Foodies are always on a quest to find the least touristy spot because supposedly that’s where they’ll find a more authentic experience – if not a more hipster one.
True, the food in touristy restaurants is most of the time disappointing, terribly overpriced and served by bad and stressed out service. But keep an open mind because some of Saigon’s best food is actually served at one of the main tourist attractions in the first district: Bến Thành market. It’s quite legit when you think about it: so many Vietnamese people work there all day to sell souvenirs, fabric, porcelain, coffee, tea and all kinds of dried food, they will eat at the market. They want the food they know and they like. Which is why the food court – very different from the ones we have in our fancy shopping malls back in Europe – is a perfect spot for a bite before, after or in the middle of souvenir shopping for your friends and relatives back home.
I personally recommend the Bánh Cuốn under the sign yello sign “Nem Sa Đéc”. Freshly made before your eyes, those sticky rice rolled crepes filled with minced pork and mushroom, drenched in nuoc mam (naturally) are some of the best I’ve ever had.
Have some fresh coconut water while you wait and embrace the atmosphere. Eat. Order some more. Pay practically nothing and get back to your tourist activities. Thank me later.