Top Street Food And Drinks In Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

Tuesday, 01/09/2020

We are a local people in Ho Chi Minh and did a Vietnam Saigon tour operator in 9 years of experience, we also youtober of top street food and drinks in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam.

If you are also a curious tourist about the Vietnamese cusine street food so book the Ho Chi Minh tour 4 days with us now to have a very tasty treats of the local street food tour now.

Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon Vietnam) is most definitely a magical place for your tastebuds. The balancing act between warming and cooling ingredients, between heavier meats and lighter rice-based carbs, fresh herbs to round out the taste, never get old. I’m no culinary anthropologist, but in learning through eating, and being corrected by others also passionate about food, I’ve hopefully created a crash course here that will help travellers discover more about the city.

Top street food and drinks in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam wanted to give everyone a self-guided street food tour that they could enjoy without me. It includes my favourite places to grab soups, snacks, and more. And I’ve also included sections for restaurants, drinks, and getting around town.
Street Food and Local Stalls in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon Vietnam)
I’ve tried to include as many photos of these foods as possible, since my descriptions might not do the trick but a photo usually does.

1. Banh Beo Saigon

Top Street Food And Drinks In Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

Part of the cuisine from central Vietnam, banh beo (literally “water fern cake”) are small round discs of rice flour, formed to look like lily flower pads found in the estates surrounding the old imperial city of Hue. Topped with crunchy pork rinds and toasted shrimp powder and served with fish sauce, they are a very rewarding dish to share as they usually come in multiples of 8 or 10.

Location: Banh Beo Nam Giao Saigon
136 Le Thanh Ton Street, in an alleyway behind Ben Thanh market. District 1
+84 (8) 3825 0261.

2.Banh Da Xuc Hen 

I have a list of foods that sound like other foods in the local language. For example, the word for water in Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia is “air” — and obviously air in English is not food. In Vietnamese, the word for baby clams is “hen” — quite confusing at first, since I ordered it expecting a rice and chicken bowl, not even thinking that obviously hen would not be an actual hen. My brain did not compute.

Banh da xuc hen is a lovely and satisfying snack. A large rice paper crisp with hints of sesame and coconut arrives on a plate. It looks bare, but then you lift up the rice cracker and peek underneath, finding a pile of teeny tiny clams fried in lemongrass, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), chilli, onion and garlic. It is a simple dish in terms of ingredients but the taste is profoundly different than anything else I have tried. If you want a heavier version of this plate, opt for the com hen, rice topped with the same type of clams and served with a small bowl of clam broth on the side.

Location: Hong Hanh 
17A Nguyen Thi Minh Khao Street, District 1
+84 (8) 3827 4252

3.Banh Canh Cua

Banh canh noodles are Vietnam’s version of udon, a thicker noodle that can be made with either tapioca flour, rice flour, or a combination of the two. The cua in this soup is crab, and the result is a viscous crab soup with thick noodles — not for those who shrink from goopy foods. Thickened with tapioca flour (and thus gluten free) it’s a satisfying meal for those who like their food consistencies to be adventurous, and with chillies, green onions, and fresh lime on top, a very tasty bowl.

Location: Kim Long
80/68 Tran Quang Dieu Street, District 3
+84 (8) 3843 6498

4. Banh Cuon

Steamed rice crepes filled with wood ear mushrooms and ground pork often seasoned with white pepper, banh cuon are a wonderful breakfast meal that covers all bases. I’d take this for breakfast over eggs and bacon any day, to the consternation of Western friends.

But why not? You’ve got your carbs, your meat, your vegetables, and it comes topped with lightly steamed bean sprouts, chopped basil, and fried curls of shallots. It’s filling but not heavy, peppery but not too spicy.

Top Street Food And Drinks In Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

The dish literally translates to “rolled cake”, and originated up North, but is prevalent throughout Saigon. Each bite can be dipped into a sweet fish sauce with as much chilli as you’d like to add. When heading to the restaurant below, also try the fried bean cakes (photo below). Bonus points for the cutest chilli holder in all of Saigon.

