Ho Chi Minh City is one city that truly lets visitors appreciate the breadth and variety of Vietnam's street food scene. Nearly every street corner has stalls selling a wide range of specialty dishes that cater to both the hungry locals and first-time tourists on the Vietnam tours.
The thousands of street stalls attract the attention of tourists with the different smells, such as popular herbs like lemongrass and coriander. But, with so many different dishes it can be difficult to know what to order. So, to get prepared for a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, let's take a look at a few of the best street food dishes:
Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich)
Banh mi is a French-Asian fusion sandwich that has introduced to the country at the time of the French colonial rule. It has now become one of Vietnam's favourite snacks. The Vietnamese style sandwich is created with a light, crispy texture of rice flour and wheat for the baguette and packed with fillings such as fresh chilli, pickles, rich pate, cuts of roast pork, and aromatic coriander.
Bun mam (fermented fish soup)
Bum mam is described as a fermented fish soup that is likely to be one of the country's finest noodle dishes. This healthy meal is based on a light fermented fish broth that is combined with herbs, thick noodles, raw vegetables, prawns, slices of squid, and crispy pork belly. A serving of bun mam on the package holidays to Vietnam is certain to help fill the stomach and leave you feeling a little stuffed.
Goi cuon (fresh spring roll)
Goi cuon is a Vietnamese spring roll that is a fresh, healthy, and a super flavourful snack. It is traditionally made with ingredients like pork, vegetables, prawns, shrimp, noodles, etc. and wrapped in rice paper (banh trang) and served with a warm and sweet peanut sauce.
Oc and Cang cua (snail and crab claws)
Ho Chi Minh City is only a short distance from the Mekong Delta (approx 195 km), so the choice of shellfish is very plentiful in this vibrant city. A few of the most delicious snacks to enjoy on the streets in the evening are oc, snails and cang cua, crab claws.
The snails and crab claws are cooked using a variety of techniques, but one of the finest is to grill the shellfish over a BBQ and served with a sprinkling of chilli flakes, lime and coarse sea salt. Alternatively, they can be coated in a sticky and sweet layer of chilli, sugar and garlic for the more unique taste.
Banh trang nuong (rice crackers)
The Banh trang nuong is typically consumed in parts of southern Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City where it is one of the most popular street foods. This crispy snack has the appearance much-like a pizza (flat, round and large). They are quick and easy to cook on the street stalls. The process involves adding ingredients like minced port, egg or prawn to a base of dry rice paper and then cooking quickly over a grill or BBQ. Once cooked, they are topped with spring onions and herbs.
Com tam (rice with fish or meat)
Com tam is among the most filling dish to find on the street stalls on the Vietnam family holiday. It is typically eaten late morning and consists of a large serving of rice with a selection of ready-cooked vegetables, fish and meat. One of the most common choices is com suon which has an ingredient combination of rice with sticky and sweet pork chop, spring onions, fresh cucumber, fried egg, and thinly sliced pickles.
Bo la lot (beef wrapped in wild betel leaf)
Bo la lot is a favourite Vietnamese snack that is certain to go well with a cold bottle of beer. The actual dish is based on seasoned and fragrant rolls of beef that are wrapped in a wild betel leaf. There are several techniques the street vendors use to prepare this dish including on its own, mixed with vermicelli noodles, wrapped in a lettuce leaf or rolled in rice paper. However, this dish is almost certain to be served with a sweet chilli fish sauce like nuoc cham.
Pho (noodle soup)
Pho is without doubt a very well-known and popular street food dish in Vietnam. Freshly prepared by the stall vendor, pho is primarily made with chicken or beef, a few herbs, rice noodles, and broth. Once prepared this noodle soup is rich in texture and flavour and typically includes blanched or raw vegetables to give a lovely crunch to the meal. For extra saltiness and zing, a bowl of pho can be accompanied with fish sauce, lime or fresh chilli.
Banh tet (rice cake)
Banh tet is a savoury street food with the sweetened version preferred in the south of the country. It is basically sticky rice, pork and sweet red beans wrapped in a banana leaf and then grilled on a BBQ. Once cooked, the dish is served with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a custard-like sauce with coconut milk as the main ingredient.
Ho Chi Minh City – Guided street food tour
One of the best ways to discover the many unique tastes and culinary delights in Ho Chi Minh City is to sign up for a street food tour. A 2.5 hour food tour offers a perfect opportunity to get fully immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of the stalls and vendors and sample several of the local specialties such as the popular rice dishes and bahn mi baguettes. A guided tour typically takes place in a small-group to get the most out of the experience of exploring the appetizing attractions throughout this city on the Vietnam travel. A few of the dishes that have made cuisine famous in southern Vietnam include bo la lot (beef wrapped in wild betel leaf), chao muc (squid soup) and xa xui (Cantonese-style BBQ pork). Plus, this type of tour gives a chance to mingle with the locals and appreciate more about the cities multiculturalism and history while enjoying a range of dishes, as well as street beer or coffee.