Sai Gon Food Guide

Ngày đăng: 12/04/2016 .

Ho Chi Minh City (“HCMC”), Vietnam (or Saigon, as many still refer to it), offers an amazing array of food for visitors. As your read through my Ho Chi Minh City Food Guide, you’ll discover that there is a lot more to Vietnamese food than just Pho and Banh Mi, and discover the complexity of flavours that can come from the use of fresh, simple ingredients.
 


Everywhere you look, no matter what the time of day, there are people eating and preparing food.  On the streets, down alleyways, and in every other “hole in the wall”, something food related is occurring.
Walking through the streets of HCMC, you’ll smell all sorts of wondrous things (and, to be fair, some not so wondrous things) and it’s my hope that by reading through this food guide, you’ll be inspired to seek out those great smells and experience some of the real HCMC’s food scene.

Many people are afraid to try street food when travelling overseas. “How do I know it’s safe?”, “What if I get sick?”, “Is it hygienic?” are a few of the most common concerns that I hear when I discuss street food with people.  I certainly understand why people unaccustomed to street food have these concerns, as the visual image presented to them is very different from what they perceive as being suitable dining conditions. Additionally, everyone knows someone who has had a bad experience.

Two tips that have kept me in good stead throughout my travels that I’d like to share with you are these:

    Eat where the locals are eating.
    Look for food that you can see being cooked.

Regarding the first tip, the logic is simple. Generally speaking, food establishments stay in business not because of the tourist trade, but because of the locals that eat there day in and day out. If you come across a place that is busy and full of locals, chances are it’s good. If it was making people sick, it would be neither busy nor full of locals.

In relation to the second tip, most of the street carts and hole in the wall restaurants in Vietnam have the raw ingredients and cooking stations in clear view. If something is being cooked fresh in front of your eyes, you can see for yourself exactly what’s going on. Contrast this to a restaurant with a closed kitchen that you can’t see.

Due to the sheer volume of street food in HCMC, I won’t try to provide you with a fixed guide of establishments, but rather a guide to some of the dishes you’ll find, with a few establishments listed where possible. HCMC is a city that rewards the adventurous eater, and as long as you follow my 2 tips above, you should feel comfortable trying some new things.

Food is being prepared or eaten constantly in Vietnam. These boys were on a side street in an area that was full of mechanics and hardware stores cooking up a soup of some sort.

 

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