Ho Chi Minh Street Food - Part 1

November 17, 2013 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Ho Chi Minh Street Food - Part 1


Ho Chi Minh Street Food is part of the larger tapestry of cuisine in Vietnam. Bordered by Thailand, Vietnamese cuisine is, unsurprisingly, very similar in profile to Thai cuisine, with an emphasis on dishes that have a combination of the 5 tastes; spicy, salty, bitter, sour and sweet. Furthermore, chefs in Vietnam try to have 5 different colours represented in each dish; white, green, yellow, red and black. Dishes in Ho Chi Minh city, located in the south of Vietnam, also tend to be slightly sweeter tend dishes from the north of Vietnam. Because Ho Chi Minh city is also more affluent, dishes tend to be bigger portioned, and slightly more expensive.

Food in Ho Chi Minh can be found along the streets in pushcarts, kiosks or small cafes, on street corners, in mid-range restaurants and fine-dining establishments. A typical local in Ho Chi Minh may often consume all their meals from street vendors, rarely dining in a restaurant, though increasing wealth means more people are able to dine in small cafes. Common ingredients used in many Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam dishes include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, lemongrass, ginger, mint, chili, lime, basil, duck, chicken, pork, beef, prawn, squid, crab, egg, bean sprout, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, banana, tapioca, coconut, onions, tomatoes, mung bean, mushroom and more.

Ho Chi Minh cuisine has also been largely influenced by China, France and Cambodia. Noodles are commonly eaten during meals, as are various types of rolls. A typical meal would usually include 2 or 3 main meat or seafood dishes, along with vegetables or a salad, rice or noodles, 1 soup, 2 or 3 dipping sauces, and fruit or dessert. Because meals tend to be quite large, snacking isn't very common in Ho Chi Minh city.


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Inspired by the French, the Banh Mi Sandwich is a meat filled sandwich, using baguette as the bread. Typical fillings used for a Banh Mi Sandwich in Ho Chi Minh include Vietnam sausage, grilled pork, grilled beef, grilled chicken, pork belly, pork meatballs, eggs or tofu. Vegetables included within a Banh Mi Sandwich usually are cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, carrots, daikon or chili.

Banh Mi Sandwich 01


Banh Mi Sandwich 02


Banh Mi Sandwich 03


Banh Mi Sandwich 04


Banh Mi Sandwich 05



Vietnam Beer is usually a pale golden colour, with low alcohol content, and a light taste. Examples of local Beer commonly served in Ho Chi Minh City includes; Beer 333 Export, Beer Saigon Export, Beer Saigon Special, Beer Dai Viet, and Beer Dai Viet Super.

Beer 333 Export 01


Beer 333 Export 02


Beer 333 Export 03


Beer Saigon Export 01


Beer Saigon Export 02


Beer Saigon Special


Beer Dai Viet


Beer Dai Viet Super



Bo Luc Lac / Beef Luc Lac With Onions And Capsicum, literally translated to mean Shaking Beef, is a wok stir fried dish of beef cubes, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, onions, capsicum / bell peppers, garlic, tomato, pepper and peanut oil. The name 'Shaking Beef' stems from the chef having to shake the wok for 1 - 2 minutes while cooking.

Bo Luc Lac / Beef Luc Lac With Onions And Capsicum



Bong Thien Ly Xao Toi / Stir Fried Thien Ly Flower is a simple stir fry using a local Vietnam vegetable, the thien ly flower. This is simply tossed with garlic, salt and pepper in a wok, then served hot. Bong Thien Ly Xao Toi / Stir Fried Thien Ly Flower is still a rather uncommon dish in Ho Chi Minh city, but it's more common in the countryside of Vietnam.

Bong Thien Ly Xao Toi / Stir Fried Thien Ly Flower 01


Bong Thien Ly Xao Toi / Stir Fried Thien Ly Flower 02



Vietnamese love noodles, and a popular midday meal such as Bun Bi Cha Gio / Pork And Egg Roll Rice Noodle can be found sold along almost any street corner and small cafe. Consisting of rice vermicelli noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, lettuce, and pork stuffed fried egg rolls, Bun Bi Cha Gio / Pork And Egg Roll Rice Noodle is usually served dry. A sweet and sour chili sauce is served seperately, you then have to pour it over the dish, and mix well before eating it.

