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Amazing Street Vendors in Saigon

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Vietnam has an intriguing, fascinating and unique cuisine. One important part of Vietnamese cuisine is the vibrant world of street foods. By picking up a piece of street food to consume, you would have also consumed a piece of Vietnam’s culture. Those street foods reflect the richness of Vietnamese cuisine, hold within them the history of a distant past as they are eaten every day by Vietnamese people from the past till the present. So, that’s a bonus for you aside from the inherent and undeniable tastiness of the street foods. So, here are just some of our recommendations for amazing street vendors in Saigon.

Overview of Amazing Street Vendors in Saigon

The amazing street food vendors in Saigon are as old as Saigon history. Back then, every corner of Saigon is populated with street vendors, hawkers. Now, the number might have reduced but not much has changed. They bring with them a portable kitchen, cookware to serve hungry patrons that don't have time for a home-cooked meal or just want a quick delicious treat. The means for them to carry their cooking tools are various.

Types of street vendors in Saigon

Based on the means of transport: carrying poles used to be one of the most popular ways to bring their business anywhere they want. Nowadays, they mostly either use a bicycle with a container in the back seat or a wheeled food cart (which can be driven by bicycle or motorbike aside from being pushed by hands).

Based on the foods on sale: Street foods offered by Saigon vendors are diverse, from noodle dishes to rice to pastry to sweet gruel to coffee, milk tea, anything that is needed satisfy your appetite can be found on the street.

amazing street vendors in saigon vietnamese food cart 0

A portable street vendor fruit cart in Vietnam

amazing street vendors in saigon carrying pole

A carry pole with cookware on top of baskets

Typical locations of street vendors in Saigon

Naturally, street vendors and hawkers convene primarily at school and office areas. Those are where their main customers are. Some of the areas bustled with amazing street vendors are To Hien Thanh Street (famous for fruit salad vendors), Su Van Hanh Street, Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Thanh Thai Street, Pham Van Dong Street, Phan Van Tri Street, Co Giang Street, etc. Recently, a street officially reserved for street food vendors is opened. That is Nguyen Van Chiem Street in the very District 1. Incentives are had to ensure patrons are safe, free from bothering and the foods are sanitary.

Check out our comprehensive list of Saigon’s best food streets!

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Famous street vendors in Saigon

Banh Trang Tron (Rice Paper Salad) on Nguyen Thuong Hien Street

First, let's help you get familiar with rice paper. They are made using a mixture of rice starch, tapioca flour, salt, and water. The mixture is then spread into a round shape, steamed and left to dry. The rice paper appears in many Vietnamese cuisines as a wrapper, for example, spring rolls.

For this food, the rice paper is instead shredded then mixed with sauces, fruit slices, beef jerky, quail eggs, dried shrimps, vegetables, etc. Banh trang tron is exceptionally prevalent street food in Vietnam for its excellent combination of many flavors, thus bringing in a tasty snack that can really sate an appetite for some harmless junk food. Virtually every demographics love banh trang tron, from schoolchildren to students to university students to office workers.

Now, Nguyen Thuong Hien Street in District 3 is a mecca for banh trang tron. You can get to Nguyen Thuong Hien Street from District 1 by walking to the end of Le Thanh Ton Street, then Cach Mang Thang Tam Street then turn left at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, keep walking and you will find Nguyen Thuong Hien Street crosses with Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street. If you can, try all of the banh trang tron vendors here. They all usually serve out of a food cart that displays the ingredients.

One particular vendor that you should visit is Banh Trang Tron Chu Vien at 38 Nguyen Thuong Hien - who is regarded as one of the best street vendors in Saigon. He operates every day from 11:30 AM to 7 PM. Price ranging from VND 20,000 to VND 30,000, more than average, but the size of the food you get is quite worth it.

amazing street vendors in saigon banh trang tron

The size of a takeaway portion

Check out best Vietnam food tours in Saigon!

Xoi Ga (Chicken Sticky Rice) Ba Chieu

The Ba Chieu Market is not as big or as famous as Cho Lon or Ben Thanh Market. But Ba Chieu Market definitely doesn’t lose out in terms of having delicious food vendors. One notable vendor that we would like to talk about is the Xoi Ga Ba Chieu. It was named so for such simple a reason for being in the Ba Chieu Market area.

The stall offers 3 foods. Those are xoi ga (chicken sticky rice), xoi xa xiu [char siu (barbecue pork) sticky rice] and xoi thap cam (mixed sticky rice). The foods can be eaten there at the stall or be bought as take away. Despite the epithet Xoi Ga (chicken sticky rice), many find the char siu sticky rice to be the best-tasting food this vendor has to offer. It certainly isn’t like the char siu you can find in Chinese or Hong Kong cuisine. It is its own thing. It tastes different, uniquely with Vietnamese influence, and of course delicious.