Location: Banh Cuon Tay Ho 1
127 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, District 1

5.Banh Khot & Banh Xeo

Banh khot (mini knots of fried rice cakes) with a recipe here, but am grouping them with banh xeo (larger sizzling rice crepes) since the restaurant serves both. There are many recommendations in town for banh xeo, most famously Banh Xeo 46A, which is on the ‘Bourdain trail’ (he visited the place during his Saigon episode). I personally like them both, especially when wrapped in a blanket of mustard leaves and herbs.

Given that it’s a personal preference, I am sending you to a restaurant that does both well. The banh xeo is not oily, the banh khot come with a variety of toppings on offer, and it’s got a filtered water system for the fresh herbs and vegetables so those with extremely delicate stomachs need not fear.

Location: Banh Khot Co Ba Vung Tau
At 40B Trần Cao Vân near the Turtle Pond.

6.Banh Tam Bi

I only discovered banh tam bi recently, toward the end of my latest visit to the city. On my way to the Co-op supermarket for some groceries, I passed a lovely new-looking restaurant with wood tables and chairs and a fun logo. Looking at the menu I saw the familiar hu tieu (see below), but did not know what banh tam bi was. So of course I delayed my grocery trip for a meal, a bit concerned because banh tam translated to “silkworm noodles” and I wondered what I would get for lunch. It turns out that they are tapioca noodles that merely look like silkworms, and are coated with a thick coconut sauce, pickled vegetables, a pork meatball, some pork sausage, and more.

I proceeded to text a bunch of food-inclined friends “I FOUND A NEW FOOD COME MEET ME NOW IT’S DELICIOUS”. Unsurprisingly, I returned quite a few times before I left town. I’ve found few places in Saigon that serve this Mekong dish from Bac Lieu, but Quan Sadec remains the best I’ve tried in town. Those who take issue with goopy foods might want to skip it; it’s gelatinous and fabulous, but not for those who are sensitive to consistencies in food.

Location: Quan Sadec
154 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1

7.Bot Chien

A greasy fave, bot chien involves rice flour cakes that are chopped into chunky squares and then fried in a large flat pan with whipped eggs and green onions. For those familiar with Singapore food, it’s reminiscent of chai tow kueh, but with rice instead of radish.

It’s served when crispy, with a sweet rice vinegar and soy sauce concoction, and some shredded pickled young papaya to cool down the dish. While available throughout Saigon, usually on the street, the restaurant below has indoor long table seating and waitresses in quintessentially bright Vietnamese daytime pyjamas.

No one spoke English on my visits, but pointing at the bot chien ought to do you fine.

Location: Bot Chien Dat Thanh
277 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3 

8.Bun Bo Hue

I wish this wonderful soup from central Vietnam’s city of Hue was as popular as pho outside the country. The two are very different soups. Bun bo Hue is made with lemongrass and chilli, its broth both citrusy and strong, laden with thick cuts of meat.

Paprika or anatto oil render the broth its fiery orange colour, and fermented shrimp paste lends a complicated layer of taste, one my Western palate was not acquainted with before trying the soup. These ingredients have been in other dishes I’ve tasted, but for some reason, this soup from the former imperial capital of Vietnam manages to bring them together in magical ways.
For a recipe, Wandering Chopsticks goes into the soup in more detail.

Location: Bun Bo Hue Dong Ba
110A Nguyen Du, District 1
+84 (8) 3912 5742

9.Bun Cha Ha Noi

As with many of the meals in Hanoi that were taken to Saigon, what is normally a breakfast or early lunch food up north is an all-day treat in Saigon. While some bun cha joints are open early only, most will be full around lunch and dinnertime as well, hungry diners piling bowls with fresh herbs and smoky pork.

