there. 

6. Hu Tieu Nam Vang

Pork and prawn noodle soup that gives Pho a run for its money. 

This dish uses thin rice noodles and a deliciously savoury broth. Unlike pho, it is lighter, slightly sweeter but still satisfyingly meaty. 

Served with pork parts, prawns and a quail egg. A must try noodle dish you can find at street stalls. 

I was lucky enough to discover this dish by chance one evening hunting for dinner. 

7. Vietnamese Coffee - Ca Phe

Medium dark roast coffee, fresh everyday and drip filtered to perfection. 

Who wouldn’t like Vietnamese coffee? 

The use of condense milk to balance out the strong bitterness makes it an absolute delight!

8. Rice Paper Rolls

Rice paper rolls doesn’t sound exciting, but when you have them in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll taste the difference in freshness and quality compared to what you get back home. 

Even a rice paper roll bought at the back of a bicycle vendor tasted fresher and more flavourful than what I usually get.

A must try when you’re in Vietnam.

9. Street Food

Travelling is fun for so many reasons, but one of the best parts for me is the food. And street food is the most fun! 

Vietnam has a huge street vendor culture where you can find people selling food on the street or on the go with makeshift trolleys. Walk up to one and give it a try. You might be amazed at a new snack you will buy a few more times before you leave…


Janice Fung

Janice Fung

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