A day before I went to Ho Chi Minh City in the summer of 2011, a friend of mine told me not to miss the spring rolls.  Then, I answered in a normal manner, "Yes, I won't."  To my mind, spring rolls, wherever made are all the same, no such distinction.  

But mind you, this is not all about spring rolls, as it is just one of the many dishes Vietnam has to offer.  I had no expectations for the food in the city, as I had the impression that I will be bearing with the vegetables and other unknown fruits and vegetables on this trip.  And all these misconception changed after the trip.   

Local food is one of the must-trys in every travel, as you get to learn the locals' way of living and their culture in general.  Having said that, here are my top favorite restaurants and bars in Ho Chi Minh City:


As part of our tour package, we had our lunch in Ho Chi Minh, here at this restaurant at Day 1.  

We did not try the wines, but looking at the interiors made you feel you're in Europe.  

I am never a lover of vegetables.  But the way this restaurant served its dishes made me think otherwise. 

lotus root salad with chicken

steamed clam with cream and milk sauce

everybody's favorite- fried shrimps and pork spring rolls

sauteed morning glory with garlic

sweet and sour clam soup

stewed fish in pot

sauteed yellow noodles- for spicy food lovers

interiors of the restaurant


This bamboo-made structure is the favorite hangout place and rendezvous for backpackers as it is near the backpackers street and it's location is strategically located near the parks and other tourist destinations.  It is located in District 1 and this is my second time to visit the said establishment.  

As compared to my first visit in the year 2009, there were significant improvements, from its food presentation to the restaurant's layout.  At night, a loud music can be heard from this restaurant, which makes it one of the liveliest in the First District of Ho Chi Minh. 

February 2011- with my future business partners

with my childhood friends/travel buddies last March 2009
at night

the world famous Allez Boo burgers
Allez Boo Bar is known for burgers and a place for drinking spree at night.  Weird combination but manageable.  

Though, we were unable to experience night life at Allez Boo, the big-sized burger for a lunch treat would suffice for a great experience.  As to how it tasted years ago, definitely no substantial change, still the same great burger that may even be equivalent to a full day meal due to its extra large serving.  The burger costs around 100,000 Vietnamese dong or an estimated 250 pesos.


For those interested on how to spend the nightlife at Ho Chi Minh City, this district specifically on a street named Pham Ngu Lau near De Tham is the answer.  It offers a variety of bars, restaurants and pubs that will suit the varied set of preference of the tourists and the locals.  Loud music, tourists of varied nationalities all mingle and made friends and create moments with one another in this street.  Restaurant food servings range from Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese and of course, local cuisine.  

Tagged as the backpackers street, as there are various budget hotels in this area, it is no surprise that at night everyone seems to be wide awake and wandering for whatever activity they want to indulge into. 

On our first night here in the city, while so tired and exhausted for the days' activity, we had our dinner at one of the Italian restaurants in the said street and tried their local beers as well, both the red and green Saigon Beer, which tasted like Pale Pilsen in the Philippines.  

As for the food, all I can say is, it's not that remarkable.  

In the year 2009, I was able to try the Vietnamese chicken noodles on one of the restaurants near the Orient Hotel, which unfortunately I could not remember the name.  And it tastes good.


Since staying in Vietnam is living like a millionaire, we had our chance of fine dining in Ho Chi Minh City.  On our second night stay in the city, we had our dinner at the Palace Hotel Restaurant, which offers free internet access.  The hotel is located at 56-66 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Ho Chi Minh City and is a walking distance from the Boulevard Restaurant.  We had the whole day walking on the streets and wandering at almost all the museums in the city and so, we deserve to treat ourselves.  Like any other restaurant we visited, default order is the spring rolls.  And this time, I ordered my favorite Vietnamese chicken noodles as well.  Since servers are used to serving foreign customers, it is easier to converse with them in the English language and place our demands in a way that they can understand fully.  Names of the foods in the menu are so weird yet they are just simple brand names and  common food at that.  Lavie for instance is a brand for a mineral water.  Thus, it is important to ask from their friendly servers before placing an order.  As to the prices, definitely reasonable and cost of fine dining is like having a lunch in one of the fastfoods in the Philippines. 

spring rolls again...

Vietnamese chicken noodles


For free internet access and the quest to locate for a comfortable lunch after hours of walking in the city to locate the various museums, our feet brought us to this restaurant named Cafe Rosy.  This is near the National Library and is a walking distance to the Ben Than Market and the various hotels, making this restaurant in the center of the busiest part of Ho Chi Minh City.  This restaurant plays Vietnamese songs as part of its ambiance and there is a stage where customers are free to perform.  I assume that they have good performers due to the number of customers that they have. 

The food can easily be forgotten but the comfort of staying there and the ambiance is something to remember.  Moreso, the stay in the said restaurant becomes memorable when you have been walking for distances for a number of hours under the scorching heat of the sun and you need an air-conditioned and a truly relaxing place to stay.  One thing I've observed, it is only the manager who knows how to speak English, so in his absence, always hold the menu and point to the server whatever it is that you wanted to place for an order.

The featured restaurants are just a few of the many restaurants in the city.  I will definitely make a review and update my list once I get back to Ho Chi Minh City in the very near future. 

By the way, Highlands Coffee is everywhere in the city.  So be careful when a meeting or rendezvous is set in the said place as you have to be specific on the street where it is located.

Highlands coffee across the Ben Than Market

Highlands coffee across the Allez Boo Bar

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