On your Saigon food tour, you will not only find food signatures of Southern Vietnam but also get to try specialties from other regions as well. As a hub of Vietnamese culture in the south, Saigon is also the place where you can find dishes of any region in Vietnam.
Most of the famous Southern Vietnam dishes are from the Mekong Delta or the southwest (Mien Tay Nam Bo). The ways that the dishes are cooked and presented are really simple, and their taste is a little bit sweeter than that of other regions.
The Central Vietnam dishes in Saigon mostly come from Hue, Quang Nam, and Da Lat. They are supposed to be spicier but when coming to the south, the seasoning and some ingredients of these foods are adjusted to suit the taste of people in Saigon.
And last but not least, the foods come all the way from the capital of Vietnam in the north, Hanoi. Made with ingredients and the taste of Southern people but some of Hanoi’s dishes can still keep their original taste, like Bun Cha and Bun Dau Mam Tom.
Here Are All Foods You MUST Try on a Saigon Food Tour
In Vietnamese cuisine, there are several noodles dishes. The rice noodles are made in different shapes and sizes, mixed with different kinds of protein, vegetables, and herbs, and bathed in savory broths and sauces.
Simple breakfast across the country, especially the North: A dish of soft noodles in a light beef stew soup
Bun Cha and Bun Thit Nuong
The vermicelli served with grilled pork belly and light fish sauce broth or sweet fish sauce
Bun Rieu and Bun Dau Mam Tom
Smelly foods: The noodles in a soup of crab roe meatloaf (Bun rieu) and the vermicelli served with fried tofu, fried fish sausage, pork, and fermented shrimp paste dipping sauce (Bun dau mam tom)
Mi Quang and Bun Bo Hue
Diverse Central Vietnam cuisine: Mild taste of the noodle with pork, shrimp, peanuts, and rice crackers in little broth in a bowl of Mi Quang and the thick noodle in spicy beef stew soup, Bun Bo Hue
Bun Mam and Banh Tam Bi
Weird foods of the South: thick noodles in fermented fish broth (Bun mam) and sweet rice noodles topped with pork and pork skin shred (Banh tam bi)
Soothing foods: mung bean cellophane or vermicelli in a soup made from chicken broth
Banh Canh and Hu Tieu
Simple breakfast in the South: The tapioca noodle in a thick soup of crab, pork, and shrimp (Banh canh) and the noodle in a simple broth made of shrimp, pork, and quail eggs (Hu Tieu)
Check out places to try these dishes in Saigon:
2. Rice Dishes
If rice noodle soup is not your favorite, you can still taste Vietnamese rice’s sweetness in many other dishes. You can have a look at some of the below, for instance:
The broken rice with BBQ-marinated pork chop
The steamed rice rolls served with cold cuts and dipped in fish sauce
3. Fried and Grilled
Of course, the Vietnamese also love fatty, smoky, and crunchy fried and grilled foods. To keep the balance, there are a lot of herbs and sour fruits like pineapple, unripe banana, and star fruit accompanying the dishes.
Banh Xeo and Banh Khot
The crispy cakes from rice batter with shrimp and pork filling
The fried spring roll filled with minced pork, taro, and wood ear
Bo La Lot and sea snails
Typical BBQ: The beef piper lolot rolls and grilled or sauteed snails and shells with delicious buttery or tangy tamarind sauce
Hot Vit Lon
The steamed or sauteed fertilized duck embryo
The Vietnamese baguette made from a mixture of flour and rice flour, with lots of fillings like the cold cuts, pate, and roasted pork
Check out good places to try these foods in Saigon:
4. Sticky rice
Normal rice is not enough for the Vietnamese; you can also find many foods made from glutinous rice with a denser and stickier texture. You can serve them with protein to make savory dishes or mix with fruits and coconut milk to make sweet dishes.
Xoi Man and Xoi Chien
Savory sticky rice: The white sticky rice with cold cuts and meat floss, or sometimes even a chicken drumstick (Xoi man), and the deep-fried white sticky rice stuffed with wood ears and pork
Xoi Dau and Xoi Ngu Sac
Sweet sticky rice: The white sticky rice with beans and peanuts or colored sticky rice, white, yellow (of mung bean – Xoi Vo), purple (of the magenta leaf – Xoi La Cam), orange (of spiny bitter gourd – Xoi Gac), and green (of pandan leaf – Xoi La Dua)
5. Steamed cakes
Rice continues to play an important part in some of these dishes. Fish sauce is another thing that cannot be left out if you want to have perfect steamed cakes. The sauce has to be salty enough to balance with the taste of plain cakes, sweet enough to keep you addicted, and spicy enough to give a kick at the end and excite you for more.
The round and soft steamed rice cake with shrimp powder, fried pork fat, and green onion oil, steamed in a small dish
Banh Bot Loc and Banh Nam
Accompanies of Banh beo: chewy tapioca cake filled with shrimp, wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf (Banh bot loc) and flat rice cake mixed filled with minced pork and shrimp, wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf (Banh nam)
6. Rice paper
Unlike Banh Cuon and Banh Uot, the rice batter to make Vietnamese rice paper is spread to paper-thin and transparent. You can use the rice paper to wrap and eat with other foods like Banh Xeo, Banh Khot, deep-fried gourami, or anything you like.
The fresh spring roll includes lettuce, vermicelli, pork, and shrimp, and dipped in fermented soybean peanut sauce
Banh Trang Tron and Banh Trang Nuong
Student’s favorites: The rice paper cut into thin strips, mixed with beef jerky, other meat floss, quail eggs, thinly shaved green mango, soy sauce, and beef jerky sauce (Banh trang tron), and rice paper topped with a beaten egg, sausage, shrimp powder, butter, chili sauce, and mayonnaise, and grilled on charcoal (Banh trang nuong)
7. Desserts and snacks
It’s not the time for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, but you get a little hungry. The various street foods in Saigon like sweet treats and savory snacks, will never disappoint you. You can always find along the way on your Saigon food tour something to fill your stomach with.
Banh Trung Nuong
The quail eggs grilled with butter and shrimp powder
Goi Kho Bo
A salad made by mixing green papaya, beef jerky, fried shrimp cake, fried shrimp crackers, and soy sauce
Banh Da Lon
Steamed cake: The steamed pandan-leaf-colored rice cake and mung bean paste stacked on one another layer by layer; its texture is a bit smooth and chewy like the pork skin (Banh da lon), and Honeycomb cake, the sweetened steamed rice cake (Banh bo)
Khoai Mi Nuong and Chuoi Nep Nuong
Grilled desserts: cassava cake (Khoai Mi Nuong) and banana wrapped in sticky rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong)
Che Chuoi, Che Bap, and Che Troi Nuoc
Desserts with coconut milk: banana (Che Chuoi), corn (Che Bap), sticky ball stuff with mung bean (Che Troi Nuoc)
Hungry yet? Contact us now to plan your Private Food Tour in Ho Chi Minh City