A delectable guide to Saigon’s best seafood restaurants.
Fish, Snails and shellfish are to Saigon what pizza pie is to NYC. This is Streatery’s list of top seafood restaurants featuring shellfish, snails and fish.
To say that Saigonese love their seafood is an understatement, here is our guide to Saigon’s top seafood restaurants. It comes in all shapes, sizes and categories. From fish-centric restaurants, to entire neighborhoods that do nothing but serve up tasty shellfish and snail dishes. One can easily find an Ốc restaurant within a rocks throw of your hotel or apartment, and chances are that it will be great. Seafood eateries in Saigon are usually divided into two categories: 1) Hải sản, which essentially just translates as seafood, and these spots usually specialize in fresh fish, prawns, crabs, eels and a few shellfish. 2) Ốc , which stands for Snails, but usually comes with a huge selection of other delicious sea creatures in shells, like mussels and scallops.
Neighborhoods: It’s true that if you plug the words “Hải sản” or “Ốc ” into google maps, you’ll find an eatery around the corner that serves all manner of seafood. However, there are two neighborhoods that are “hotspots” for all things that come from the sea. Those are District 4’s Vĩnh Khánh Street and the Bình Quới island in Binh Thanh district.
1) Bình Quới’s “Đặc Sản Trảng Bàng Hoàng Ty” Seafood restaurant.
🕜 11:00 – 23:00 | 📍 256 Đường Bình Quới, P 28, Bình Thạnh 🔗
Being a bit out of the way Bình Quới is rarely frequented by visiting tourists, but it definitely deserves to be. It’s the wild west of Saigon, the main street cuts the island in half, with all sorts of eateries on both sides. At the end of the island it opens up into the countryside, with farms and a very rural feel (whilst still being in the city limits).
We Usually Order:
- cá bớp muối nướng ớt – Grilled fish with chilli & salt⠀
- Cá Lóc Hấp Hồng Kong – Steamed fish Hong Kong sytle⠀
- chả giò bắc thảo – Pork and Century Egg spring rolls⠀
District 4’s seafood scene is a wonderful madhouse of charcoal smoke, yelling, occasional ladyboy karaoke, and oh yes, a plethora of succulent seafood. Here you can find all the things that Anthony Bourdain loved so much about Vietnam: little plastic chairs, tiny tables, cheap beer and simple yet delicious food for a bargain. Most of the seafood convalesce around Vĩnh Khánh street which cuts through the center of District 4 and has recently been declared a Food Street by the local authorities. Hilariously, one of the reasons they declared it a food street is because it gives the government power to keep the rowdiness in check. While you can find all sorts of seafood options, from cheap sushi (Sushi Kho) and oyster restaurants, we love these two traditional Ốc Spots:
2) Quán Ốc Thảo
🕜 12:00 – 1:30AM | 📍 383 Vĩnh Khánh, Phường 8, Quận 4 🔗
3) Ốc Vu
🕜 2PM – 1:30AM | 📍 37 Vĩnh Khánh, Phường 8, Quận 4 🔗
For our full review on Vĩnh Khánh street click HERE.
Our go-to dishes and their average prices are listed below:
Standard prices and translations
4) Quán 63, D4 crab curry
🕜 17:30 – 1:00 | 📍 63 Nguyễn Trường Tộ, Phường 12, Quận 4 🔗
Like we mentioned before, D4 is a cornucopia of seafood, and this is not limited to Vĩnh Khánh street. One of our all time favorite spots is a little known seafood curry restaurant called Quán 63. They have the usual array of shellfish and snails but the real stars of the show are the coconut curries. Prawn curry and crab curry, both are served in a big beautiful bowl of goodness with a side of Banh Mi to soak up that decadent curry. For the crab you have to pay the market price which comes in at about 500-600K/kilo. Usually one single crab is enough for two people to share.
The prawn curry is considerably less work to eat and just as good, in our opinions.
5) Ốc khanh, a Shellfish Institution, D1
( Note, for an individual review on Ốc Khanh and what to order click HERE)
🕜 11:30 – 21:30 | 📍 Hẻm 25 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, Bến Nghé, Q 1 🔗
Situated in an alley close to the city zoo, Ốc Khánh serves up a wide array of amazing grilled seafood dishes. As the name suggests, the menu has an emphasis on creatures inside shells. This of course with a few of the typical exceptions, including shrimp and octopus. Quán Ốc restaurants are easy to find in Saigon, as snails, oysters, mussels, BBQ scallops and razor clams are perfect dishes for sharing. Anyone who’s been in the country for a day or two will notice that Vietnamese people order all dishes to the middle of the table to share. A group of 4-5 coworkers out for food and beer after work will on average order the equivalent number of dishes, and everyone will dive in chopsticks first.
As most of our “lists” this is a work in progress and will be added to as we discover more seafood spots that get our attention.