Vietnam has long been known as one of Asia’s famous food havens, especially in Saigon - the Southern melting pot of Vietnam where all cuisines blend harmoniously. Surviving in that buzzing food scene is a real feat, yet some vendors have done that with the help of impeccable taste and originality. Here we’ll show you the oldest food vendors in Saigon with over tens of years of experience!
Note! Most of these shops’ staff don’t speak English so get a Vietnamese speaking friend or Book A Private Food Tour for your convenience.
Address: 139, Le Van Sy Street, Phu Nhuan District.
Opening hours: 6 AM - 9 PM
Price: VND 38,000 - VND 50,000
Since 1975, the Thoi Dai Minh Huong noodle shop (that’s what it’s been dubbed with as it has no name) has been serving quality bowls of noodles for the people of Phu Nhuan district. The current owner, who’s now 70 years old, inherited the job from his father and continued to serve noodles every day since with the help of his wife.
There are two types of food here: egg noodle - a common 53, Cao Thang Street, District 3. - and wonton. You can have either of them or order a mixed bowl.
A mixed bowl contains chewy egg noodles, two big, juicy wontons filled with pork, a few slices of char siu, vegetables, and the shop’s specialties: the aromatic, creamy broth and a crispy shrimp puff. Years of experience has perfected the authentic taste that he learned from his Chinese ancestors, plus the unique type of shrimp puff that you can hardly find anywhere else created an irresistible combo.
The shop’s quite small, but it’s easy to find because it’s at the front of the alley in a very brightly green-colored building. You can park motorbikes beside the shop.
The noodle shop’s in a vibrant green building.
There are iced tea, soy sauce, and sesame oil on the table.
Price table at Thoi Dai Minh Huong noodle shop.
The shop serves steaming hot and chewy noodles that’ll satisfy any foodie.
Address: 53, Cao Thang Street, District 3.
Opening hours: 7 AM - 10 PM
Price: VND 50,000 - VND 60,000
If we’re talking about the oldest vendors in Saigon, Banh mi Hoa Ma is a must to include. Besides serving the world-famous banh mi - one of 20 Vietnamese foods to try before you die - the shop gained its fame through the beloved Vietnamese breakfast dish - “banh mi chao”.
“Banh mi chao” is basically banh mi (Vietnamese baguette) eaten with assorted foods that can include egg, pate, sausage, stir-fried beef, ham, cheese, grilled fish… that’ll be added together into a hot, small pan. You can add your seasoning of choice like soy sauce or pepper on top. The dish’s easy for a healthy breakfast.
Among all vendors selling banh mi chao in Saigon, Banh mi Hoa Ma is the most famous thanks to their special and fulfilling recipe and their unchanging atmosphere of a street restaurant. It’s quite inconvenient to sit outside so you can also buy a regular banh mi to take away.
Banh mi Hoa Ma
The shop serves both traditional banh mi and “banh mi chao”.
Customers will be seated along the alleyway next to the vendor.
A complete set of “banh mi chao” with banh mi, assorted food, and pickled vegetables.
Address: 330 alleyway, Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan District.
Opening hours: 9 AM - 10 PM
Price: VND 11,000 - VND 15,000
The coffee shop’s been on countless articles and even sparks the local’s interest in trying the traditional net-filter technique of making coffee again. In all honesty, the net-filtered coffee doesn’t have a whooping difference in comparison to the normal phin-filtered coffee, yet if you drink it slow enough, you’ll notice a milder, richer taste that’ll create a more satisfying sensation on the tastebuds. Apart from that, watching skilled artisans making coffee is incredibly enjoyable.
The coffee vendor is very busy, especially in the morning, so you’ll have to wait a bit. There’s no price table but black, iced coffee costs VND 11,000 and milk, iced coffee costs VND 15,000, so keep that in mind for your convenience. You can buy a takeaway or sit and drink in the building opposite where they make coffee.
This is where you’ll sit to drink the coffee.
This is where they make coffee.
The owner makes coffee using the traditional net-filter technique.
Milk coffee costs VND 15,000.
You’ll sit in small, red stools.
Address: 127, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, District 1.
Opening hours: 7 AM - 11 PM
Price: VND 34,000 - VND 52,000
On this list, Banh cuon Tay Ho is especially famous for tourists since it serves one of the 15 Vietnamese street food options that all tourists want to try - banh cuon (steamed rice roll). The shop’s quite small, so you have to look for it deliberately. There are a couple of metal tables and chairs so you’ll have to wait during lunch hours. However, the servers are amiable and helpful.
A traditional serving of banh cuon includes four melt-in-your-mouth rice rolls, filled with pork and mushrooms, and eaten with aromatic herbs and sprouts. You can add fish sauce in or eat the dish without it as they’ve seasoned it very well.
Banh cuon Tay Ho.
The price table hangs above the shop.
They provide fish sauce, iced tea, and other flavorings on the table.
A serving of banh cuon.
Address: 718, Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 3.
Opening hours: 9 AM - 12.30 PM, 2.30 PM - 10 PM
Price: VND 10,000 - VND 33,000
Address: 288 residence building, 288 M1 alleyway, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 3.
Opening hours: 5 AM - 11 AM
Price: VND 65,000 - VND 77,000
Che Lam Vinh Mau (Sweet Soup)
Address: 29, Nguyen Thai Binh Street, District 1
Opening hours: 6.30 PM - 11 PM
Price: VND 15,000 - VND 20,000
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Though you’re may not a fan of the hectic Vietnamese serving style and the small, old venue that most of the oldest food vendors in Saigon have, you won’t regret spending time hunting down these shops once you’ve tasted their divine dishes. Nevertheless, if you’re scared of getting lost or miscommunication, a tour guide is your best bet. Check out some of our selected recommendations:
© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com