One of the things I love most about Vietnam is the street food culture. You can’t drive around the city without seeing groups of people sitting at small tables on the sidewalk. Whether it’s grabbing a steaming bowl of pho at the crack of dawn, relaxing with an afternoon cafe su da (Vietnamese coffee), or drinking 50 cent beers at 3am, there are guaranteed to be people eating and drinking on the street at all times of day. One of the busiest times of day for street food is lunch time. Instead of running to a local deli or chain restaurant like they do in the United States, people in Vietnam hit the streets to grab a quick lunch. Street vendors wake up before sunrise to run to the markets and start preparing their food for the day. They spend the entire morning cooking and when lunch time hits, sell their food at street food stands all over the city. Usually, you are given a huge serving of rice and the vegetable of the day, and then you pick from a selection of meats and fish. There are two specific places in the city that I like to go to get street food for lunch. Both are located around the intersection of Vo Van Tan and Truong Dinh, only a minute walk away from the LanguageCorps office.
Both places usually fill up by 11:30am and you have to make sure you get there early enough because the food runs out fast. It’s also pretty chaotic ordering because people don’t really form lines here, so you basically have to push your way to the front and let the people know what you want. This is especially hard to do if you can’t speak Vietnamese! Once you finally order your food you can choose to sit on the sidewalk and eat or take it away. When we go to the street food stand on Truong Dinh, we are usually able to get a table and will sit down on the miniature size chairs. Here is a look at what the Truong Dinh food stand has to offer.
Selection at Truong Dinh Stand
Far left: Tofu. Middle/Front: Pork, Tofu, Egg. Right: Chicken Curry
Huge bucket of RICE!!
A pork sausage and tofu stuffed with meatball
Surprisingly, the small chairs and tables aren't so uncomfortable...but I can't speak for tall people...
I do like this stand, but the portions are way smaller than the portions at the stand on Vo Van Tan, and it’s a little more expensive. For rice, vegetables, one meat option, soup and a tra da (iced tea), it costs about 25,000VND (a little over $1). However, this place makes an awesome chicken curry (pictured above) on Mondays that I love.
The stand on Vo Van Tan is great, but you have to get there early because they run out of food around 11:45am. Their portions are pretty big and you can get rice, vegetables, meat and a soup for only 18,000VND (a little under $1). Here is a look at what they have to offer.
Selection at the Vo Van Tan Street Food Stand
Hungry customers - this place actually has normal size tables!
Take away - Beef with morning glory and a bag of soup
If you are in the area and looking for a quick bite to eat definitely check these places out!
The Truong Dinh stand is located on Truong Dinh at the intersection of Truong Dinh and Vo Van Tan.
The Vo Van Tan stand is located on Vo Van Tan between Truong Dinh and Tran Quoc Thao.