“Thousands of vendors in this frenetic city lure the senses,” says Dan Tham at CNN. “Influences and regional dishes from all over Vietnam crowd the streets, from the shrimp and pork filled tapioca dumplings of central Vietnam to the north's bun cha noodles.” The street food scene in Saigon “permeates every district, neighbourhood, and alleyway; the city boasts so many street food outlets that, at times, Saigon feels like one gigantic, open-air restaurant,” writes Vietnam Coracle. “Every day, thousands of street-side eateries offer up delicious, cheap food in an informal environment on the city’s sidewalks” -- and lists it seven favourite streets for street food in Saigon.
Walking through the streets of HCMC, you can smell “all sorts of wondrous things,” says The City Lane, which offers two practical tips to eating street food in the city:
Eat where the locals are eating: “Generally speaking, food establishments stay in business not because of the tourist trade, but because of the locals that eat there day in and day out … if you come across a place that is busy and full of locals, chances are it’s good … if it was making people sick, it would be neither busy nor full of locals.”
Look for food that you can see being cooked: “Most of the street carts and hole in the wall restaurants in Vietnam have the raw ingredients and cooking stations in clear view … if something is being cooked fresh in front of your eyes, you can see for yourself exactly what’s going on … contrast this to a restaurant with a closed kitchen that you can’t see.”
There are lots of guides to Saigon’s best street food. If you want to experience Vietnamese cuisine like a true local, follow your taste buds to these dining destinations selected by Paste magazine. Or have a look at Migrationology’s 25 Must-Eat Dishes in Saigon (and Where To Try Them) or The Culture Trip’s list of the best street food outlets in Saigon. Or take a real guide: Street Foodies Saigon offers a selection of seven roadside stalls on a 2.5 kilometre route over an evening.