Banh Trang Tron (Mixed Rice Paper)
If you backpacked around Saigon, you have seen locals eating Banh Trang Tron from plastic carriers using chopsticks. In this dish, dry rice paper (the wrap for spring rolls) is sliced into thin shreds, then seasoned with chilli, beef jerky, sour mangoes, shrimps and herbs. Some top it with boiled quail eggs and butter, while others add extra beef jerky. For me, I like mine with extra shrimps for the appealing colour and sweet taste. Either way, you can treat yourself to what could easily be the queen of Vietnamese street food.
Com Tam (Broken rice with BBQ)
Com Tam is cooked rice topped with succulent BBQ pork ribs and cutlets. What sounds like a simple combination is only the start. Locals also order signature side dishes like steam eggs, seasoned pigskin and they drizzle the hot grills with sweet and sour fish sauce.
Saigonese eat Com Tam at all times of the day, but mostly for breakfast and supper. If you want to give it a try, be sure to wake up early to secure the best selections of grills and side dishes, which might sell out as early as 10am in the morning.
Take a walk anywhere in Saigon and you will eventually run into someone selling banh mi. Tasty, filling and most importantly quick to prepare, these sandwiches are perfect for fast paced Saigon life.
It is not banh mi unless it is on a baguette. The type of baguette will range from each region and baguettes that originate in Saigon are generally lighter yet crustier in texture. Fillings consist of butter, soy sauce, pickled daikon sprouts and carrots, cucumber and coriander. Chilies are optional if you want to spice things up.
Snails and Crabs
Where do you go out for a drink?
Here, in Saigon, you can find a good seat in the most popular snails and crabs stalls, order up to five different dishes from a selection of nearly a hundred offerings, and drink until midnight. Snail and crab stalls that serve drinks and dishes made from snails are commonplace in Saigon. The sea snails are supplied from the nearby provinces. The menus vary from place to place, but the most common recipes include sea snails tossed in tamarind, garlic butter or onion sauce, grilled snails, and boiled snails, among others.
Che Mam (Sweet soup “buffet”)
Diners are served small portions of all varieties of sweet soup on the menu on a tray (“Mam” in Vietnamese), capped at 15 options. This way, you can curate a perfect selection of sweet dessert, from mung bean and coconut milk soup to rice balls soup and more. This is a dessert that is perfect for a group of three or four people to share, so everyone can sample a little of everything.
Pho is the combination of soft rice noodles in a soup broth, normally prepared with either beef or chicken, both of which can be extremely delicious. The noodles are flash boiled until soft, topped with your choice of meat, and often finished with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and sometimes sweet onions as well. The noodle soup is one of the most common dishes in Vietnam. If you have chance, why don't you enjoy it Saigon?