This dish, a fave among my friends, comprises seasoned pork patties and thin slices of pork belly, both grilled until crispy and served in a bowl with sweet fish sauce, slices of young papaya and carrot, and garlic. On the side, a bowl of plain rice noodles (the “bun” part of the name) and a big basket of fresh herbs like perilla, mint, and stinky fish herb.

To eat, a bit of everything goes into your serving bowl: a handful of noodles, some pieces of pork, spoonfuls of the sweet fish sauce and herbs. If you like perilla as much as I do, you’ll need to ask for seconds. I’ve tried quite a few places around town but this one on Mac Dinh Chi remains my fave. It’s busiest at lunch time, and closes at 8pm.

Location: Quan Anh Hong
34A Mac Dinh Chi, District 1

10.Bun Mam

When I describe bun mam to friends — a noodle soup with a fermented fish broth and seafood and pork belly and so much more — I watch their faces fall. For many the words “fermented fish broth” isn’t what they want to hear. But the soup is actually skews sweet thanks, and with thick rice noodles and chunks of delicious fish and meat, it’s not to be missed.

Top Street Food And Drinks In Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

This bun mam stand is also close to Ben Thanh market, but it is often full of locals. Tourists walk by with a concerned and curious look on their face, but rarely stop in. I usually bring people here if it is their first visit to Saigon, convincing them that the words “fermented” and “fish” don’t need to be a bad thing when grouped together.

The owner, a gruff but loveably guy, finally stopped a reporter who was interviewing me to ask what I did for a living, baffled at how I kept rocking up with new people. When told I was a “food journalist” he beamed, and started having me flag tourists down to convince them to eat there when I was in the area.

I brought him the full piece, which included a big photo outside his stall and the title “Girl Eats World” before I left town. It’s more expensive than the usual street meal – 65,000 dong – but locals pay the same price. The portions are generous and the ingredients very good quality, so I have no problem paying a bit more.

Where: Bun Mam Dac San
22 Phan Boi Chau, District 1

11.Bun Moc

Bun moc has been my go-to soup when I had no idea what else to eat, when my tastebuds were overwhelmed with the variety of other meals throughout the day and just wanted a simple bowl, with savoury pork and mushroom broth.

Broth aside, the soup’s fun lies in its accoutrements — slices of cha lua (a pork meatloaf coated in a cinnamon outer layer), slices of thin pork meat, and meatballs made of pork. Despite being a pork festival, it’s actually quite light, and the thin rice noodles compliment the meat well.

The soup is topped with fried shallots and fresh cilantro. Most tourists haven’t heard of bun moc, but it’s a nice counterpoint to the strong flavours of the pork and rice dishes below. The few kids I’ve brought seem to love it too, so it might be a good starter dish if you are travelling with a family.

Where: Bun Moc Than Mai
14 Truong Dinh, District 1

12.Bun Rieu Cua

I wrote at length about bun rieu, including some history, in a post about how I had to fight for a bowl in the Mekong. Suffice it to say that this pungent crab and tomato soup is incredible, and the version in the photos above (address below) is not as strongly fishy as some of the others in town. If you want to dip your foot into bun rieu start with the lovely lady above, and then try it about town. She usually avoids giving foreigners the blood cube prevalent in bun rieu, so if offal is your thing, insist on yours. She’ll provide extra with a beaming smile.

Location: Corner of Pasteur Street & Ly Tu Trong street, District 1. If she’s not there, please try the corner of Nguyen Du & Pasteur street as she tends to be at one of those two spots.
The lady above is the person you’re looking for :-)
Only open between 10am – 3pm.

13. Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio

Bun thit nuong, how I love thee. Abbreviated as BTN by friends, this dish is found throughout the city and combines all of the satisfying textures you might want for lunch in one heaping bowl of food. Rice vermicelli noodles, grilled boneless pork, a crispy pork spring roll (often with taro), which is the cha gio part of the name, and fresh lettuce and herbs. You top it with spoonfuls of sweet fish sauce and chilli, letting the sweet and pungent liquid seep into every bit of your food.

