Bún Thịt Nướng, a bowl of deliciousness that epitomizes Saigon’s lunch culture.

Address: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Bun noodles, grilled pork, fried spring rolls, veggies, and a heavy douse of sweetened fish sauce. One of Saigon’s favorite lunch meals.

Bun Thit Nuong Streatery Vietnam
The bún thịt nướng ladies at 1 Ngueyn Trung Truc street.

Bún thịt nướng is the king of southern Vietnamese Bún (vermicelli) noodle dishes, gracing sidewalks and eateries up the dragon’s spine of Vietnam. Nowhere is it better than in the south and Saigon in particular, from where the dish supposedly hails. It’s a common sight in downtown Saigon during any weekday lunch hour to see white collar workers thronging around on plastic tables and chairs. It can’t be more Vietnamese then being hunched over a hearty bowl of Bún thịt nướng goodness on the side of a sultry, frenetic street.

bun thit nuong
A bowl of BTN through the lens of a vintage, 35mm camera. (Photo by Tayne Ephraim)

They will serve a typical bowl of Bún thịt nướng with grilled pork, fresh greens , a handful of bean sprouts, and a few of strings pickled carrot over dry vermicelli noodles, topped off with a sprinkle of peanuts and a side of nuoc mam fish sauce. Ideally, these street chefs serve it with nem nuong or Cha Gio, grilled spring rolls.

The one thing that should be left in no doubt is its undisputed popularity amongst the denizens of the city and how damn good it is

The typical Bún thịt nướng master grills the pork until it is golden brown and slightly charred. They usually conduct their business on a sidewalk grill with a battery-wired fan blowing the acrid smoke out into the street. While no one knows the exact circumstances of how the dish originated, the one thing that should be left in no doubt is its undisputed popularity among the denizens of the city and how damn good it is. And much like pho, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Average price is 40,000 – 60,000 VND.

Our list of favorite spots are as follows:

1. Bún Thịt Nướng Hoàng Văn in Tân Bình

 Bún thịt nướng
Chef Arthur ladling out a heavy portion of fish sauce.

The Bún thịt nướng at our Tân Bình location is a fully immersive Vietnamese street food experience. Situated in the heart of Tan bin surrounded by a plethora of other eateries and cafes, it doesn’t get more local then this. Plastic chairs, of course, a buzzing atmosphere and a friendly staff. Here the Bún thịt nướng is a bit different from the average bowl of goodness you get in Saigon. Instead of a stick of grilled pork meat, you get a Bun Cha-esque patty, of ground and grilled pork. They make the spring rolls nice and crunchy, we ordered a few extra portions on the side.

🕞 10:00 – 22:00 | 📍 137 Chấn Hưng, Phường 6, Tân Bình

2. Nguyễn Trung Trực, District 1’s most popular Bun Thit Nuong.

A popular mainstay in District one, Bún thịt nướng – Nguyễn Trung Trực will always be one of our favorite lunch places. Another fantastic street food experience, this place wins in terms of consistency. We have visited this place well over a dozen times and they always deliver the goods. The spring rolls are different here; this particular brand of spring rolls have a rice paper exterior, and they deep fry them to perfection. The stuffing is a decadent juxtaposition of pork bits, ear-wood mushrooms and other treats. But what stands out, and is the what draws us back every time is the freshly grilled pork. Perfectly marinated and smokey, it’s unbeatable in our estimation.

🕞 11:00 – 14:00 | 📍 1 Nguyễn Trung Trực, Q1

3. The Hem lady, Da Kao, D1

A Bún thịt nướng stall with no name that gets so packed during lunch that you’ll find yourself jostling for elbow space is the quintessential street eats experience. This is why our hem lady embodies this notion of cheap and phenomenal food on the go, you sit down and just ask for one. There is nothing else on the menu, just a good old bowl of goodness.

  🕞 11;00 – 14:00   |    📍 18A/52, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Q. 1

4. bun thit nuong 88

Bún Thịt Nướng 88
Bún Thịt Nướng 88

If you live and/or work in the Da Kao ward of District 1 your options for great local food at incredible prices are wide and wonderful. This includes our favorite new lunch spot, Bun Thit Nuong 88, for 45K you can get a solid bowl of the good stuff with all the trimmings. The meat is nice and tender with that smell of smokiness from the BBQ. Their awesome lunch deals don’t stop here however, they also have a kickass bowl of Ca Ri Ga (Chicken Curry) with a side of toasted bread to soak up the delicious curry. INSIDER TIP: Show up around 11:45AM or earlier to beat the office lunch rush.

  🕞 11;00 – 14:00   |    📍 18A/52, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Q. 1

For more phở-nomenal eats, head to our EATS section.

Tayne Ephraim is an adventure finder and food hunter who has been living and writing in Saigon for almost a decade. He spends every free minute on a motorbike exploring new corners of Vietnam and eating along the way.

March 2, 2019

By Tayne Ephraim

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