5 Saigon restaurants that prove size doesn't matter

By Ma Lum   February 24, 2017 | 09:00 am PT
These guys are serving up a storm from the back of push carts and motorbikes.

Ba Chieu sticky rice


Ba Chieu sticky rice. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Huyen

A pushcart at Ba Chieu in Binh Thanh District, one of the biggest markets in the city, serves steamed sticky rice with fried chicken and pork and a secret sauce on top. The tasty parcel comes wrapped in a banana leaf to keep warm, before being placed in a Styrofoam box to serve take-away customers.

Each box costs from VND15,000-25,000 ($0.66-1.10).

Those who want to eat right away can sit at nearby cafes and tea shops.

The cart is open every day from 3 p.m. until midnight, and sometimes until 2 the next morning, which means you don't have to worry about spending the night hungry in Saigon.

'Cold' soup


Diners surround the sweet soup cart on Nguyen Phi Khanh Street. Photo by VnExpress/Phu Nguyen

The guy who sells sweet soup near the corner of Nguyen Phi Khanh and Tran Quoc Thao in District 1 has never given his cart a name, but some of his more sarcastic customers love to call it the “cold” dessert shop, as he always stays too calm and takes his time, no matter how many customers are waiting.

Those who visit when business is quiet say he’s really friendly and whenever he can afford the time, he will sit down for a chat, usually about life in general.

The shop has several plastic stools to sit on and enjoy the gently sweet and soft beans with jelly for a mere VND10,000 a glass.

He is open from before noon until 4 p.m.

The park’s beef salad


The colorful Le Van Tam beef salad. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Tran

Goi kho bo, or dried beef salad, is a popular local snack that brings together papaw, carrots and dried beef, all thinly sliced and mixed with vinegar, fish sauce and dried crushed peanuts. The perfect combination of sweet, sour, peppery and salty flavors pleases any curious diner, especially on cold days.

One of the most popular goi kho bo in the city is sold on Vo Thi Sau Street along Le Van Tam Park in District 1. The shop has no tables or chairs, but customers are happy to enjoy the dish on their motorbikes or under the park’s canopies.

The shop opens from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m., and each bowl costs VND16,000.

The Dutchman’s sausage


The sausage couple on Duong Ba Trac. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Hoa

A Dutch man named Clifford Alexander van Toor and his Vietnamese wife sell sausages from a motorbike on Duong Ba Trac in District 8, and most people know of the shop as “the Western man’s sausage”. The couple say they import their sausages from Germany.

The sausages are grilled over coal and served by themselves or with a baguette for around a dollar a piece.

'Office' crab soup


The soup is served with coriander and satay sauce. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Phan

The crab soup cart on Nguyen Van Trang Street in District 1 is usually dubbed “office” soup as it only opens during office hours, closing after 6 p.m. and over weekends. There’s a large pot filled with the basic hot crab soup with corn, mushroom and eggs, while smaller pots hold pig brain, century eggs and the fried hollow breadsticks quay.

Each portion costs from VND25,000-35,000.

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