Hanoi has great, authentic street food. Ho Chi Minh, however, is quite a bit more developed than it’s northern counterpart. This mean that the food is a bit more expensive, a bit more “refined”, and a whole different ball game. You get food from all over the world very easily (I had my first greek food in years here, so it’s better than Sapporo, Japan!). This list will have more specific places to stop buy while visiting the southern capital! Hope you’re not too hungry!
Chicken Pho at Pho Quynh
I will never have pho better than this in my entire life. After eating plenty of pho, this place was one we stopped at near the end of our trip. It was just light and refreshing and so, freaking, perfect. The shop is pretty crowded and has about 5 stories to it. Ho Chi Minh is The City of Climbing Stairs when you take into account this place and the 6th floor walkup we had for our hostel room. Just look at this pho! It’s served to you from AN ELEVATOR. I don’t know it was just cool and everything about it was awesome.
Black Pepper Sauce Pork Banh Mi at My Banh Mi
This place is located right next to the Notre Dame in Ho Chi Minh City, and it was home to some of the lesser traditional banh mi’s. We went with some guys we met at the hostel and had lunch here, and it was the best sandwich I have ever eaten. The black pepper sauce was A++, but I am a sucker for anything and everything black pepper so it’s no surprise. The other sauces were also very good according to what the people I was with said, so I think it’s a safe bet that whatever you order here will be fantastic. Plus, the restaurant was air conditioned! That was a great added bonus.
You should know of my love affair with rice noodles from the Hanoi post, and this dish played on that love. It was a lot of food and I barely ate half of what was given to me, but for the price (85,000 dong – just under $4 US) it’s hard to complain about wasting food. The spring rolls were amazing, the pork surprisingly refreshing. I need to make more of these noodle dishes.
Fancy Vietnamese White Coffee at Cafe RuNam
This was the fanciest place we went on our trip, and we felt a little weird all sweaty and casual in this very nice looking cafe, but it was a great experience and a nice way to get out of the heat. I suggest sitting on the first floor if you visit here because the upper floors are kind of warm. The bathroom on the second floor has some interesting pictures of women from times passed as well. But, mainly, I really liked the coffee. It was served in a super fancy manner with this little seeping cup thing that you then poured over your ice. I am a simple woman when it comes to coffee so it really doesn’t take a lot to impress me.
Pizza from Espy Pizza
It’s not secret that the pizza situation in Japan really made me sad. I longed for a nice, New York style slice the entire time I lived there, and I tried countless pizzas only to be left feeling disappointed and broke by the end of eating it. I mean, pizza is pizza but there is something special about great pizza. And Espy Pizza was just that. I don’t know if I have ever been happier eating a pizza than I was sitting in Ho Chi Minh eating the two slices I got here. The owner is also really cool and worth talking to if he’s around. It was everything I missed about pizza in America and super affordable.
As you can see Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi has very different food scenes. Which one looks better to you? Have you had food in both cities? Which one did you enjoy most? Let me know in the comments!