An introduction to noodle soups in Ho Chi Minh City

An introduction to noodle soups in Ho Chi Minh City

Slow food served fast. This adage personifies Saigons noodle soups. It can take several hours and countless steps to make the perfect broth while serving a bowl can take no more than a minute or two. Saigon’s noodle soups offer an amazing diversity of noodles, meat and garnishes. Each bringing it’s own assertive flavour to the mix.

The ubiquitous bowl of pho
The ubiquitous bowl of pho

Almost all Vietnamese noodle soups are assembled with the noodles first. Noodles can consist of egg, rice, tapioca, and wheat. On top of the noodles will be placed the protein. This can be as simple as some sliced raw beef, a ham hock or even a quail egg or a dizzying combination of meats each not only bringing a different taste but even a different texture. Accompanying the protein will be a simple flourish of herbs such as some chopped scallions or coriander. The vendor finishes out their side of the bowl by ladling boiling hot broth.


Bun Mam. A soup originating from the Mekong Delta.
Bun Mam. A soup originating from the Mekong Delta.

Like most street food found in Saigon, there will be a plethora of garnishes to choose from to tailor make your dining experience. However, it’s best to taste the broth before any garnishing to assess the flavours it might need. Like it a bit spicy? Squirt in some intensely red chili sauce or ask for some chopped chilis. Need a bit of tart? A squirt of lime can easily solve that problem. When in doubt, look around and see what the locals are doing and follow their lead.

If you are interested in trying out some noodle soups in Ho Chi Minh City, take a tour with us!

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