HO CHI MINH CITY
13 January 2020
Vibrant Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam challenges the Asian powerhouses of Bangkok and Singapore as one of the most exciting cities in Southeast Asia. From pan-Asian fusion to the traditional Vietnamese Pho, we discover the top restaurants that this dynamic city has to offer.
Interested in seeing more of Vietnam outside of Ho Chi Minh City? Explore the country on Culture Trip’s 12-day epic adventure, visiting Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and more with a small group of culturally curious travellers.
Shri Restaurant & Lounge, for unbelievable views
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, European, Fusion, Asian, Contemporary, Gluten-free, $$$
Shri Restaurant & Lounge is set atop the Center Tower. With its ceiling-to-floor windows it offers unparalleled panoramic views from nearly every table. Frangipani trees, water features and the general open-air feel make for a perfect place to unwind after a long day exploring the city. The objective of Shri Restaurant & Lounge is simple: beautiful home-cooked European food in a relaxed and ambient setting.
Skewers Restaurant, for BBQ entertainment
Restaurant, Italian, European, $$$
Skewers is a long-standing favorite of Ho Chi Minh City expats. It serves Mediterranean food on skewers, as the name suggests. The flame-bursting barbecuing is done in an open-air kitchen, which means guaranteed entertainment if the candlelight and cozy atmosphere doesn’t grab you. To top it off, they offer some of the finest cigars and whiskey in town.
Cuc Gach Quan, for cute design
Restaurant with Rooms, Vietnamese, $$$
Cuc Gach is a restaurant that finds itself in most travel guides as a top 10 place to eat in Ho Chi Minh City. It gained even more popularity after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt dined here during their visit to Vietnam. It’s located in an old French colonial house that has been restored with recycled material. The quirky design, with its low doors, tasteful interior of antiques, mismatched and chipped china, plants and a nice little pond in the middle of the house creates a very friendly and intimate environment.
Secret Garden, for authentic Vietnamese food
Restaurant, Asian, Vietnamese, $$$
For authentic, home-cooked Vietnamese food, this rooftop oasis is the go-to place. Secret Garden really is a secret garden–beautifully decorated with central Vietnamese-style lanterns, a lot of greenery and wooden furniture to match, and is hidden among the Ho Chi Minh City skyline. There is no elevator inside, but don’t let this intimidate you. Once you’ve sat down, make sure to order family style like the Vietnamese do.
Hum Vegetarian, Lounge & Restaurant, for great veggie meals
Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
The architecture and design of Hum Vegetarian Lounge & Restaurant perfectly complements its eclectic vegetarian menu. You’re surrounded by fresh greenery, wooden décor and small water ponds that create a simple yet elegant and calming atmosphere as you dine. Careful on all those stairs!
Secret House, for a hidden gem
Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
Owned by the same owner as Secret Garden, Secret House launched in 2017 and quickly rose up the ranks. It is also somewhat hidden, tucked away down a quiet alley (although this restaurant has no stairs to climb, unlike the previous one!) The whole place is decorated like a comfortable, rural home, and you can choose to sit inside which has two floors, or outside in courtyard which is also a herb garden. Try the homemade yoghurt—it’s less than a dollar and delicious!
Mountain Retreat, for an earthy interior
Restaurant, Vietnamese, Asian, $$$
Family style | © Mountain Retreat/Facebook
Mountain Retreat is spread over two floors of an old apartment building. There is no elevator here either, which makes Mountain Retreat quite aptly named. The restaurant has a cozy interior with a bamboo covered ceiling, clay walls and wooden furniture, giving you a very earthy setting as you dine.
Anan Saigon, for super-fresh ingredients
Restaurant, Vietnamese, Fusion, $$$
Anan in Vietnamese means “eat eat,” which is basically all you will do at this restaurant. Located along Ton That Dam Street, the restaurant is right in the middle of a wet market, Cho Cu. The kitchen is run by award-winning chef, Peter Cuong Franklin, who creates masterpieces with only the freshest of ingredients that come together creating vibrant flavors.
Bun Cha 145, for local delicacies
Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
Bun Cha is a delicious Hanoian dish made of vermicelli noodles, grilled pork patties, a broth made of vinegar, fish sauce and sugar with pickled papaya and carrot, served with a basket of greens. A great place to try this dish is Bun Cha 145, located right in the heart of District 1, in the backpacker street of Bui Vien. It’s also great hangover food!
Five Oysters, for excellent seafood
Bar, Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
Just as its name suggests, the restaurant specializes in seafood, and has a huge menu that covers delicious northern, central and southern Vietnamese dishes. Five Oysters also has a rooftop–perfect for watching drunk backpackers sway about from bar to bar as you enjoy beer sold for VND$10,000 (USD$0.40) per bottle. On Fridays you can get fresh oysters for just VND$10,000 each, too!
