Ho Chi Minh Food and Wine Tours
Explore Vietnam's bustling second city
It only takes a blink in Ho Chi Minh to miss something. It’s a city where thousands of motorcycles swarm the streets and glimmering buildings tower above bustling local markets; a place with majestic monuments such as the seven-story, red painted Vietnam Quoc Tu Pagoda. Vietnam’s cultural and financial powerhouse, Ho Chi Minh is metropolis where you can experience any number of memorable experiences, from the secret world of the freedom fighters in the Cu Chi tunnels, to the spectacular cuisine that keeps foodies coming back for more.
Ho Chi Minh is located on the banks of the Saigon River and is the largest city in Vietnam. The cuisine here is dominated by the staples of rice, noodles, egg, seafood and pork. Despite their standard sounding foundations, dishes here often come with a kick, so expect bundles of fresh herbs and spices and an eclectic street food scene in which to enjoy them. Pho is perhaps the most well-known Vietnamese plate you’ll come across, but there’s plenty more aside from the classic noodle broth.
Across Ho Chi Minh you will find small shellfish stands and usually a long queue of locals. Oc nuong, also known as snail eating, is a local pastime that involves selecting your own combination of raw snails, crab, clams, shrimps and blood cockles, which are steamed or grilled by the chef with chilli, lime, lemongrass and often a rich coconut sauce. It‘s a delicious, light snack that the Vietnamese just can’t seem to get enough of. After tasting it for yourself you might understand why.
Another street food favourite is Goi Cuon, a spring roll made with a thin layer of rice paper, filled with rice vermicelli noodles, slices of pork and shrimp, before being tightly wrapped with lettuce. These rolls are great to eat on the go, juicy and nutritious, best enjoyed with a hoisin dip made with chilli and crushed peanuts.
Ca Kho To is another local dish found in many of the restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. Essentially, it’s caramelised catfish. The fish is cut into strips and braised in a clay pot with soy sauce, sugar, and oil. In a classic foodie waiting game, it remains in the pot until the fish has caramelised, creating an end result that’s a tantalising combination of sweet and savoury.
There’s no doubt that Ho Chi Minh City is a buzzing metropolis that never stops for a second, but that doesn’t mean it’s a place foodies won’t find time to sit back and soak up Vietnamese culture. With so many things to see and do, you will be grateful for the vast array of markets, road side stalls, cafes and restaurants serving exciting, flavoursome dishes to fuel your adventures.