The vendor Xoi Ga Ba Chieu is on the left-hand side of Ba Chieu Market, at 318/1 Bui Huu Nghia Street, Ward 1, Binh Thanh District. That’s where Huu Huu Nghia Street crosses with Vu Tung Street. Opening hours are from 5:00 PM to 11:30 PM, every day. The price ranging from VND 15,000 to VND 28,000; depends on the portion.

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Savory chicken sticky rice over a banana leaf

Banh Mi Thit Nuong (Banh Mi with Grilled Pork) at 37 Nguyen Trai

Banh mi is famous worldwide. It has to be so or there would be no justice left. There are no short of words to describe the heavenly deliciousness of banh mi. Now, there is an assortment of different variants of banh mi. It depends on the cook to figure out what combination of meats, vegetables, pickles will lead to a harmonized symphony of flavor, waiting to bring about a palatable experience for the eater.

The variant of banh mi we will talk about in this article is banh mi thit nuong (grilled pork banh mi). A notable banh mi thit nuong vendor is the vendor at 37 Nguyen Trai Street, right in front of an alleyway numbered 39. Like most banh mi vendors, this vendor serves food out of a food cart that can be pushed anywhere. The food cart contains ingredients, fresh crunchy bread, and cookware to dish out the delicious banh mi.

The pork is grilled directly on-site, at the food cart. Combining with the fresh, soft, mouth-watering smelling pork is the special sauce; together they make this banh mi special.

Accompanying vegetables are typical ones like other banh mi: cilantro, cucumber slices, and pickles. The price for this hefty looking banh mi is VND 20,000. The food cart operates from 5 PM to 7:30 PM, Monday to Saturday. However, if all of the banh mi are sold out, the vendor will close down early. So you should try to be an early bird.

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Vietnamese banh mi

Lunch Lady on Hoang Sa street

If you watched Anthony Bourdain show, you should know who the Lunch Lady is. It was Anthony Bourdain that came up with the nickname. Ever since then, the lunch vendor in District 3 became famous and is colloquially referred to as the "Lunch Lady". This place is among the amazing street vendors in Saigon to look for.

Despite her fame, the food stall remains a relatively small scale operation. The whole operation comprises of: A typical Vietnamese food cart with transparent glasses showcasing the fresh ingredients and cookware, also it acts as a cupboard; And several sets of tables and chairs sprawling around the sidewalk, underneath the shade of nearby trees.

The thing that makes the Lunch Lady special is that the daily menu constantly changes. Being a street food stall, yet the Lunch Lady doesn’t just stick to one trick. For every day of the week, there would be a different menu. The dishes she serves are usually noodle dishes like bun Thai (Thai flavor vermicelli), bun bo (beef vermicelli), bun ca (fish vermicelli), hu tieu (a type of noodles soup), bun mam (fish sauce vermicelli) and many many more. To prepare for this, every day, she goes to the local market early in the morning.

The Lunch Lady stall started out as a street food stall to serve lunch to the people in the nearby apartment. Now, despite the popularity and influx of new customers, that still hasn’t changed. She only serves lunch, from 11 AM to 2:00 PM. You can find the Lunch Lady at 23 Hoang Sa Street, Nguyen Dinh Chieu Apartment, Da Kao Ward, District 1. 

amazing street vendors in saigon lunch lady

The stall bustling with people

Be safe when eating on the street, check our Tips for Preventing Food Poisoning in Vietnam

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Summary of Amazing Street Vendors in Saigon

These recommended spots are just a small representation of numerous amazing street vendors in Saigon. So head out to the street of Saigon to adventure; follow where your stomach leads you and bask in the awesome culinary side of Saigon.

Here, we can offer you a helping hand. We can take you on a genuine food tour and show you where the best foods are at and most importantly guarantee your health. After all, one risk of street food is sanitary problems. So, take a look at what we have to offer: i Tour Vietnam food tour.
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Comments

Guest - Walter Freddrick on Tuesday, 07 April 2020 13:10

I love the food ladies, always so fun and smiling even though I am not fluent in Vietnamese and they don't speak English at all

I love the food ladies, always so fun and smiling even though I am not fluent in Vietnamese and they don't speak English at all
Guest - Woodrow Holmes on Saturday, 26 October 2019 14:48

The food tour was delightful, would recommend you guys to my friends

The food tour was delightful, would recommend you guys to my friends
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