Pizza 4 P’s, for the best pizza
Restaurant, American, European, Vietnamese, $$$
If you’re tired of the constant rice and noodles and are looking for some good pizza, head over to Pizza 4P’s. Over the years it’s made a name for itself, and has launched numerous locations in various cities. You will want try every pizza on the menu, so opt for two or three half n’ halves and choose your favorites. The cheese is made locally, in the hills of Da Lat, and they follow a “Farm to Table” policy. Their pasta is also fantastic.
Ciao Bella, for delicious Italian dishes
Restaurant, Italian, European, $$$
For Italian food, Ciao Bella ranks among the top. You are warmly welcomed with a complimentary glass of Prosecco, and this coupled with the ambiance and good service, sets the tone for the rest of your evening. The menu features delicious and familiar Italian mains, but make sure to try their signature “Posh Carbonara”, which is prepared inside a wheel of cheese right in front of you.
The Hungry Pig, for the best bacon in the city
Restaurant, American, European, $$$
© gorillaimages / Shutterstock
If you love bacon (who doesn’t?) you’re in for a treat. The Hungry Pig is where you need to go if you’re looking for a Western breakfast with lots of bacon. Choose creatively named sandwiches from the menu, such as the Pig Lebowski or the Notorious P.I.G, or you can opt to make your own sandwich. Interesting, weird, and kind of scary pictures hang on the walls.
Xu Restaurant Lounge, for elegant dining
Restaurant, Vietnamese, American, European, $$$
This high-end venue serves mostly Vietnamese cuisine but with a modern twist, in a comfortable and elegant setting. The atmosphere at Xu Restaurant is fantastic for an evening—the music is not overbearing, the staff are attentive and the food delicious. Opt for either the five or four course tasting menu, which comes with cocktails and matching wine. It may not be a Michelin-starred venue, but it feels as if you are in one.
Poke Saigon, for the best poke bowls
Restaurant, American, $$$
©Linda Hughes Photography/Shutterstock
Poke is a Hawaiian dish that has become popular worldwide. It started in the ’70s in a humble manner, created by Hawaiian fishermen who seasoned the cut-offs from their commercial catches to create a delicious snack. Creating your own dish at Poke Saigon is simple: a regular serving of poke costs VND$150,000 (USD$6.60), and you can customize it with additional ingredients as you please. An extra scoop of poke can be added for VND$30,000 (USD$1.30). You have a variety of choices for the base–sushi rice, brown rice, salar or half-and-half. It’s healthy, too.
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- Cha Ca La Vong.
- Green Tangerine.
- Shri Restaurant & Lounge.
- Skewers Restaurant.
- Cuc Gach Quan.
- The Refinery Bar and Restaurant.
- Nha Hang Ngon.
- Quan An Ngon Restaurant.
- Hoi An.
- Saigon (Hochiminh City)
In the heart of the city, District 1 is the most popular place for visitors to stay in HCMC, as it's home to a majority of the city's nightlife and tourist attractions. Staying in District 1 puts travellers in the centre of it all.
Pho is arguably the most popular food in Vietnam. It is served both at restaurants and in families, eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This famous dish is basically rice noodle soup but the broth is seasoned in a very unique way that appeals to almost everyone.
La Maison 1888 is Vietnam's first restaurant to feature a Michelin-starred chef, Pierre Gagnaire. The menu features French specialties with a decidedly Vietnamese influence, using local flavours and ingredients.
Ho Chi Minh City is emerging as the economic capital of Southeast Asia and for many years, the city held various international and historical events.
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||50,000.00₫|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||500,000.00₫|
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||110,000.00₫|
|Domestic Beer (1 pint draught)||20,000.00₫|
Where Do the Wealthy Live in Vietnam? The wealthiest city in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City. While it does not have the highest cost of living on the list, many people spend more to live a comfortable lifestyle.
As 'the most delicious city' in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is suitable for travel all year round. Two to four days is enough to include the most famous tourist spots in the city, and also a trip to the Mekong Delta.
Two of the most popular neighbourhoods with English-speaking expats include Tay Ho in Hanoi and Binh Thanh in Ho Chi Minh City. Once you are a bit more settled, you might find life in other cities appealing, especially those on Vietnam's beautiful coast.
- Don't talk about things that'll make somebody lose their appetite.
- Don't gobble your food.
- Don't talk with your mouth full. ...
- Don't play with your smartphones while at the table.
- Don't tip your chair or lean on the table.
- Don't eat or lick your fingers.
- Don't push your plate away when you're finish.
Some dealers accept credit cards, but cash is always welcome (and easier to haggle with). The Round Top Antiques Show spans over an 11-mile stretch, and traffic can slow everything down.
