Local street food is “cheap, delicious, and cooked in front of you,” says Amy Woodyatt at Budget Traveller. “Eating at street stalls is not only one of the best ways to munch and slurp your way through the many different kinds of Vietnamese cuisine, but is also incredibly cheap.” Pho costs just under $2 (£1.23) a bowl, and rice dishes are similarly priced, and “local restaurants are generally only marginally more expensive, charging under $5 (around £3) for similar dishes.”
Look for the words com binh dan, which means “rice for the common people,” says James Pham at Lonely Planet. “These small restaurants offer up hot, ready-made meals for less than US$1.50,” he explains, and “all you have to do is point to the dish you want.” Another economical eating tip: “Many glitzy cafes also have com van phong or ‘office workers’ lunch’ -- a soup, vegetable side and main -- for less than the cost of a cup of coffee during the day when there are relatively few customers.”
Without really trying at all, you can find tasty meals for under a dollar, says Matthew Pike at The Culture Trip. “Everyone knows about pho, but there are so many other amazing Vietnamese dishes that are all as cheap as a bottle of beer,” but try to avoid eating in your hostel “or any places that specifically cater to foreigners,” because their prices are usually inflated.