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Nov 21, 2013 10:01 AM

Where to eat in Vietnam???

I'll be in Saigon, Hoi An and Hanoi at the end of the year. Any restaurant recommendations (from upscale to street food stall) would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. So I may be a litttttle biased (my dad's vietnamese) but Vietnam has pretty much the best food in the world. You're in for a treat!

    Words of advice:
    The best food in Vietnam is on the street. Locals actually have very discerning taste and vote with their feet so if it's not any good, they don't eat there. And they don't eat in restaurants... Almost every restaurant we went to was a flop, especially compared to the amazing street food culture.

    I could overwhelm you with options for Vietnam (I spent several months traveling finding all the best food) so I'll start with a few (let me know if you want more!)

    * Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyen - 14 Hang Ga: this is the "stuffed" version of soft, thin rice "crepes". just sit down and they'll bring over a plate. dip it in the fish sauce (nuoc mam/cham) and enjoy!

    * Banh mi kebap - 48 nguyen huu huan: a new fusion take on vietnamese sandwiches and surprisingly delicious

    * bun bo nam bo - 67 Hang Dieu: my fav place, seriously ate there at least 3x! it's noodles with sauteed beef, herbs, and peanuts - mix it all up before yous tart eating

    * bun dau - only at lunch from 11am-1pm, Ngo Trang Tien near corner of phan chu trinh: simple dish of fried tofu, bun (rice noodles), and either fish sauce (nuoc mam) or the more pungent mam tom (shrimp sauce). dip the tofu into the shrimp sauce (be careful, it's a bit of an acquired taste, it's the purple colored sauce with lime). tofu in vietnam is outstanding, just way better than you'll ever try outside of asia. you can also see bun dau on the streets and other people serving it, but we really liked this place the best.

    * Bun rieu - 48 phan boi chau st (however, it's actually on the odd side of the street, across from 48 phan boi chau): this is a soup made with a crab-based broth, tomato, and pork. this is my favorite shop, but it's only open in the mornings (6am i think) until 2pm.

    * kem caramen and sua chua nep cam - 29 hang than st - super amazing, sua chua nep cam a new fav. kem caramen is basically creme caramel, but they steam it in vietnam since they don't have ovens which gives it a distinct flavor. sua chua nep cam is a sweetened homemade yogurt with a special fermented rice - reallllly delicious!

    * Phở Sướng - 24 Trung Yen lane, off of Dinh Liet st. This is the BEST pho we had in all of Vietnam! Also ask for the "Quay" (kway) - it's a fried breadstick that you can soak in the pho broth.

    * Xoi Yen - 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street: Xoi is sticky rice. Here you can get Xoi Xeo, which is the yellow sticky rice that has mung bean and peanuts. I recommend getting Xoi Xeo Thap Cam, which will give you a bit of everything. You might also try a plain Xoi thap cam (not xeo) for just the plain white sticky rice

    * Quan An Ngon - Phan Boi Chau Street: this is the only restaurant that I would recommend going to. most restaurants in Hanoi are very disappointing, because Vietnamese eat on the street the standards are lower in restaurants. Quan an ngon will have most of the street food I listed above (and below) but will be at maybe 30-40% less flavor/taste. However, the advantage is a pleasant environment and you can try many things all in one place.

    Hoi an:
    * com ga ba buoi at 22 Phan Chu Trinh St. most famous and best com ga hoi an!! seriously so good i ate there 3x! it's rice and chicken, but they do something magical to it...

    * Morning Glory at 106 Nguyễn Thái Học: this is a fantastic restaurant, you're not going to go wrong ordering anything here but the fish in banana leaf is outstanding. all other hoi an specialties done very well as well, in general, all menu items are high quality

    * cao lau is the quintessential hoi an dish, you can't get it nearly as good outside hoi an. it's good at morning glory, in the central food market at stall #34, and on the street in the morning at the corner of Cnr of Trân Phú & Hoàng Diệu Street
    mi quang is excellent right next to the cao lau place on the corner of tran phu and hoang dieu st: it's similar to cao lau, but with less broth and has shrimp.

    * son restaurant is very picturesque on the river between hoi an city and the beach. very nice food and relaxing environment. tamarind crab and stuffed squid are good.

    Ho Chi Minh City:
    * Phở Anh - 8 Kỳ Đồng -or Phở Hoa - 260 Pasteur - extremely delicious pho!

    * Cục Gạch Quán - 10 Dang Tat, Tân Định, Quận 1: one of the best restaurants in vietnam. really excellent homestyle cooked food. highlights include the fried tofu with lemongrass (heavenly, they make the tofu in house), the thit kho to (pork in claypot), chicken with lemongrass in claypot (amazing), the canh chua ca loc (although my favorite is an an vietn, below), the morning glory (simple, common side, but they do it really well here), and anything else that looks interesting they'll do well here.

    * An Vien - 178A, Đường Hai Bà Trưng: it's down the alley at 178. more upscale restaurant but has delicious food. recommend the xoi chien with pork (fried sticky rice pockets with grilled pork, really delicious), chao tom (shrimp "meatball" on sugar cane that you wrap up with herbs and lettuce and dip in fish sauce), canh chua ca loc (my FAVORITE sweet and sour soup, but beware, it's spicy! take the fish out of the soup and debone it), there's also another dish with sauteed pork and really tiny rice noodles that's excellent but i don't remember the name - it's on the bottom right corner of one of the pages in the menu. The coconut flan is quite special and delicious as well

    * Hu tieu Nhan Quan - 72 Nguyen Thuong Hien: classic southern vietnamese noodle dish that's very delicious. ask for "hu tieu nam vang" to get the broth on the side. pour some of the broth in with the noodles and enjoy!

    * Cha ca la vong - 3 Ho Xuan Huong: technically, this is a northern dish, but I find that it's overly greasy in Hanoi. This restaurant, related to the original one in Hanoi, is much nicer (air conditioning, new building) and I actually believe the quality of the fish is much better due to overall higher quality seafood in HCMC

    * Banh khot co Ba vung tau - a couple locations but we went to 258 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, 8, District 3: a kind of bite sized fried rice cake with shrimp that you wrap up in lettuce leaves and herbs and dip in fish sauce. really delicious

    My boyfriend and I ate alllll over vietnam (seriously, hundreds of places) and these are some of the stand outs. We're going to be making videos about them, we loved them so much.

    ENJOY your trip to Vietnam!!

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    4 Replies
      1. re: Lau

        Wow, yes, this list is a keeper!!!

        1. re: swannee

          yah i really want to go to vietnam, its my 2nd fav food...ive been eating in little saigon for many years and it totally turned me onto vietnamese food

      2. re: heydana

        Thanks! can't wait to try all of these!

      3. The original comment has been removed