Pho might be Vietnam's most famous dish but bun cha is the top choice when it comes to lunchtime in the capital. Just look for the clouds of meaty smoke after 11 a.m. when street-side restaurants start grilling up small patties of seasoned pork and slices of marinated pork belly over a charcoal fire.
You might surprise to know that the main meal of the day in Vietnam is dinner, which is usually after 06:00 PM and before 08:00 PM. This is also when the family members gather, talk, and eat together. Oftentimes, women are responsible for cooking. However, today, it is common that people are eating out.
He is the first South African chef to receive a Michelin star, arguably the world's highest culinary honour. Jan Hendrik has also hosted his own television show, JAN, and is the author of several award-winning cookbooks, including The French Affair and A Breath of French Air.
It is customary for Vietnamese to hold rice bowls close to their faces while dining. Never eat directly from the serving dish. Be patient and put the food on your bowl before your mouth. Don't try to select the food since it's impolite to leave the not-so-good part for others.
1. Hoi An. The estimated overall Hoi safety index is 84.19. That is 22% safer than in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, which is also determined to be one of the safest Vietnam cities to live in or visit.
Which city pays the highest salaries in Vietnam? The median salary is highest in Ho Chi Minh City at ~10 million VND/month (~$440 USD/month).
In 2021, the poverty rate in Vietnam was the highest in northern midlands and mountain areas, reaching 13.4 percent.
While accommodation, transport, and food are cheap in Vietnam, activities and excursions are likely to eat up a good portion of your budget. Depending on your personal travel style, you should aim to budget anywhere from 460 GBP/560 USD to upwards of 820 GBP/1000 USD for a two-week trip to Vietnam.
|Luxury budget (for 1 person)||Medium Budget (for 1 person)|
|Total (for 1 day)||approximately $310 and up||approximately $95 and up|
|Total (for 1 week)||approximately $2100 and up (including going on tour everyday and one souvenir item)||approximately $630 and up (including going on tour everyday and one souvenir item)|
- Backpacker Budget: $40 to $50 per day.
- Mid-range Budget: $60 to $100 per day.
- Luxury Budget: $150 to $200+ per day.
The best time to visit Vietnam is from March to April, when rainfall is low and temperatures are milder. In a country more than 1,600 kms (1,000 miles) long, the weather in Vietnam varies considerably as you go from north to south, from a temperate to a tropical climate.
Some say that Thailand has better beaches and a livelier nightlife. Others find Vietnam the most beautiful place on earth and are drawn to its fairly affordable prices. But, apart from the differences, both Vietnam and Thailand are paradisiac places, capable of pleasing the most inquisitive travelers.
- Pham Nhat Vuong - 7.5 billion USD. ...
- Tran Dinh Long - 3.1 billion USD. ...
- Ho Hung Anh - 2.6 billion USD. ...
- Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao - 2.5 billion USD. ...
- Nguyen Dang Quang - 2.2 billion USD.
The divorce rate in urban areas is a little higher than in rural areas – 2.6% compared to 2%. The proportion of the population aged 15 and over who have been married in Vietnam is 76.9%. Of that figure, the number of people who are still married makes up 67.7%.
Cost of Living in Vietnam.
|Monthly Total:||$899 to $1,469|
The best time to visit is between December and March when the weather is most settled. The hottest month of the year is April with an average daily maximum of 35 C and an average low of 27 C. The coolest month of the year is December with an average daily maximum of 32 C and an average low of 24 C.
This route cuts down on travel costs as the only expense there would be renting a motorbike, which is quite easy to do in Hanoi Old Quarter or Pham Ngu Lao in Ho Chi Minh. You shouldn't spend more than $4-$6 per day. Three weeks could be done as cheaply as $800, but more realistically aim for $1,500.
For a more comfortable backpacker experience in Vietnam, it's best to budget around $50 per day. This way, you'll have more money to spend on things like food, drinks, activities and hotel rooms. For a comfortable mid-range experience in Vietnam, it's best to budget $60 to $100 per day for your entire costs.
Generally, Vietnamese attitude towards foreigners is hospitable and warm-hearted. A random question in Quora was “are Vietnamese people friendly?” This question garnered positive answers from people saying they are hospitable and helpful.
Vietnam not only attracts visitors, tourists, and travelers. It has also become an attractive destination for expats. The Vietnamese are usually very welcoming to foreigners and expats.
Unfortunately, foreigners cannot own land in Vietnam. However, you can still purchase other landed properties. It's possible to seek financing outside the country, but the process will take a longer time compared to local services.
Correcting Another Person's Etiquette
But even if you notice another diner at your table engaging in all of the above behavior — or worse — the worst etiquette rule of all is to call someone else out in the middle of a meal.
