The 10 Best Restaurants in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City

Chinatown has the best duck around
Chinatown has the best duck around | © Franklin Heijnen/Flickr
Sam Roth

District 5, more commonly referred to as Cholon, is Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown and lies just west of the city’s center. Dotted by colorful pagodas and sliced by chaotic boulevards, the area makes for a pleasant afternoon exploration. Great restaurants reflecting the districts diverse heritage can be found throughout. These are some of our favorites.

1. Tan Nguyen Thai

Restaurant, Chinese

Dim sum of all varieties | © chaliceks/Pixabay
© chaliceks/Pixabay

This friendly joint is known locally by Western expats, Chinese, and Vietnamese alike to have some of the best dumplings in town. A towering menu sitting on top of red and yellow signage will let you know you’ve made it to this always-packed hole in the wall. This should be a stop on any food lover’s visit to Vietnam. The menu is as extensive as it is delicious, featuring nearly a dozen pages of steamed or pan-fried dumplings. Come with friends so you can try as much as possible.

2. Tien Phat Dim Sum

Restaurant, Chinese

Delicious dumplings | © Eason Lai/WikiCommons
© Eason Lai/WikiCommons

In operation for over 20 years now, Tien Phat is a Hong Kong joint dropped into the midst of Vietnam’s oldest Chinatown. The menu is similarly extensive to that of Tan Nguyen Thai, and the ambiance is cozy, casual and authentic. The steamed pork and crab dumplings are some of our favorites in the whole city.

3. Baoz Dimsum

Restaurant, Chinese

Soup dumpling | © Andrew Mager / Flickr
© Andrew Mager / Flickr

Another entry in Chinatown’s long list of great dumpling establishments, Baoz is a nice family-friendly joint in District 5. The restaurant is one of the most recent additions to the culinary scene and lacks a bit of the worn-down charm that others have, yet makes up for it with great food. Additionally, for any germophobes nervous to eat in less than ideal environments, this is one clean stop on the Chinatown food trail.

4. Hue Ky My Gia

Restaurant, Chinese

Chinese Noodles | © Mack Male/Flickr
© Mack Male / Flickr

Opened in 2009, Hue Ky serves up an endless amount of Chinese noodles. Dishes come both wet and dry and include pork, chicken and duck. If noodles aren’t for you, try the chicken wings, they’re some of the best around. With low prices and a fun vibe, Hue Ky is a fun stop just outside of District 1.

5. Đông Nguyên Cơm gà

Restaurant, Chinese

Com Ga | ©Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureaus Photostream/Flickr
©Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau's Photostream/Flickr

Dong Nguyen serves up fantastic Chinese chicken and rice at only two to three dollars a dish. Frequented by locals and expats alike, this is one joint that deserves the reputation it’s gained. The chicken is roasted to perfection and sure to please. It may not look like much – a rather bland facade welcomes guests – but the food is well worth the visit.

6. Pho Le

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Delicious Pho | © Nam Ngo/ Flickr
© Nam Ngo/ Flickr

The obligatory pho joint on our list. Even in Saigon’s Chinatown, piping hot Vietnamese soup can be found quite easily and this is certainly some of the best. Saigon beer and red plastic stools are a welcome and refreshing reminder that some places in this ever-changing city haven’t lost their local charm. This is one restaurant best enjoyed with friends. Take it slow and let the culture wash over you.

7. Vuong Coffee and Ice Cream

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Milkshake on a hot day | © Simon Thomas/ Flickr
© Simon Thomas/ Flickr

In a country that runs on coffee, it’s hard to pick favorites, but Vuong is definitely one of them. This tiny warm cafe is a local favorite and a great place to stop on a steaming hot Saigon day. Dozens of varieties of ice cream will cool you down and friendly service will keep you coming back for more.

8. Sui Cao Dai Nung

Restaurant, Chinese

Great Pan Fried Dumplings | © Charles Haynes/ Flickr
© Charles Haynes/ Flickr

With an endless array of dumplings and dirt cheap beer, what more could you ask for? Yet another addition to our dumpling list (there’s quite a few in Cholon), Sui Cao is a great place to check out when exploring the markets and pagodas of Chinatown. The pan-friend dim sum is particularly good. A nice easy location makes this a fan-favorite for those venturing into District 5.

9. Hai Dung Quan

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Fried Spring Rolls | © Alpha/Flickr
© Alpha/Flickr

Traditional Vietnamese food served in an open, airy environment. Hai Dung is a nice slice of local life and a pleasant place to spend an evening after a hot day of exploring. Excellent fried spring rolls are a fan-favorite, the cheap beer isn’t bad either.

10. Vietnamese Crepe Ngoc Son

Restaurant, Vietnamese

banh xeo large

Banh Xeo or Vietnamese pancakes are a delicious specialty that can be quite difficult to find in Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily, in District 5 Ngoc Son serves up a great version. Crispy, flavorful and affordable, this restaurant won’t leave you disappointed.

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