You can’t just go home from the biggest city in Vietnam totally empty-handed, right? Saigon has so much to offer and not much space to squeeze the whole thing into your luggage. It can be overwhelming thinking about what to get for your loved ones or buddies from home. But if you are looking for some fancy treats for your gastronomic gang and relatives, here are some of the best dishes for a taste of Saigon.
1.Cơm cháy chà bông (crispy deep fried rice with floss pork)
This crispy deep-fried rice is a signature dish in Saigon and has been on the top of the best snack ranking for years. This dish is deeply rooted in Saigon locals’ early lives and has been a specialty gift for tourists traveling to Saigon.
This dish is packed with the flavors of Saigon and is 100% guaranteed fresh. It is known for its sultry gold color with a tender crisp of the fried rice melting in your mouth. The key ingredient of this dish is the fish sauce combined with scallions, chilis, and spices.
Once tried, the taste leaves your taste buds wanting for more – the dish is best enjoyed with friends and family!
Share a taste of Saigon, don’t miss out and grab some to bring home!
2.Khô bò một nắng (one-sun-dried beef jerky)
Next on the list is locally known as Khô bò một nắng. It is a famous dish from the south – basically a sun-dried beef or as the locals say, one-sun-two-mist. This dish is best dipped with chili sauce, lemon pepper salt (bring it to the next level when using yellow ant salt).
The infusion of sour and salty brings an explosion of taste to your senses leaving you wanting more of this appetizer. 50% of its beef is sun-dried and then the meat is placed under the mist to complete the process for an hour. The accuracy and dedication of the locals to prepare this dish is overwhelming but also, it shows you how Saigon people pour their hearts out on cooking and food.
All you have to do is re-heat the pieces of meat in a charcoal oven and it’s ready to eat, however, if it’s not available, a regular pan, air fryer, and oven can do the trick! Munching a few pieces while enjoying a mug of beer at home during the cold days is oddly both satisfying and comforting.
If you have booked a ticket to Saigon, do not forget to bring some packets of the one-sun-dried beef!
3.Bánh tét lá cẩm (magenta leaf sticky rice cake)
New Years in Vietnam are never complete without celebrating it with banh tet! It is a sticky rice cake displayed on the ancestor’s altar, especially on the 3rd day of Tet. While people in the North of Vietnam have banh chung (square sticky rice cake) for Tet (Lunar New Year), the locals in the South can have banh tet (round sticky rice cake) all year round. It’s considered a Saigon specialty that tourists should not miss.
This dish has a little surprise in every bite as it comes with various fillings. Pork and mung bean, salted egg, or sweet steamed banana – it would be best to ask what are the available fillings for you to choose from!
Usually, banh tet is carefully wrapped to be handed as a gift – you can tie a red bow or stick the word Phuc (Fú – 福) or Loc (Lù – 祿) on the cake to celebrate the New Year. This is best served with a hot tea on the side – a perfect combination that brings warmth to the belly and the heart!