With so many table manners to keep track, keep these basic, but oh-so-important, table manners in mind as you eat: Chew with your mouth closed. Keep your smartphone off the table and set to silent or vibrate. Wait to check calls and texts until you are finished with the meal and away from the table.
- Come to the table with clean hands and face.
- Put your napkin on your lap.
- Start eating when everyone else does—or when given the okay to start.
- Stay seated and sit up straight.
- Keep elbows (and other body parts!)
Round Top, Texas is well known to antiquers, shoppers, and folks looking for a little retail therapy. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of town. That said, during the spring and fall, it's full of people bustling around the Round Top Antiques Show, looking for great deals and rare finds.
Upwards of 4,000 vendors from across the globe arrive to fill countless fields, tents, and barns along Route 237. There, they'll sell everything from priceless antiques to 50-cent mugs to a crowd that includes A-list interior designers, weekend thrifters, and casual browsers.
Open on weekends all year long, Round Top Vintage Market offers a taste of the Antiques Show every weekend.
- Eat a variety of food.
- Cut back on salt.
- Reduce use of certain fats and oil.
- Limit sugar intake.
- Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use.
A good meal in the morning is one that is higher in protein and lower in sugary carbs or mainly carbs. So eggs or salmon is good in the morning with fruit or vegetables. Some good fats such as avocado, almond milk, and nuts can also be beneficial.
Ideally, you want to start your meal with vegetables and protein, and finish with carbohydrates. Studies show this can keep you fuller, longer (than if you ate the same foods in the reverse order) and it can aid in blood sugar regulation.
After patiently queuing for the Picasso Museum, set in a romantic building and worth the wait, we spotted information about Picasso's favourite restaurant in Barcelona, the 4 Gats (Cats).
Max's menu comprises of classic Filipino dishes together with seasonal specials and of course, its famous, Max's Fried Chicken.It has established itself as a household name, an institution, and a proud Filipino tradition.
A report by Q&Me revealed that as of April 2022, Lotteria and KFC were the leading quick-service restaurant chains in Vietnam by number of stores, with 210 and 153 outlets respectively.
Pho Kho Gia Lai, a.k.a. Dry Pho
Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and is sold everywhere from nice restaurants to street corners where grandmothers set up makeshift kitchens. For this version, all of the components—noodles, beef brisket broth, herbs, chiles—are served separately.
Patsy's Italian Restaurant has been known for years as the restaurant Frank Sinatra made famous, and in fact, his family still enjoys dining at Patsy's Italian Restaurant whenever they are in town.
Ed visits Akari every year to celebrate his anniversary with wife Cherry Seaborn. They're such big fans Ed that even told the hosts: "That's probably my favourite restaurant in the world."
Visit the Heffel fine art auction preview that features an important Emily Carr work, a first-ever-in-Canada Picasso and a Lawren Harris owned by comedian Steve Martin.
Max's Restaurant, sometimes known as Max's of Manila or simply Max's, is a Philippine-based multinational restaurant chain which serves fried chicken and other Filipino dishes. It is owned and operated by the Max's Group.
|Founders||Maximo Gimenez Mercedes Gimenez Ruby Trota Claro Trota Felipa Sanvictores|
|Headquarters||Makati, Metro Manila , Philippines|
|Area served||Philippines, United States, United Arab Emirates and Canada|
|Key people||Sharon Fuentebella (Chairperson) Robert Trota (President and CEO)|
Alain Lecomte, owner and chef at Chez Max restaurant at 10622 Patterson Ave., with Tuna Tartare: sushi grade tuna, with a saffron horseradish sauce.
Vietnamese street food vendors are not trained on food safety and hygiene so that street foods in Vietnam are not fully safe. How to choose the best of street food stalls? Street food stall must have at least some customers, eating at an empty local restaurant is not worth a risk.
The Menu Wasn't Adapted to Suit Vietnam
(Some are made with yogurt and fruit as well.) Starbucks, on the other hand, restricted its Vietnamese menu mostly to the usual flat whites and lattes. There's a huge demand in the market for traditional Vietnamese coffee that Starbucks is failing to fill.
The idea of paying double for a burger, a glass of Coke, and some fries didn't appeal to the Vietnamese customers. Even though there are local adaptations in the menu, such as chicken rice and grilled pork rice with egg, the vast majority of customers weren't financially prepared to visit McDonald's frequently.
- Coffee – the most popular Vietnamese Drinks.
- Rice Wine.
- Fruit Juice and Smoothie.
- Other – Pho Cocktail.
Dinner is almost always rice, plus a few steamed or stir-fried dishes, typically including vegetables and either fish or pork. Fish is the most common protein in the Vietnamese diet. They prepare fish in a variety of ways: steamed, sauteed, fried.