The Best Late Night Cheap Eats in Ho Chi Minh City

Bun rieu/Crab noodle | © Alpha/Flickr
Bun rieu/Crab noodle | © Alpha/Flickr
Photo of Dung Phan
1 June 2017

A distinguishing characteristic of Ho Chi Minh City is its vibrant nightlife. Nothing beats sitting on the pavement during a chilled-out night and enjoying street food with the locals. We’ve rounded up the best late-night cheap eats for night owls visiting the city.

Chao Trang Hang Xanh

Bistro, Vietnamese, Street Food
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Congee is a savoury rice porridge made from rice boiled in water or stock until it is bland and smooth, and it does wonders for a hangover! Head to Chao Trang Hang Xanh for a cure, or simply for a taste of Southern Vietnamese congee with an appealing aroma of pineapple leaves. Different garnishes are placed in smaller bowls on the side so you can customise your own congee with pickled cabbage, salted egg, braised egg or pork.

Congee with different garnishes | © Matt @ PEK/Wiki Commons

Oyster omelette at 128 Phung Hung

Restaurant, Asian, Vietnamese, Street Food, $$$
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Oyster omelette
Oyster omelette | © Alpha/Flickr

When the sky turns dark and the temperature in HCMC lowers, it’s time to try some hot fried food. Head out to 128 Phung Hung to get a bite of oyster omelette. It has been run by the same family since before 1975. The food is quite rich and oily as the fresh baby oysters are mixed with egg, starch, and chopped herbs to make an omelette, which are served with cabbage leaves and spicy fish sauce, helping to balance the flavours.

Crab vermicelli at 7 Bun Rieu

Restaurant, Vietnamese, Street Food
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Crab noodles
Crab noodles | © Alpha/Flickr

If you ever need a break from pho, try crab vermicelli. Let the clouds of smoke and aroma of the broth mixed with crab paste greet you at 7 Bun Rieu. A hot bowl of noodles is topped with fried tofu, congealed pig’s blood, a slice of Vietnamese ham and a hunk of tenderly stewed pork. Last but not least, an appealing selection of condiments are put on the side, like shrimp paste, chilies, limes, and a pile of raw vegetables and herbs.

Xoi Binh Tien

Deli, Restaurant, Vietnamese
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Savoury sticky rice
Savoury sticky rice | © Prince Roy/Flickr

Can you imagine a feast for less than $1? Xoi means sticky rice, and Xoi Binh Tien provides the four ingredients for a perfect late-night meal: affordability, speed, delicious tastes and filling food. If you are looking for something savoury, xoi can be topped with stringy dried pork, shredded chicken, egg, Chinese sausage, or Chinese barbecue pork. However, the signature dish at Xoi Binh Tien is the creamy, sweet coconut sticky rice with egg custard, which can be enjoyed as a dessert.

Hu tieu at No Trang Long Street

Food Kiosk, Vietnamese, Street Food, $$$
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Hu tieu
Hu tieu | © Alpha/Flickr
Hu tieu (noodle soup, usually with pork) is the street dish most closely associated with Saigon. While pork is usually the key ingredient, at No Trang Long Street, hu tieu cooked with beef meatballs and beef tongue is attracting crowds of manual labourers, hawkers and night-shift workers.

Crab soup at 278 Le Quang Dinh

Bistro, Food Kiosk, Vietnamese, Street Food
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Bo bia
Bo bia | © squidish/Flickr

If you are looking for a simple, light and delicate taste, grab some crab soup at 278 Le Quang Dinh. The soup thickened with corn starch is mixed with boneless crab, corn, shredded chicken, slices of shiitake mushroom, a quail egg, and chopped herbs. The bo bia, a street snack, is also unmissable. It might look like spring rolls but its distinctive flavour comes from sliced carrots, jicama, omelette ribbons, Chinese sausage, and dried shrimp. The key is the dipping sauce, which has a strong flavour of peanut mixed with fried shallots.

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