6 eateries offer late night bites in Saigon

By Di Vy   October 31, 2019 | 01:54 am PT
These six restaurants offer various dishes to fill the bellies of hungry visitors in Vietnam’s metropolis after midnight. 

Pho at Hai Trieu

A bowl of pho at Hai Trieu costs around VND55,000 ($2.37). Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

A bowl of pho at Hai Trieu costs around VND55,000 ($2.4). Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

The venue, situated at 31 Hai Trieu Street in District 1, is open 24 hours. The entire recipe follows Hanoi’s traditional pho, according to the owner.

The noodles here are not as small as the noodles in the southern region, but also not too big and thick. The broth is clear and has a subtle sweetness to it since it is made with beef bones.

The eatery not only has various beef cuts including tai (beef slices) and nam (beef flank), but also sells chicken for foodies to try out.  

The beef cuts are big and thick so food lovers can taste the meat's tenderness and rich flavor. Scallions and thinly sliced onions are used to garnish the dish as a finishing touch.  

A bowl of pho here costs around VND55,000 ($2.4) while a special bowl costs VND75,000 ($3.3). This place is packed with customers around noon when workers from nearby offices come here for lunch.  

Dumpling soup at Thien Thien

A small bowl of sui cao with pork skin. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

A small bowl of sui cao soup with pork skin. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Food lovers can visit Ha Ton Quyen Street in District 11 to try out sui cao soup, dumpling soup, where vendors have been selling this food on the same small street for dozens of years.  

Thien Nhien at 197 Ha Ton Quyen Street is considered a favorite among the locals. The dumplings are either stuffed with shrimp or minced pork, and customers can choose to order the dumplings in a small bowl on the side separately or eat them with noodles as a meal.

The dumpling’s exterior is chewy and not soggy, while the filling is packed with flavors and the soup’s broth has a sweetness that comes from the stewed meat.  

If you are feeling like something crunchy, this place also offers a fried version that can be eaten with the venue's special sauce.  

The restaurant closes at 2 a.m. and the food is priced at around VND30,000 ($1.3), but can vary depending on the dish.  

Broken rice near Xom Chieu Market

This venue earns the title "Slum Dog" com tam (broken rice) stall since it is near a garbage dump. It is located at 73 Le Van Linh Street, behind Xom Chieu Market in District 4.  

Located on a sidewalk with a few low stainless steel tables and chairs, the eatery offers typical Vietnamese com tam with suon (grilled pork), bi (shredded pig's skin and meat) and cha (a Vietnamese meatloaf with steamed pork, egg and other ingredients inside). It also boasts a wide variety of toppings for customers to choose from, including braised eggs, ribs, squid stuffed, shrimp and meat tofu.  

The shop opens around 4 p.m. and closes at 3 a.m.. The price for a plate of com tam here can cost around VND80,000 ($3.5) and can increase depending on how much you want to pile on top.  

Phnom Penh noodle soup at Thanh Dat

A bowl of hu tieu with lean pork, shrimp, quai egg, and inners. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

A bowl of hu tieu with lean pork, shrimp, quail eggs, and inners. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Visitors can try out hu tieu, which is also called kuy teav or Phnom Penh noodle soup, at the Thanh Dat eatery on 34 Co Bac Street in District 1.  

Hu tieu is a Cambodian-Chinese dish that Saigonese have borrowed and changed to suit their palate. The noodles are covered with a layer of minced meat, lean meat, liver, kidney, shrimp, quail eggs and finely chopped green onions. The broth is made from pork bones and has a natural sweetness to it.  

The dish has various versions for diners to choose from. It also has a "dried" version, which is slightly chewy with a stronger sauce than the "wet" variety.  

The venue is open 24 hours and a bowl of Phnom Penh noodle soup here costs VND35,000 ($1.5).  

Congee at Thanh Binh

White plain congee is served with different toppings presented in small bowls. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

White plain congee is served with different toppings and is presented in small bowls. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Many locals in Saigon choose to get their late night congee fix at Thanh Binh, which is located at 279 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Binh Thanh District.

The chef makes the plain congee by cooking the rice grains until they burst open and achieve the right thickness and gooey texture. Pineapple leaves are also used during the cooking process to give the dish a distinctive aroma. The venue also offers congee made from red beans, which is ideal for foodies.  

The dish can be topped with a variety of different ingredients, including pickled radishes, trung bac thao (century eggs), marinated shrimp and anchovies that will be presented in small bowls and costs around VND10,000 - 15,000 ($0.4-0.7).  

The restaurant is open from 4 p.m. until 4 a.m.

Oil lamp sweet soup

A bowl of sweet soup at Nguyen Thi Tus venue is lighted up under the oil lamp. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

A bowl of sweet soup at Nguyen Thi Tu's venue is lit up under an oil lamp. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

This stall in Alley 504, Nguyen Kiem Street, Phu Nhuan District, opens nightly around 8 p.m., and remains open as long as there are customers, which means the couple that run it work sometimes until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. But they usually run out very early.  

Nguyen Thi Tu and her husband opened the stall in 1976. The stall consists of a wooden plank used as a table, some plastic chairs for customers and an oil lamp that lights up the area.  

Despite the small space, the couple sells their sweet soups to large crowds of people every night with the peak time being midnight.  

The price of each serving is kept at a very low price of VND5,000 ($0.2) despite its popularity, whether customers order it to go or choose to eat right at the stall.  

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