Bun Bi Cha Gio / Pork And Egg Roll Rice Noodle 01


Bun Bi Cha Gio / Pork And Egg Roll Rice Noodle 02



Bun Bo Hue / Beef Hue Style Noodle consists of rice vermicelli noodles, sliced marinated beef shank, onions, cabbage, mint, basil, coriander, bean sprouts, lime juice, cilantro, lemongrass, fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili, sugar and banana blossom. Bun Bo Hue / Beef Hue Style Noodle is associated with the former royal court of Vietnam, but today is commonly served throughout Ho Chi Minh city. It is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, sour, salty, bitter and sweet flavors.

Bun Bo Hue / Beef Hue Style Noodle 01


Bun Bo Hue / Beef Hue Style Noodle 02


Bun Bo Hue / Beef Hue Style Noodle 03


Bun Bo Hue / Beef Hue Style Noodle 04



A popular cold Vietnamese noodle dish, Bun Thit Nuong / Grilled Pork Rice Noodle consists of rice vermicelli noodles, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, cucumber, bean sprouts, chili, carrots, grilled pork shoulder and roasted peanuts. The sauce for Bun Thit Nuong / Grilled Pork Rice Noodle is served seperately, and then poured over the dish. This is a common street food eaten at any meal of the day.

Bun Thit Nuong / Grilled Pork Rice Noodle 01


Bun Thit Nuong / Grilled Pork Rice Noodle 02



Considered a royal Vietnamese dish, Ca Loc Hap Bau / Fish Loc Steamed With Pork Stuffed Cucumber consists of loc fish, steamed with onions, capsicum / bell peppers, carrot and tomatoes, over a sliced cucumber stuffed with minced pork. The resulting dish is both delicate yet flavourful, with a fragrant aroma.

Ca Loc Hap Bau / Fish Loc Steamed With Pork Stuffed Cucumber 01


Ca Loc Hap Bau / Fish Loc Steamed With Pork Stuffed Cucumber 02


Ca Loc Hap Bau / Fish Loc Steamed With Pork Stuffed Cucumber 03



Part of the fun of eating Vietnamese food is being able to make them yourself, such as with this Chao Tom Cuon Banh Trang / Grilled Shrimp Paste Rice Paper Roll. The shrimp paste is rolled around a stick of sugar cane and lemongrass, which gives it a flavourful profile when grilled.

Chao Tom Cuon Banh Trang / Grilled Shrimp Paste Rice Paper Roll 01


Chao Tom Cuon Banh Trang / Grilled Shrimp Paste Rice Paper Roll 02



Fried Lotus Seeds are a traditional snack in Ho Chi Minh city, and also consumed by many people throughout Vietnam. It is a simple snack, made by deep frying lotus seeds in peanut oil and then tossing with a bit of salt. Fried Lotus Seeds is said to have several health benefits including aiding digestion, preventing inflammation, and regulating blood pressure.

Fried Lotus Seeds 01


Fried Lotus Seeds 02


Fried Lotus Seeds 03



An iconic appetizer in Vietnam, Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll is found on many menus in Ho Chi Minh city. Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll consists of rice paper rolls stuffed with cabbage, carrots, onions, mint, pork loin, shrimp and cilantro. Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll is usually served with a dipping sauce of chili, fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Served at room temperature, Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll is considered one of the most delicious foods in the world.

Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll 01


Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll 02


Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll 03


Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll 04


Goi Cuon / Summer Salad Roll 05



A dish associated with Vietnamese royalty, the Hen Tron Xuc Banh Trang / Baby Clams Pancake consists of baby clams sauteed with garlic, ginger, cilantro, onions, lemongrass, salt, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, chili, roasted peanuts and roasted sesame seeds. It is usually served as part of a main meal, often with rice paper rolls, plain white rice, or stuffed into bread.

Hen Tron Xuc Banh Trang / Baby Clams Pancake



Muc Nupng Muoi Ot / Grilled Squid is a popular street seafood dish in Ho Chi Minh. Muc Nupng Muoi Ot / Grilled Squid is made with fresh squid, marinated with salt, pepper, chili and sugar, then grilled. It is more commonly served in areas of Vietnam near rivers, lakes or the ocean.

Muc Nupng Muoi Ot / Grilled Squid 01


Muc Nupng Muoi Ot / Grilled Squid 02



Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll is a Vietnamese dish that can refer to any number of deep fried stuffed spring rolls. The type of ingredients used in Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll vary widely, but more common types include pork, daikon, carrot, shrimp, mushrooms, tofu, crab, chicken, bean sprout or jicama.

Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll 01


Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll 02


Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll 03


Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll 04


Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll 05


Nem Ran / Fried Spring Roll 06



Ngheu Xao Voi Sot Kem Ot / Sauteed Chili Clams is a dish of fresh clams tossed in garlic, ginger, chili, lemongrass, ciantro and lime juice.

Ngheu Xao Voi Sot Kem Ot / Sauteed Chili Clams 01


Ngheu Xao Voi Sot Kem Ot / Sauteed Chili Clams 02



Considered an iconic dish of Vietnam, Pho Bo / Beef Noodle is widely served around Ho Chi Minh city. Pho Bo / Beef Noodle consists of rice vermicelli noodles, thin slices of beef flank / beef brisket / beef rump, beef balls, mint, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, lime juice, chili, fish sauce, onions, ginger, water, salt and sugar. The broth for Pho Bo / Beef Noodle is rich and flavorful, usually a result of several spices including cinnamon, clove, star anise, cardamom, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, salt, ginger and beef bones. Pho Bo / Beef Noodle is served with dipping sauces including hoisin sauce and hot chili sauce.

Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 01


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 02


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 03


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 04


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 05


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 06


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 07


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 08


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 09


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 10


Pho Bo / Beef Noodle 11



A fusion dish, with Asian ingredients used to make a Western condiment. The Thom Nau Xa / Pineapple Lemongrass Compote is a mix of sugar, sliced pineapple, lemongrass juice and water.

Thom Nau Xa / Pineapple Lemongrass Compote



Tien Vua / Chicken Salad is an uncommon dish in Vietnam, once relegated to the fringes of society, but now increasing in popularity in Ho Chi Minh city. Tien Vua / Chicken Salad is made with the vegetable rau tien vua, salt, sugar, carrots, vinegar, onions, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sliced chicken and roasted peanuts. Tien Vua / Chicken Salad can easily be pickled and stored for later use.

Tien Vua / Chicken Salad 01


Tien Vua / Chicken Salad 02



Inspired by Western cuisine, Vien Cha Ca Boc Trung Cut / Quail Egg Breaded With Fish Paste consists of a hard boiled quail egg wrapped in a breaded fish paste, then deep fried. Vien Cha Ca Boc Trung Cut / Quail Egg Breaded With Fish Paste is served as an appetizer.

Vien Cha Ca Boc Trung Cut / Quail Egg Breaded With Fish Paste



Vietnam Coffee is rightly famed for its strong flavourful body and extremely fragrant aroma. Fresh milk is almost never used, instead, all Vietnam Coffee is drunk with condensed milk. The most successful coffee company in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh is Trung Nguyen Coffee, with its line of G7 instant coffee and Weasel blend coffee.

Vietnam Coffee 01


Vietnam Coffee 02


Vietnam Coffee 03


Vietnam Coffee 04


Vietnam Coffee 05



Vietnam Fish Balls are made with fish paste, usually a local fish like snapper or pangasius catfish. Vietnam Fish Balls are typically small in size, and served as part of a main dish.

Vietnam Fish Balls



Grilled meats, like Grilled Chicken or Grilled Pork, are common ways of serving meat in Vietnam. Grilled meats are usually served as part of a main meal in Ho Chi Minh city, and rarely served in skewered or snack form.

Vietnam Grilled Chicken


Vietnam Grilled Pork



Vietnam Pumpkin Soup is served in a hollowed out pumpkin. Vietnam Pumpkin Soup is made with pumpkin, pork loin, onions, salt, pepper, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, coriander and sweet potato.

Vietnam Pumpkin Soup 01


Vietnam Pumpkin Soup 02



A weak Vietnam Tea, served as part of a complimentary drink when dining in cafes or restaurants.

Vietnam Tea 01


Vietnam Tea 02



White Rice is a common staple in every Vietnamese diet, and is usually served at every meal. White Rice is also the base for another Vietnamese staple, the rice vermicelli noodles.

White Rice



Sticky Rice, or Glutinous Rice, is very popular in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh. It is served as part of Xoi Nuoc Dua Thit Ga / Chicken Coconut Sticky Rice, where the rice is infused with coconut milk, and served with chicken braised in soy sauce. For variety, many street vendors often serve coloured Sticky Rice / Glutinous Rice, in colours such as white, red, green, brown and yellow.

Xoi Nuoc Dua Thit Ga / Chicken Coconut Sticky Rice 01


Xoi Nuoc Dua Thit Ga / Chicken Coconut Sticky Rice 02






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