There are a myriad of BTN places that I frequent and enjoy, but the one below is my favourite because the spring rolls remain the most satisfying. Instead of rolling them in cloudy rice paper, this vendor uses a big banh trang rice paper that has been softened, much like we use for the fresh goi cuon (summer rolls) when making them in Canada.

The result is a thin and crispy outside layer and extraordinary spring roll. I’ve ordered extra every time I frequent Chi Thong.

Location: Chi Thong
195 Co Giang, District 1

14.Canh Chua

As I’ve mentioned when I came to Vietnam in 2012 for the first time, and in my recent posts, canh chua was the reason I first visited. This sweet and sour soup with rice paddy herb and pineapple, fish and tomatoes, can be found along the street in the Mekong, but rarely as street food in District 1. This restaurant, which also serves some good chicken dishes and fried fish, provides a heaping bowl — photo is above. Order with a side of white rice to make it into a full meal.

Where: Quan Com So 7
3 Nguyen Van Trang, District 1,
+84 8 3835 8175

15.Canh Kho Qua

Not everyone enjoys bitter tastes, but for those who do: bitter melon is for you. For this dish, canh kho qua nhoi thit, the bitter melon is boiled long enough so the bitterness curls just at the end of your tongue, after the other flavours sink in.

A light but comforting meal, it is served in soup form, with the melon stuffed with ground pork, wood ear mushrooms and occasionally glass noodles. It is then tied together and cooked in a clear broth, topped with cilantro for serving. If you can’t get to Saigon but this sounds like it is up your alley, a recipe here. For those heading to the restaurant below, you can order with some pork chops for the table, or with just a side of rice.

Where: Com Tam Tu Quy
Cho Tan Dinh (Tan Din Market), near the corner of Hai Ba Trung street and Nguyen Huu Cau street, District 3
Yellow sign of the same name, plus waiters all wearing yellow shirts
5pm until late.

16.Che Chuoi

Che chuoi is a sweet banana and tapioca dessert, floating in a sea of coconut cream and topped with sesame and crushed peanuts. It is one che dessert in a long line of che options; see the Wikipedia page for a start on the others. I’ve found many friends didn’t enjoy the mung bean or black bean che treats, but all went for che chuoi like it was going out of style.

Top Street Food And Drinks In Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

The stall below is actually run by one gentleman — sometimes aided by his son — and his bowls of desserts, so you can pick and choose different options, including taro with coconut milk (che khoi mon). 

Where: 241 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3
Located right on the street, directly in front of Thien Ban Pagoda.

17.Com Suon

A very popular Saigon lunch or dinner (sometimes breakfast too), this rice and grilled pork chop meal will fill you up quickly and cheaply. You will also get a spoonful of green onions fried in pork fat atop the chop itself, as well as some crispy pieces of pork rind. Served with a tiny pile of pickled vegetables, and usually a small bowl of light broth on the side. For those even hungrier, try com suon op la (grilled pork chop over rice with a fried egg). You’ll be full well into dinner time.

Where: The com suon joint directly across the street from the entrance to the water puppets show on Nguyen Thi Minh Khi, not far from the park’s entrance. Essentially: between Truong Dinh and Huyen Trang Cong Chua.
It’s on the opposite side of the road as the park, and you will find it based on your nose, and the grill of pork at the side of the road.
So good.

18.Com Tam

Com tam, literally “broken rice”, started out as a dish served with lowered prices, since the rice did not meet standards for export and was thus available at a reduced price. It is a street food staple in Saigon, found on almost every corner in one form or another. The broken rice is kept to the side, with a glass shelf holding the stars of the lunch show: a panoply of incredible cooked dishes, some braised, some boiled, some stewed, that are meant to be eaten with the rice. Some of the restaurants also give you a banana as dessert.

