So your visiting Vietnam and your hungry. You want something to eat, but where can you go. Well chances are there will be a street stall selling street food very near to wherever you are. One thing that Saigon and Vietnam in general offers in abundance is street food and some of the best street food in the world. So what should you eat if you’re going to eat street food. Here’s a handy list of the 5 best street foods for your money. None of this will cost you more than $2-3 per dish and will more than satisfy your palate. These are all traditional Vietnamese foods, so you can also experience a bit of the culture while satisfying your tastes for a delicious and healthy meal
Beef noodles (Phở bò)
This is by far the most popular street food both in and out of Vietnam. Most people who don’t know much about Vietnam cuisine or Vietnamese street food can still recognize this dish. It is also sometimes called in English beef noodle soup. It’s a kind of soup with thin slices of beef (or pork, or chicken, depending on the kind you buy) with vegetables and rice noodles added in. It is delicious and one of the most popular things for Vietnamese to eat for breakfast. But really this amazing dish is good anytime of the day or night. It’s the most famous traditional Vietnamese food in Vietnam, North, South or Central.
Broken rice (Cơm tấm)
Broken rice is another very famous Vietnam street food dish, though it’s not as well known outide of Vietnam as Pho is, but it’s every bit as delicious. They call it broken rice, but really it’s rice served with pork skin or pork ribs and vegetables. There is also a sweet fish sauce that goes with it and often there will be an egg cake or quail eggs that come with it as well. The ‘broken rice’ itself comes topped with chives and maybe a little garlic. The whole meal is amazing with all the different flavour profiles assaulting your taste buds. Definitely worth eating if you’re trying street food in Saigon.
Sticky rice (Xôi)
Sticky rice is again a blend of many different flavours which all come together to create a very interesting flavour profile. There isn’t a lot of difference in the rice itself between sticky rice and broken rice, however there is a world of difference in the way it’s flavoured. Sticky rice is a blend of salty and sweet with a hint of spice (if you like it with chili). There are two different styles of sticky rice between the North and the South, though I’ve only ever had the Southern style of sticky rice. It comes with a kind of sweet corn pudding on top and also shredded pork as well. So you get the sweet with the corn and the salty with the pork. In the south dried shrimp or Chinese sausage might be added instead of shredded pork. There are many different ways to make the sticky rice, but it’s always good.
Fresh spring roll (Gỏi cuốn)
This is again very famous for Vietnamese street food. It’s a personal favourite of mine. There are many, many different kinds of spring rolls, but the most common Rolls in the Southern part of Vietnam are usually sold with shrimp and vegetables wrapped in rice paper. There are also deep fried spring rolls, but the fresh rolls are the best. They are dipped in a brown peanut fish sauce that is sweet and flavourful. This is a very healthy and delicious lunch. And easy to eat while on the go. And the best thing is they are always fresh.
Saigon baguette (Bánh mỳ Sài Gòn)
Another very popular street food Is the Vietnamese sandwich or Banh my (pronounced bine me) This is a sandwich that is found everywhere you go in Saigon on nearly every street corner and is a quick and easy snack for those that are on the go. This sandwich consists of a baguette filled with liver pate, pork, and a variety of vegetables including cucumber, green onion, chili and coriander. It also contains sweet pickled carrots and white radish. Again it’s full of flavour and has a really great flavour profile. It’s a wonderful sandwich and is very cheap, usually only around 1 dollar for a whole sandwich.
So in conclusion…
Enjoy some great street food next time you’re in Vietnam and eat healthy too. Try the traditional Vietnam food and give your mouth a real treat. There is a reason that Vietnam is famous for street food and that’s because the flavours of the food are so delicious and satisfying. Try the pho and banh my and walk away a satisfied customer.