By Guest Blogger Louise Rose, author of www.go-vietnam.com
One thing that many people consider as a favorite part of any trip, regardless of the destination, is trying and sampling the local cuisine of the country they are visiting. Perhaps because of this preference, many people have become “foodies” in recent years. In fact, many people travel to South Vietnam and Saigon in particular to simply have a go at the world famous street-food strewn about its city streets. However, it may take a bit of research and the help of quite a few locals to find your way to the tastiest local dishes that Saigon has to offer. After all, many people certainly don’t want to get roped into spending their meals in those “local” restaurants modified for tourists over on Phạm Ngũ Lão Street if they can help it. Your food experience in Saigon may certainly turn out to be one of new and delicious tastes if you simply start wandering past your hotel. There are also quite a few <a href=”backofthebiketours.com/saigon-city-tours-vietnam/”>Saigon city tour</a> with local guides that will gladly take you try some of Saigon best street-food in exchange for a fee. In any case, here is a list of the top 7 Vietnamese street foods you have to try in Saigon.
- Phở – The original street food of Vietnam
Phở is definitely one of the most famous quick eats in Saigon. Phở is quite simply a Vietnamese noodle soup. However, there are so many different varieties that one cannot even begin to count. Lots of visitors have found the beef variety, or “phở bò”, to be the tastiest. However, the “phở gà”, or chicken soup, is equally delicious and perfect as a wonderful and affordable street breakfast. To give the soup extra flavor, add some of the condiments provided on the table like chili or lime juice. Some street restaurants may also give you some chili sauce to dip the meat in, something that is especially delicious with the beef. Phở can be found almost anywhere in Saigon and the restaurants are often labeled by number (i.e. Pho #45). Simply walk down the street in any direction from your hotel, and you are bound to find a shop selling this delicious soup.
- Bánh Mì Thịt, the Vietnamese Sandwhich
Perhaps one of the most renowned street snacks in Vietnam, bánh mì thịt is a delicious Vietnamese take on the sub-sandwich. Bánh mì thịt is a fresh piece of French baguette with sliced pork and/or pork sausage, vegetables and pickles. You can also normally ask the vendor to throw on a little Laughing Cow if you like. Tourists around Vietnam often find themselves eating one of these almost every day. These delectable sandwiches can be found almost anywhere in Saigon and are easily spotted with a glass case filled with baguette.
- Bánh Xèo, The Vietnamese Pancake
This is a Vietnamese street food that many hear about so much before travelling to Vietnam. Bánh xèo is simply a rice pancake with turmeric, cooked until it turns golden brown and topped with a variety of meats and vegetables. Walking around the streets of Saigon at night, you are sure to find a food vendor cooking up one of these amazing snacks. Before you leave Saigon, be sure to eat one of these as they are both delicious and when compared to many other common street foods, quite unique.
- Bún bò Huế, A classic of Vietnamese food
Although this delicious soup can be a bit tricky to find at first, it is certainly worth the effort. Bún bò Huế is another kind of Vietnamese soup. However, instead of using conventional soup noodles, the soup is made from vermicelli, which is a kind of bean noodle and is a wonderful choice for anyone on a diet. It is normally topped off with a helping of sliced beef or pork and is said to be originally from Huế, in Central Vietnam. For this food, it is recommended to ask around as to where the best shop is as many people say they have to make quite a trek before they find a restaurant that serves this particular dish.
- Gỏi đu đủ, the Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad
Don’t let the humorous name fool you. If you are looking for something that is healthy, delicious and unique, this just might be the street-food for you. Gỏi đu đủ is a Vietnamese version of papaya salad. Most people who have traveled Southeast Asia have probably heard of the Thai version of this dish. Just like in Thailand, the dish is made from sliced green papaya but topped off with a different but equally delicious sauce and usually some dried meat. The combination of flavors is absolutely amazing and finding someone who sells this dish is as easy as walking to the nearest street corner. A very delicious Vietnamese cuisine and perfect if you want to get away from the traditional rice-based dishes.
- Bánh Tráng Trộn, Spicy Rice Paper Salad
In terms of texture, this is perhaps the most unique on the list. Bánh tráng trộn is another kind of Vietnamese salad. However, what sets this one apart is the use of rice paper as the base and kumquat as a primary ingredient. This salad is normally served with dried beef and in is often considered one of the most flavorful dishes one can try in the whole of Vietnam. As this is not the most common of street-food, you might want to do a little research before setting out as this dish is not as easy to find as a bowl of phở.
- Gỏi Ngó Sen Tôm Thịt
Although maybe a bit exotic to foreign tastes, this is certainly a dish that any adventurous eater should try before heading out of Saigon. What distinguishes this dish from other Vietnamese salads is the use of lotus root, which some eaters may not be too fond of. However, many visitors who try this food often find it to be entirely unique and flavorful and even the lotus root quite delicious. The lotus root salad is normally mixed with both sliced pork and shrimp, making it a very tasty treat and one that will surely satisfy any seafood lover. Like bánh tráng trộn, ask around and get directions to a restaurant recommended by a local that sells this street-food as you may have a hard time spotting it from the street.
Perhaps the saddest part of a journey in Vietnam for many world travelers is just not having enough time to try all of <a href=”backofthebiketours.com/saigon-street-food-tours-vietnam/”>Saigon street food</a>. This city will captivate any food lover and you will soon find yourself strolling around the nearest night market trying to sample everything that comes into sight. Although you can sample dozens of different street foods during your stay in Saigon, the 7 listed above are certainly the ones that any traveler should give a go before leaving, especially since you will notice that the foods available in each part of Vietnam have a tendency to change as you move around the country and are certainly quite different than anything you might sample in neighboring countries like Laos or Cambodia.