A favourite with com tam is ca kho to, photo above, a rich braised catfish dish. For those who don’t like fish, fried chicken, pork belly with braised eggs, and fish cooked in pineapple and vegetables are usually on offer too. The best advice I can give is go in a group and order to share.

The restaurant below is owned by Hai of Eating Saigon (blog below), and provides a field trip out of District 1 and some terrific food. For those wanting to stay closer to ‘home’ you can head to the corner of Mac Dinh Chi and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai for a com tam place (just past the KFC) that opens from 10am-2pm.

Where: Dong Hoa Xuan
49 No Trang Long, Binh Thanh District
+84 (8) 3510 1771

19.Cuon Diep

These are a simple but surprisingly fulfilling treats consisting of mustard leaves that are rolled around vermicelli noodles and chopped up mushrooms and tofu. Served with a sweet peanut sauce, they satisfy both the crunchy and the healthy wants at once. I would often head to Tib Chay for a fix.

Where: Tib Chay
11 Tran Nhat Duat, District 1
+84 8 3843 6460

20.Hu Tieu

Hu tieu soups are a complicated beast. I’ll kick this off with a paragraph from the Loving Pho blog, who wrote about the soup:

The three most recognized types are Hu Tieu Nam Vang (hu tieu Phnom Penh style,) Hu Tieu My Tho (after the capital city of Tiền Giang Province, located in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam,) and Hu Tieu Chinese style. The Chinese had a lot to do with hu tieu being in Vietnam in the first place. […] Chinese-Cambodian brought the dish from Cambodia (hence the Phnom Penh style,) and Vietnamese borrowed it and made their own Viet versions.

The complicatedness doesn’t stop there, however, because hu tieu also means just the noodle and not necessarily in soup form. I know. Let’s turn to Andrea Nguyen’s great recipe for hu tieu Nam Vang for more.

The noodles in a bowl of hu tieu can be chewy clear tapioca noodles, opaque white rice noodles like you’d use for pho noodle soup, or thin Chinese egg noodles (mi). The toppings cover a wide territory, and may include boneless pork, pork ribs, pork offal, shrimp, squid, wonton dumplings, fried garlic, fried shallot, and/or scallion. As usual, you pick and choose whatever you want. Hu tieu is the extreme have-it-your-way Vietnamese food experience. I’ve seen a ‘dry’ version too but have never tried it.

Basically what I’m saying is, on your wanderings around town if you see a form of hu tieu you should just try it because it’s rarely the same twice. Though Andrea’s recipe is the ‘wet’ version of broth in the soup, I prefer it kho or dry, where the noodles are separate as in the photo above. This is because I like to add just a few spoonfuls of the broth, so the noodles remain springy. Plus, the post-meal dessert? More broth. The restaurant below is central, but this category of soup is also all over the streets, with the Chinese-style soup found more often than not in beautifully ornate wooden carts with Chinese lettering.

It’s important to note that some forms of hu tieu soups don’t actually use hu tieu noodles – mi (egg noodles, which are wheat-based) are unsafe for celiacs.

I’ve got a hu tieu lady in every District. You should too.

Where: Quan Mi Cat
62 Truong Dinh District 1

21.Pho Bo

PHO! I couldn’t leave this dish out of the list, though as I quickly found when I visited for the first time, there is so much more to food in Vietnam than this popular soup. It merits repeating that there two primary types of beef phos you can get in Saigon, the Southern-style (sweeter, less spices in the broth, sometimes cuttlefish added to the broth as well), or Hanoi-style.

Hanoi was where the soup originated and while I love Saigon dishes, I do prefer the northern broth. It is more savoury, with a heady aftertaste of cinnamon, star anise, and roasted ginger.

