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The cuisine of Southern Vietnam is very different from the food of the North, as it is strongly impacted by the sweet and spicy flavors found in other Southeast Asian dishes. It can be challenging to select the ideal restaurant in a city like Saigon, as there is a huge range of unique eateries to choose from. We have put together a list of 5 highly recommended restaurants for those searching for their initial encounter with the culinary delights of Southern Vietnam.
Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant
Concealed in a colonial-style villa with its captivating bougainvillea flowers, Cuc Gach Quan is an inviting restaurant which serves classic Southern Vietnamese food. The popularity of this restaurant in Ho Chi Minh has also seen it welcome a host of famous personalities such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Barack Obama. When you enter the area, Cuc Gach Quan greets you with a koi pond and a well-arranged garden. Guests can choose from a wide array of seating options, on the rooftop, or in the garden. And, the food is always guaranteed to be prepared with freshest and healthiest local ingredients.
Address: 9-10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh, District 1
Opening hours: 9am - 1130pm
Laang Saigon Restaurant
This tranquil, verdant sanctuary (highlighted in all aspects including its design and furnishing) is located in Thao Dien district - an ideal secret hideout for those who prefer to leave the hustle and bustle of Saigon. At its helm is Chef Vo Quoc, considered to be one of the leading cooks in Vietnam for his culinary skills. He is the originator of Mon Ngon Vietnam magazine - a cooking journal, and is also the primary chef for multiple festivities which the Vietnamese administration organizes for overseas visitors. At Laang Saigon Restaurant, you can sample all the award-winning dishes created by Chef Vo Quoc.
Address: 2 Dang Huu Pho Street, Thao Dien, District 2
Opening hours: 7am - 11pm
Hoang Ty Restaurant
Trang Bang is a small town in Tay Ninh, which is well-known for its diverse and exciting food culture. Amongst its most well-loved dishes, are those that use rice paper as a base ingredient. And for the locals in Ho Chi Minh who enjoy authentic Trang Bang cuisine, Hoang Ty restaurant naturally comes to mind. Despite a seemingly small and ordinary ambience, the popularity of the place attracts hundreds of locals and travelers each day. Guests can learn the traditional way of enjoying dishes made of rice paper, such as Goi Cuon (spring rolls), Nem Nuong Tay Ninh (Grilled Pork) and Gio Heo Cuon Banh Trang Phoi Suong (Boneless Pork Hock wrapped with frosted rice paper).
Address: 1 Nguyen Huu Cau, Tan Dinh, District 1
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
Anan Saigon Restaurant
If you are a fan of fusion cuisine and enjoy trying new tastes, you should definitely visit Anan Saigon. This exclusive Vietnamese restaurant in Ho Chi Ming city was listed in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2021 & 2022 and only serves dinner. Chef Peter Cuong Franklin has modernized the traditional dishes, but has retained their authentic flavors. You can savor classic yet unconventional dishes with Vietnamese Limoncello wine to bring out the flavors. After dinner, head to the rooftop bar for a refreshing cocktail with a view of the Bitexco Tower.
Address: 89 Ton That Dam, Ben Nghe, District 1
Opening hours: 5pm - 11pm
Kim Quan Restaurant
Popular Vietnamese cuisine has extended beyond the traditional dishes to include contemporary options that are widely enjoyed. Xoi Cua (crab sticky rice) has become a prominent dish in the last few years, with the key components being Ca Mau crab and Dien Bien upland sticky rice. Kim Quan restaurant, owned by the well-known Vietnamese actress Kim Thu, is the perfect place to enjoy luxurious seafood delicacies. Its most popular item, the Xoi Cua, is said to sell hundreds of servings daily.
Address: 21 Green View, Nguyen Luong Bang Street, Tan Phu, District 7
Opening hours: 11am to 9pm
These are just a few examples of the many local restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City that are worth visiting. It is always a good idea to ask locals for their recommendations as well, or you can check online review sites like TripAdvisor, or ask at your hotel for more options.
You may wish to check out our other recommendations in Ho Chi Minh