Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


You're spoiled for choice when it comes to food in Ho Chi Minh City, offering Vietnam's largest variety of Vietnamese and international dishes. Authentic local food at bargain prices is one of the glories of Vietnam, but it's getting harder to find as the city becomes ever more upscale and cosmopolitan. Furthermore, restaurant prices, especially in the city centre, have gone up due to a combination of higher food prices, rising wages and soaring real estate costs.
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Food in Ho Chi Minh City shows influences from French colonial times - bakeries here have fresh and excellent baguettes ("Banh mi"), which they will fill with cheese and potted with meat, onions and other combinations. Beef is used in various dishes, whether in any of the many variations of "pho" (rice noodles in broth) or regional specialties such as "bun bo hue" or Hue beef soup. Vietnamese omelettes, consisting of a delicious filling of your choice (bamboo shoots, enoki mushrooms, meat, prawns, and more) in a crispy outer crepe-like casing are fantastic.

A bowl of pho by Ewan Munro

Though prices at restaurants have gone northward, local food at bargain prices can still be found - try the street food. If you want a wide variety of street food you need to try another district besides the city centre. District 5 is good and District 3 gets better and cheaper. Like Hanoi, street food in Ho Chi Minh City has become a culture cuisine and the best time is to enjoy the food in the evenings, when its cooler and has livelier atmosphere.

Street food in Ho Chi Minh City by Alan Turkus

Vietnam is the worlds second largest exporter of coffee behind Brazil, and "ca phe" is very popular among the Vietnamese. It's a paradise for coffee-loving visitors! The local style is strong, sweet and milk version uses condensed instead of fresh milk. Prices range from 10,000 to 20,000 dong for coffee in the local style. Espresso, cappuccino and American-style filter coffee are also widely available in the tourist district, usually at 2-8 times the price of the local style. You will be able to differentiate the better places if they use fresh instead of condensed milk.

Guide to
Ho Chi Minh City
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