H and I love Saigon! Of cos we are biased but there’s just no good Vietnamese food in Singapore. H speaks the language so of cos it makes navigating easier, but I am proud to say that I can say all the food names with the perfect accent.
Ho Chi Minh tips
1) Ben Thanh Market – covered market where you can buy knick knacks or dried foods. Pho 2000 is opposite for a quick pho fix.
2) Saigon Square – walking distance from Ben Thanh and there it is aircon. If you are looking to buy knock off (or reject) North Face winter clothes, there are many shops here, just have a look around
3) There are many “fake” taxis, the meters jump very fast and you pay 2-3 times more than what it shld be. If you can, always take Mai Linh (mostly white with green lettering, though sometimes green or silver) and Vinasun (white with green and red lettering). Becareful to check the spelling of the taxi names as the “fake” taxis have similar names like Mai Lin or Mei Linh with similar logos. I’ve been tricked a few times!
Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)
1) Pho Hoa
Take a cab -this place is in the middle of nowhere. The hygiene standard is equivalent to our hawker centers, but the best pho in town.
2) Pho 24
Many chains around and it will satisfy the pho craving. They also sell pho flavoured cup noodles which I find very authentic, however they expire pretty fast so shelf life is not that long.
3) Pho 2000
1-3 D Phan Chu Trinh (opposite Ben Thanh market)
This place is famous after Bill Clinton visited it, ok-ish pho and spring rolls
In my opinion the best is Pho Hoa, Pho 24 and then Pho 2000
1) Quan An Ngon
Great place to sample all the Vietnamese favourites. It is similar to Marche style where there are different stalls and you can walk around and look at the food being prepared.
2) Cuc Gach Quan
10 Dang Tat, Q1
This feels like eating at a friend’s house. Simple homely Vietnamese food housed in a shophouse converted into a restaurant. Brad and Angelina loved it when they visited. Get your hotel to call to reserve a seat inside, it is very crowded.
3) Dong Pho
57 Ho Xuan Huong, Q3
Authentic Hue and central Vietnamese food. All types of spring rolls and I would order many to share. The restaurant is in a renovated shophouse and there is a nice terrace if you would like to sit outside.
4) Bun Cha Ha Noi Nem Cua Bien
151/1 Dong Khoi St., 1st Floor, District 1
This French inspired cafe serves up sandwiches and cakes. It is a great place to go for a break and have a coffee. One half is a cafe, the other half a shop filled with clothes and knick knacks. I love how the new generation or Viet Kieus are trying to make Saigon a hip and trendy place to live or visit.
Where we stayed:
Park Hyatt Saigon
Conveniently located in Lam Son Square in District 1, it is in the middle of the shopping street. The rooms are old fashioned and on the small side. The hotel bar 2 Lam Son is a good place to people watch, it’s filled with expats, Viet Kieu, and girls on the look for a potential husband.