Vietnam is a culture built on street food. Plastic stools line the street every morning and evening, people pull up on their bike for takeaway and every nook and turn will ultimately lead to somebody’s house or a cart dishing up their speciality they’ve spent years mastering.
On the days you don’t feel like wandering around in hopes you’ll stumble across an aroma that makes your stomach rumble can be a little tiring, especially when you’re already hungry. There are a few streets in Ho Chi Minh full of different varieties of Vietnamese street food that you can head to.
One of the most popular ones being Vạn Kiếp (Van Kiep – which is what I’ll refer to it as from now on) Van Kiep boarders Phu Nhuan & Binh Thanh districts only about a 15 – 20 minute drive from District 1. Come dusk smoke begins to fill the air, neon lights begin to glow and people hunch over small tables filling their stomach with freshly cooked meals.
Van Kiep is especially popular with the younger generation with well over 100 eateries and a ton of fashion stores it’s not hard to see why. With the choice of at least 50 different Vietnamese dishes to choose from – even some you’ve never heard of it can be a little overwhelming. Here’s a little of some of the delicious treats you can get at Van Kiep:
Bánh tráng nướng – Grilled Rice Paper filled with pork, dried shrimp spring onions and quail eggs. Best eaten straight away! – Price: 10,000 VND – 12,000 VND (70c AUD)
Há Cảo (like har gow) – Steamed dumplings filled with shrimp, topped with fried shallots. Served with chilli and Rau răm (Vietnamese coriander.) Lot’s of little stalls selling these, look for big (huge) steamers.
Price: 33,000 VND for 9 ($1.90 AUD)
Kem Xôi Dừa – Coconut Ice Cream with Corn, Pandan Sticky Rice, Roasted Coconut and Peanuts. Lot’s of texture and flavours in this dessert!
From ‘The Coconut’ – address: 131 Vạn Kiếp, Phường 3, Bình Thạnh, Hồ Chí Minh
Price: 28,000 VND ($1.60 AUD)