It tastes denser to me, thicker with the spices, and regardless of whether I eat it with raw or cooked beef, it is a satisfying meal. I think my preference also stems from novelty; many of the soups I’ve tried in Montreal or New York were from Southern Vietnamese who fled during the diaspora, and thus brought with them a more Southern recipe. I was surprised to find the Northern-style soups far less sweet than I remembered from Montreal.

When I first spent the winter in Vietnam, I dedicated specific days of the week to a particular dish. Wednesdays were banh xeo days, Tuesdays were all about oc, snails, and Thursdays were earmarked for pho.

Top Street Food And Drinks In Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

So, I have eaten many-a-pho around town but three different options stand out. The first was recommended by Tom of Vietnam Coracle (his blog is in the blog section below), and remains my favourite, as close as I’ve found to the great phos I tried in Hanoi.

The second is owned by Prison Granny from my Why I Love Saigon piece, and is part of why I decided to take an apartment nearby; it was just that good. The third is a Chinese-style pho, a bit sweeter, but for meat-lovers it is a solid option. The nearby area — especially the side alleys off of Vo Van Tan street — is fun to explore.

Where: Pho Phuong (photo below)
25 Hoang Sa Street, District 1, right on the canal’s edge
+84 (8) 3910 2422

Where: Pho Thanh Binh (photo below)
18bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1
Where: Pho Le (no photo)
303-305 Vo Van Tan Street
+84 (8) 3834 4486

22.Pho Ga.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, all I want is chicken noodle soup. Sadly this option is often off the table (literally) in North America; as a celiac, I can’t eat the noodles.

But Vietnam is a perfect place for sick celiacs, because their chicken soup is made with thick rice noodles. This pho ga (ga is chicken) place also serves pho bo (bo meaning beef), but I wouldn’t go there for the beef soup. Instead opt for their flavourful, rich chicken broth and thinly sliced chicken breast.

those wanting a different fix, opt for mien ga (mien are mung bean noodles), both of which come with their signature spicy sauce, pickled garlic, and basket ‘o herbs. Note that this is a place taxi drivers frequent at all hours of the night — it’s open 24 hours a day. It was a frequent visit during bouts of the flu, or even when full but walking by; one sniff of their chicken broth and you do an about turn and sit down for a bowl.

Where: Pho So 1 Ha Noi
25 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1
Open 24 hours. 

23.Banh Mi

I can’t eat it, since it’s wheat, so I apologize for not being able to opine about the best one. However! Voracious friends recommend the two following places:

Where: Banh Mi Huynh Hoa 
26 Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành, District 1

Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai (aka Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng, Hẻm 39)

Drinks and Smoothies in Saigon

Selection of places for beverages of different kinds, fancy and casual.

1.Smoothies: Many a smoothie fan in Saigon, and they are available just about everywhere. But for a wonderful place to watch the world go by, owned by a lovely lady with a great smile, head to Juicy.
Where: Juicy Smoothie Bar
Next to alley 18A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai (Between Mac Dinh Chi and Dinh Tien Hoang)

2. Quiet Coffee: L’Usine has some delicious coffee as well, but I headed to Morning News when I wanted to read or write quietly. (Their business cards say “writers hideout, book lovers corner” after all!) Set in a teeny alley off the busier main street, you walk up several floors and then into a wood and art-filled room. More on the cafe from Nomadic Notes in his cafes of HCMC roundup here. My fave, the basic ca phe

Where: The Morning Cafe
2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi Street, District 1
+84 93 838 33 30

3.Vietnamese Coffee: There are no shortage of Vietnamese cafes dotting the streets in Saigon; walk around for more than 5 minutes and you are sure to find one, filled with (mostly) men drinking coffee at the side of the road, smoking and gazing out at the street. These are also quite fun to frequent, but for somewhere more relaxing to try Vietnamese coffee, opt for a cup at Cuc Gach cafe. (Note: this is a different location from their main restaurant).

