Saigon’s best [unknown] street food alley: Van Kiep.

Address: Vạn Kiếp, Bình Thạnh, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

The true essence of street food in Ho Chi Minh City, Vạn Kiếp is old school: most spots don’t have names or addresses (hence the GPS coordinates provided), and you never know when they will actually be open.

food street Saigon
Grilling and eating on Van Kiep

Cross the canal going North out of Saigon’s center and you’ll find yourself in Bình Thạnh district, home to Vạn Kiếp one of the best food streets in the city. Night or day, 2 things are guaranteed on this loud, narrow road: the roar of motorbikes and damn good food.

Vạn Kiếp is nothing short of a street-food haven. Though just a short ride out of the heart of the city, this food-lover’s dream is greatly overlooked by tourists, who choose not to stray from District 1 or 3. Instead you’ll find an array of eateries packed full of locals, serving everything from noodle soup to chicken feet. There are more tasty eats on this short food street that I can begin to document. Here are some of my favourites:

1. Cơm Tấm Mật Ong (Honey Broken Rice)

🕞07:00 – 19:30 (irregular) | 📍17 Đường D2, Phường 22, Bình Thạnh🔗

Com Tam Saigon
Cơm tấm, possibly the most Saigonese dish.

Few things make my mouth water like the thought of eating this dish. Boiled ‘broken rice’ with pickled veg and honey-glazed BBQ chicken (ga) or pork (Sườn). It’s fair to assume that anything covered in honey and thrown on a grill is gonna taste pretty great and we can confirm that this is definitely no exception. If you’re not sure what to order, you can’t go wrong with the honey chicken.

Love Com Tam (Broken Rice)? Check out our list of favorite Com Tam Eateries

2. Mì Quảng, Da Nang’s famous yellow noodles (unnamed stall)

🕞 11:00 -13:30 |📍10°48’3.389″ N 106°41’36.67″ E🔗

best Mi Quang Saigon
Mì Quảng, as good as it looks.

This tiny stall is easy to miss but well worth hunting out. Flavoursome broth and fresh ingredients assembled with love by a cheery-but-sassy pyjama-wearing aunty – what’s more Vietnamese than that? It’s only open for a few hours for lunch so get there early before she sells out.

3. Bún bò Huế, Vietnam’s best known spicy soup (unnamed stall)

🕞 15:00 – 22:00 |📍10°48’7.47″ N 106°41’36.34″ E 🔗

Bun Bo Hue Saigon
A glorious bowl of Bún bò Huế

Bún bò Huế (Hue-style Vermicelli Beef Soup) is an immensely popular dish in Vietnam. As a reputable food street, Vạn Kiếp houses a number of stalls and restaurants serving up this Viet classic. Probably the best bowl in the area can be found at this small, unnamed metal cart, situated near the end of the street. The meat is tender, the noodles are the right level of aft and the broth is incredibly rich. 

Related: Read our reviews and full list of favorite Vietnamese Noodle Soups

4. The best of street grilling, Quan 104: BBQ Seafood & More

🕞 14:00 – 22:00 |📍230 Vạn Kiếp, Phường 3, Bình Thạnh 🔗

Street food saigon
Grilled prawns

When night falls in Saigon, locals flock to seafood joints to eat, chat and drink. If you’re looking to chow down on some tasty BBQ, sip on some cheap larger and soak up the atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh’s after-dark food scene then head over to Quan 104 (Eatery 104). Staff use a fan-powered, roadside grill to cook up simple, well-seasoned food every evening from dusk until all the food is sold out. Okra, squid, chicken feet, goat udder and prawns are some of the best dishes to try here.

5. Bò Kho (Beef Stew) and Phở (unnamed)

🕞 11:00- 13:00, 17:00 – 22:00 |📍10°48’7.99″ N 106°41’36.199″ E 🔗

Best Bo Kho in Saigon
A bangin bowl of bò kho

Bò Kho (beef soup served with noodles or bread) is a favorite of mine. It’s a homely dish – warming, thick and meaty – reminiscent of a nice winter-stew. This spot serves a no-thrills version with a good helping of beef and a broth that’ll leave you licking your lips. If you’re looking for something a little lighter they also make a great bowl of Saigonese Phở (noodle soup) for only 25K VND.

NOTE: like most street stalls, addresses and times are not guaranteed. But with all the options, if you can’t find one spot I’m sure the next will be open 😉

Article by Scott Moyse

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

January 30, 2020

By A Streatery Piece

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