The must-have street foods in Ho Chi Minh city
Although Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest one in Vietnam with the fast pace of living, the imported fast foods never replace traditional street foods. Many local people choose street foods because of the tasty flavor and the reasonable price. Here is our guide to Ho Chi Minh City’s street food to have the most authentic cuisine experiences, which may be helpful to you.
The rice paper salad (Banh trang tron)
Banh trang tron (via yan.vn)
Being considered to be the most famous street food in Ho Chi Minh city and a popular snack, the rice paper salad is often sold in vendor, stall or eatery that is propped up simply with only a few plastic low chairs. Actually, few people like to enjoy this dish in the store. People frequently buy and take a bag of the rice paper salad to the public places such as the square in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the parks, etc to eat.
To make the rice paper salad, the circular rice papers are cut into stripes that are mixed with various ingredients including beef jerky, quail eggs, shredded mango, fried shallots, fried peanuts and "rau ram" (Vietnamese mint). Then the dry mixture is combined with a special dressing that has mainly the sour and spicy taste. The dressing makes the rice papers softer. The rice papers and beef jerky are chewy. The egg adds the creaminess to the dish. The fried peanut and shallot and "rau ram" make the dish more aromatic while the shredded thin mango is sour and crunchy.
All the ingredients absorb the dressing and get on really well together, causing "banh trang tron" to be an addictive dish. The price for a serving of "banh trang tron" is 10,000-20,000 VND ($0.5-1).
Inspired by French baguette, Vietnamese bread is a popular breakfast for the locals. Bread is rarely sold in the upscale restaurants but small stores, stalls or eateries on the streets, which are densely crowded, especially in the morning. Vietnamese bread is light in texture and crispy outside.
Bread of Saigon (24h.com.vn)
The filling can be varied from ham, roasted pork, fried egg or pate. Bread is stuffed with these protein foods and several types of vegetable such as coriander, cucumber or pickle that made of carrot and papaya. A Vietnamese bread can’t be complete if it lacks some splashes of chili jam to stimulate the taste.
Despite being made of the simple ingredients, in the first seconds you bite a piece of the bread, the flavor will surely break out in your mouth and you will be surprised at the perfect combination between the ingredients.
The seafood noodle with the fish fermented broth (Bun mam)
The seafood noodle with the fish fermented broth
This is a common dish in Southern Vietnam. The outstanding thing about the combo seafood noodle is the broth that is cooked with the fermented fishes that may be assumed to be smelly by some persons.
However, the broth is flavorful and tasty than you think. The noodle is topped with several ingredients such as fish, shrimp, squid, cha ca (fish cake), roasted pork. To make the broth lighter, the cook will season with little sugar and the pork stock powder. Lemongrass is also added and simmered with the broth for the fragrance and decrease the fishiness of the fish.
To prepare a serving of the combo seafood noodle, the seller will put the thick noodle into a bowl, then top with the seafood, pork and some garlic chives, and finally pour the hot broth over all the ingredients. This dish is often served with raw vegetables such as banana blossoms, the split stems of the water spinach, bean sprout, etc. You will certainly feel stuffed after finishing a bowl of the combo seafood noodle while the flavor will linger long in your mouth.
The broken rice (Com tam)
The remarkable thing about the broken rice is that the used rice is fractured rice grains. “Tam” means “grain” while “com” means “cooked rice” in Vietnamese. The broken rice is a normal dish but incredibly tasty.
The meat which is often eaten with the broken rice can be pork or chicken however pork is more popular. A simple version of the broken rice is the cooked broken rice with a roasted rib, an omelet, some slices of tomato and cucumber and pickle made of carrot and papaya. In recent years, people like to change little this traditional dish by adding egg meatloaf, pork skin, and spring roll so that the broken rice can be more flavorful and varied in texture. The broken rice is a delicate and delicious dish that is worth trying.
The stew with organ meats (Pha lau)
There are two types of the stew: the stew with beef organ meats and the stew with pork organ meat. However, beef stew is quite more popular. To cook the beef stew, the components of the beef organ such as tripe, kidney, stomach, lung, thymus, heart and intestine are stewed in the coconut juice with the curry powder, five spices, and some other herbs for hours until these organs are cooked well and tender.
The organs which are super tender, crunchy and chewy are served with a dipping sauce that is made of tamarind or the mixture of chili, pepper, salt, and lemon juice. The broth is extremely full of herbs fragrance. To make the dish more aromatic, people eat with "rau ram" (Vietnamese mint). The stew with organ meats can come with plain bread or noodle. Let’s try the stew with organ meats and you will fancy this dish at the first bite.
Pha lau (via kenh14.vn)
The vermicelli soup with pork and shrimp (Hu tieu)
This dish is common in Southern Vietnam. This vermicelli can be cooked in several ways such as Nam Vang style (in Phnom Penh style), My Tho style that originates from a city in Tien Giang province and Chinese style that is brought to Vietnam by the Chinese community. My Tho and Nam Vang method seem to be more popular and hold the Vietnamese culinary characteristics.
You can try the dry vermicelli which the thick dressing is poured over the noodle and comes with a separate bowl of broth and the wet vermicelli that the broth is poured in the noodle directly. The broth is extremely aromatic. However, you are highly recommended to try the dry vermicelli since the dressing is spectacular and unique since you have never tasted it in any dishes of Vietnam. Mix the noodle with some raw vegetables and your taste will be sure woken up.
These above ones are the must-have street foods that you must try in case of visiting Ho Chi Minh city. Once you have experienced these dishes, they will certainly leave a strong impression on your mouth. Hopefully, our guide to Ho Chi Minh City’s street food is helpful to you.
Do not hesitate to take tours to Vietnam. Why don’t you take Vietnam tours packages to discover the best places to visit in Ho Chi Minh city. Vietnam is waiting for you. Share the post if you find it useful.