Where: Cuc Gach Cafe
79 Phan Ke Binh Street, District 1
+84 (8) 3911 0120

4.Egg Coffee: I wrote a whole post about egg coffee (Ca phe trung), including how it originated in Hanoi and a recipe to try it at home. Given the explosion of its popularity with tourists, enterprising cafes in Ho Chi Minh City have started to sell egg coffee as well. While this isn’t a normal drink at home in Vietnam, it’s basically dessert in a cup, and decadently delicious.
Where: Nấp Sài Gòn
3/5 Nguyen Van Thu, District 1 (spacious location, extensive menu, including egg coffee).

5.Chrysanthemum tea: My Vietnamese friends believe that chrysanthemum tea is a coolant on hot days, and has medicinal properties as well. So it’s no surprise that this tiny tea joint at the intersection of two main arteries is always hopping. Motorbikes stop by to grab a glass before handing it back and driving off; others pick up litres of the sweet (seriously: SWEET) tea for their families at home.

The taste might not be for everyone but it is worth a try at least once. It’s an easy walk from the Banh Cuon Tay Ho restaurant above — think of it as your dessert.
Where: Nuoc Sam Co Ba
Dien Bien Phu, near the corner of Dinh Tien Hoang Street

6.Strangest drink location: I didn’t believe it at first, but the address for Animus is actually the address for the South African consulate, and they are attached to each other. The “Cigar Lounge” door in the back? It’s actually a door to the consulate.

Unsurprisingly they serve South African wine (try the pinotage) and have had a two-for-one happy hour from 6pm-8pm for the last few months. Opulent decor, comfortable leather seats or wooden bar tables and chairs, and a very nice manager and staff.

Fancier rooftop: Recommended in many a guidebook, Shri isn’t at all off-the-path, but it remains my preferred rooftop bar for a sunset drink. I’ll usually grab some street soup nearby and then take the elevator to the top floor of the building, with choice of indoor and outdoor seating. Good wine selection and great views, but pricey. Other options include the Chill Sky Bar (much more dressy — no running shoes or flip flops), or the Cobalt Bar atop the newer Pullman Hotel.

Where: Shri Bar
27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District , Top Floor
+84 (8) 3827 9631

7.Jazz: Weekly jazz sessions at Le Fenetre Soleil, and while drinks are pricier than neighbouring bars, you don’t usually pay cover for the venue or music. Lovely setup with back terrace and funky decor. Definitely skews toward expats, not locals.

Where: Le Fenetre Soleil
44 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1
+84 (8) 3824 5994

8.Less fancy rooftop: With a view of Notre-Dame Cathedral, a narrow and unlit alley entrance, a bathroom with a profoundly permanent smell of mothballs and a rickety staircase to the roof, Casbah isn’t for those seeking an opulent rooftop experience.

But it is usually full of locals, the wine is reasonably priced, and the location is central. Definitely do not sit in the smokey indoor section, but rather motion to the staff to keep walking upstairs, past the bar and to the roof, where you can choose between cubbyholes with cushions surrounding a table and sit cross-legged, a long bar, or couches and chairs on the other side of the rooftop.

Where: Casbah Shisha Bar
59 Nguyen Du Street, District 1
(Entrance to the alley between the small convenience store. If you are walking from Dong Khoi and hit the place selling grilled chicken feet, you’ve gone too far.)

9.Alternative: Live music, art, outdoor seating, casual food, usually on the grill, and skateboarding options, Saigon Outcast became a favourite Sunday afternoon activity for many of my friends. It’s not conveniently located as it’s out in District 2, but if you’re looking for a chill way to spend a Sunday and have some beer at the same time, it’s a good bet.

Where: Saigon Outcast
188/1 Nguyen Van Huong Street, Thao Dien, District 2
+84 12 2428 3198.

Read here for Ho Chi Minh Dragon water puppet show

Read here for Cu chi tunnels history

Read here for best time to visit Ho Chi Minh

Read here for Vung tau local street food tour.

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