Ho Chi Minh City Restaurants
Dining options in Ho Chi Minh City run the gamut from fine dining in secluded air-conditioned splendor to sidewalk eateries where the food is cooked in makeshift open-air kitchens. The dynamism and energy of the city is reflected in a dining scene bursting with international options and a host of fusion choices in between.
The city's middle classes love nothing more than descending on the latest dining craze, so do note locals' recommendations and follow the crowds to the latest hotspot. Despite the Saigonese's love for the flashy "new next big thing," there's also a somewhat reluctant loyalty to the French cuisine of their former colonial rulers. Ho Chi Minh City is home to many French restaurants, from casual Parisian-style bistros to the full starched linen and paired wine experience. Most of Ho Chi Minh City's international restaurants are in and around Districts 1 and 3, although there are several excellent options in the expat areas of Districts 2 and 7.
Despite the international offerings, it's the mouthwatering Vietnamese cuisine that remains one of Ho Chi Minh City’s major draws, whether eaten on the street or indoors in a tourist-friendly restaurant—the places with English menus are not always the most authentic, but can be the easiest when it comes to placing an order. But street food and no-frills, family-run restaurants offer incredible value, so after, say, a humble bowl of pho for breakfast and a host of southern specialties for lunch, you can easily justify a splurge for dinner.
Meals are serious business in Ho Chi Minh City, and between noon and 1 pm most office workers and public servants take a lunch break. Dinner is generally served any time after about 6 pm and eating (and drinking) can continue until 1 am or later.