A Saigon street food tour is no doubt exciting and satisfying. However, today, we are not going to talk about which tour you should join, which food you should order or where you will like to head to, but list down a bunch of dishes that cost you less than 1 US dollar. This should be a useful handbook if your Vietnam street food tour in Saigon seems to be never enough.
Spring rolls (summer rolls) – Gỏi cuốn
One of the most iconic Vietnamese dishes is fresh spring rolls, which include pork, shrimp, vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and herbs. All of them are supposed to be wrapped tightly with a freshly moistened rice paper sheet and served along with peanut sauce added with a small pinch of chili oil. Fresh spring rolls are probably one of the most internationally recognized staple dishes that you can get to try in any Vietnam street food tour regardless of the region besides Phở, Bánh Mỳ, and pancakes. The average cost for spring roll comes around VND 5.000.
Fresh spring rolls (Source: Google)
Vietnamese sweet soup dessert – Chè
Typically known as “Chè” in Vietnamese, this is a local dessert that can consist of dozens of different ingredients and are mostly served cold. Chè Thập Cẩm is arguably one of the most popular, which can be literally translated into “miscellaneous sweet soup”. This is usually made by mixing black beans, white beans, mung beans, puree palm sugar, water chestnuts along with green jelly. Finally, condensed coconut milk and ice would be added atop.
Other than that, you can almost be offered a huge range of Chè made out of hundreds of various ingredients, which mostly derive from fruits and veggies. Chè comes at such a comfy price of around VND 10.000 for a portion.
Mixed rice paper – Bánh tráng trộn
This is totally loved by young Saigonese, especially students and female white collars. Known as “Bánh tráng trộn” and come at about VND 10.000. Rice paper strips, beef jerky, Vietnamese coriander, shredded papaya, quail eggs, sweet jerky made of cow lungs, a squeeze of citrus, sweet sour sauce and chili oil are everything you need for a qualified dish of mixed rice paper.
Mixed rice paper (Source: Google)
If you are curious about how it actually tastes and also where to find one, head out of your hotel and pick any street corner. The area around Turtle Lake (Hồ Con Rùa) is where many Bánh Tráng Trộn retailers gather after Sunset.
Mango mixed with chili and salt – Xoài lắc
With only VND 20.000, you can hold in your hand a cup full of mango pieces shaken with chili and salt. What do we have inside then? The female seller would be supposed to add in, first thing first, diced mangoes, a bit of sugar, a small pinch of fish sauce, dried little shrimp, salt and freshly minced chilies. This streetside delight was invented very recently and accordingly, is what you may like to refer to as a “mango revolution”. The harmony of spiciness and saltiness makes this snack a mouthwatering delight on a hot sunny day.
Mango mixed with salt and chili (Source: Google)
Stir-fried corn – Bắp xào
Once again, visit a random street corner and you will find a huge vendor selling stir-fried corn, along with grilled eggs and Baluts. Stir-fried corn, or Bắp Xào, costs just in between VND 15.000 to 20.000. This simple tasty dish starts with corn getting sautéed with margarine then added with a small pinch of dried shrimp, sugar, and chopped green onions. These all would be quickly fried till crispy. Finally, a little bit of chili sauce is placed on the side. What you should expect from this very savory snack is a combination of sweetness, saltiness, and crunchiness all dancing in your mouth.
Such a yummy dish of stir-fried corn (Source: Google)
Quail eggs stir-fried with tamarind sauce – Trứng cút xào me
This is one of the most unusual and unique street dishes yet most people who have ever come across it find it super irresistible. A plate of Quail eggs stir-fried with tamarind sauce is served with minced chili, garlic, oil, and a heaping scoop of developed quail eggs. Quails that have developed in the eggs would first be hard-boiled before reaching maturity then getting splashed with a bit of tamarind sauce then topped with Vietnamese coriander and fried shallots.
Quail eggs stir-fried with tamarind sauce (Source: Google)
Obviously, there would be a lot more to say in addition to those six favored dishes revealed above. However, it takes forever to simply sit there and count how many under-one-dollar dishes we have got in Saigon recently. Some of those above you may have heard a lot, even before you enter the country, yet the rest would be something totally brand new that you really need to note down for your Southern Vietnam street food tour.