Earlier this year, in between our trip to Japan and Thailand, we stopped in Vietnam for a couple days. We landed in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), still affectionately referred to as Saigon to many even after being renamed after the war in 1976.
The city is super busy, full of motorbikes everywhere and people all around. We did a short two days in Saigon, before heading to Hoi An & Da Nang. When visiting Saigon, its mainly all about the food. We just walked around and ate all day long! There are a bunch of touristy things to do, which I’ll showcase the few we went to, but you can easily find a list through Tripadvisor. I’ll mostly be reliving the delicious, mouth watering foods we ate!
26 Le Rieng Ben Thanh 1, HCMC
Hours: 3:30 PM – Midnight, Daily
– One of the most popular and well known banh mi places in HCMC
– I can’t believe how delicious the banh mi is in Vietnam! The bread is so soft yet flaky!
– I love mine with an egg added on- order Thit Nuong & Heo Qua (Roast Pork): get one of each!
– Around 30,000 VND for one banhmi
53 Cao Thang, Phuong 3, HCMC
– Morning breakfast spot we stopped by, close to Ben Thanh market
– Get banh mi op la and try the banh cuon
– Finish off breakfast with some fresh coconut juice or a traditional caphe sua da
40B Tran Cao Van Phung 6, District 3, HCMC
– Food to try: banh xeo, banh khot, goi cuon
– Huge crispy banh xeo!
– You can definitely find cheaper street vendors selling banh xeo, but my husband’s cousin wanted us to try a mix of street vendors and restaurants.
26 Ly Tu Trong Level 1 HCMC
– Little hipster viet cong themed coffee cafe
– Waiters speak English
– Definitely get the coconut coffee drink, its delicious!
– I really liked the amarella drink for a fruity drink, its called “coc” in Vietnamese. I’ve never seen this drink/fruit in the US before
– You can find this cafe through an alley way full of art work and up some stairs
– Always bargain for goods
– Lots of little stall restaurants, definitely get some che (vietnamese dessert pictured below). The store owners are quite pushy in terms of trying to get you to eat at their particular stall!
– Check out the outdoor night market in the evening
Our last meal before we left
PLACES TO SEE
We ordered food from this cute little cute old lady at the park (probably need a Vietnamese speaker since she doesn’t know any English). We ordered some drinks, mangos mixed up with nuoc nam and spices, and snacks. They even give you newspaper to sit on top of if you don’t want to sit on the ground (just in case you were wondering what it was for)! It was a nice little break from walking around.
76A Le Lai Rooftop of AB Tower, HCMC
– Go for the view & some expensive drinks
– Mix of locals and expats
– Strict dress code
– Crowded and lively at night
– Good place to bar hop
– Many foreigners
MERCI Nails & Bistro17/6 Thanh Ton, District 1, HCMC
-Tues to Sunday 9 AM – 9 PM
08 3825 8799
– Luxury nail experience in Saigon, expensive for Vietnam, but compared to American prices, it was about $20 for a fancy design manicure
– Owned by a French lady, super nice atmosphere
– Not dingy, clean, non water manicures and pedicures
– Able to make RSVP ahead of time by calling or emailing
Definitely get a cheap massage as well! There are so many stores you can check out. Just be careful because many of them like to do reflexology, which is great, but also hurts if you aren’t too familiar with them!
There are so many good street food places as well, but unfortunately I don’t know the names and addresses of many of them (bun rieu, street food pictured above). Make sure you eat pho, of course! That’s a MUST when in Vietnam. Food is so cheap, so if you see something good or a popular shop, don’t be afraid to try it! It was a quick trip to Saigon, but we’ll be back once again!
Leaving you longing for a big bowl of pho!
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