How Much Does Food Cost a Day in Ho Chi Minh City?

The cost of food in Ho Chi Minh City can vary depending on your dining preferences and where you choose to eat, but here is a rough idea of how much you can spend based on your dining style:
  • Cost-effective: If you focus mostly on street food and small restaurants, you can easily spend $5 - $10 each day.
  • Mid-range: A combination of local eateries, Western cuisine, and an occasional pleasant dinner can range between $15 and $25 each day.
  • High-end: Dining at high-end restaurants specializing in Western food might cost more than $40 every day.

Street Food

how much does food cost a day in ho chi minh city
Street food cost a day in ho chi minh city | Source: Collections
How much does food in Ho Chi Minh City cost in a day? Well, if you are primarily dining on street cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City, you can save a good amount of money. Street food in Ho Chi Minh City is not only delicious but also affordable, with meals typically ranging between 20,000 VND ($0.80) and 50,000 VND ($2.00). As a result, in a single day, you can easily eat well on street cuisine for roughly 100,000 VND - 200,000 VND ($4.00 - $8.00). And while prices can vary based on the vendor and the type of food, they are often considerably cheaper than dining at a restaurant. Street food can easily be found in these places:
  • Ben Thanh Market - This famous market is flanked by a bustling street food scene, with sellers serving Banh Mi, Goi Cuon, and other refreshing Vietnamese sweets at extremely inexpensive costs.
  • Street Food Stalls - While not formally restaurants, abundant street food booths and mobile food sellers provide relatively affordable Vietnamese cuisine. The key is to look for vendors that are crowded with locals, since they tend to provide the most authentic, sanitary, and cheap street food experiences.
  • Night Markets - Nighttime markets such as Ho Thi Ky Night Market provide a diverse selection of both Vietnamese and international street cuisines with vendors lining the streets, each offering their own delectable specialties. 

Average Cost of Budget Restaurants

how much does ho chi minh food cost a day
Average cost of budget restaurants  | Source: Collections.
If you're looking for a more structured dining experience while still keeping costs down, let's explore how much Ho Chi Minh City foods cost in a day at budget restaurants.
Budget restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City provide an exciting choice of flavors at reasonable costs, allowing visitors to indulge in Vietnamese food without breaking the budget. The small, local restaurants serve main meals ranging from 50,000 VND to 100,000 VND ($2.00 - $4.00), with delectable dishes such as Pho, Bun Bo Hue, Banh Xeo, and Com Tam. A budget of 200,000 VND - 300,000 VND ($8.00 - $12.00) each day should cover three satisfying meals.
  • Pham Ngu Lao Street - This popular backpacker neighborhood is dotted with an abundance of affordable Vietnamese eateries and foreign restaurants.
  • Cong Quynh Street - Known as the "food street," this District 1 neighborhood is teeming with affordable local restaurants and small coffee shops.
  • Xom Chieu Street - This District 4 street is well-known for its abundance of informal, family-run Vietnamese eateries that serve great, reasonably priced meals.
  • Alleyways and Side Streets - By exploring the city's tangle of smaller alleys and side streets, you can discover hidden gem affordable eateries popular with locals.

Average Cost of Mid-Range Restaurants

The blend of Vietnamese classics with familiar Western fare allows guests at mid-range HCMC restaurants to enjoy both local delicacies and foreign comfort foods at an affordable price between 100,000 VND and 250,000 VND each dish, which is equal to $4.00 to $10.00. Therefore, a comfortable mid-range restaurant budget would roughly cost around 400,000 VND - 600,000 VND ($16.00 - $24.00) each day. Here are some of the recommended mid-range restaurants to try:

Pho 2000

ho chi minh meal cost
This renowned Vietnamese Pho franchise has stores around the city and provides tasty bowls of pho for about $4 and $6.

Quan Ngon 138

average cost of budget restaurants quan ngon 138
A long-standing institution that serves outstanding choices of Vietnamese street food classics, with most meals priced between $5 and $8.

Com Nieu Sai Gon

hcm meal cost
This renowned neighborhood restaurant serves great Vietnamese rice meals and clay pot specialties for $5 - $8.

Wrap and Roll

how much does wrap and roll  food cost a day in
This informal restaurant serves a selection of Vietnamese wraps, salads, and small snacks for $4 - $8.

Average Cost of Luxury Restaurants

For those seeking a luxurious culinary adventure, how much does Ho Chi Minh City food cost in a day at its most exclusive establishments?
Ho Chi Minh City's culinary scene is expanding, with a rising number of premium restaurants catering to the city's affluent customers. These high-end restaurants, frequently led by prominent chefs, provide an upgraded dining experience at a premium price. High-end eating typically begins at roughly 200,000 VND ($8.00) and can rise dramatically depending on the establishment and kind of food. Hence, a dinner at one of these premium restaurants typically starts at $40 per person. Here are some top luxury restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City where you can find high-end Vietnamese cuisine priced at $8 and above:

Home Saigon

average cost of mid range restaurants home saigon
An elite restaurant that highlights Vietnam's various flavors and culinary traditions with premium, fresh ingredients acquired locally and regionally.

Anan Saigon

average cost of mid range restaurants anan saigon
A modern Vietnamese restaurant that takes a unique approach to classic Vietnamese food, with an emphasis on freshness and bold tastes.

Mandarine Restaurant 

Mandarine Restaurant
Located in a beautifully renovated French colonial villa in the center of Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Mandarine Restaurant's cuisine contains excellent seasonal foods acquired from around Vietnam, with an emphasis on sustainably produced and responsibly sourced items.

Vietnam House Restaurant

does food cost a day in saigon vietnam house restaurant
A renowned premium Vietnamese restaurant that focuses on displaying Vietnam's rich culinary traditions via enhanced, high-quality versions of classic Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant also has vegetarian and vegan choices to accommodate a variety of dietary needs.

Western Cuisine

Among the city's thriving food scene, an increasing number of Western-style restaurants have arisen, catering to the discerning palates of both expats, locals and curious travelers. A standard fast-food burger combination can start at around roughly 100,000 VND ($4.00), but sit-down Western restaurants will be priced more along the mid-range or luxury restaurant scale. Here are some of the best alternatives for Western food in Ho Chi Minh City:

The Wagon Wheel

hcm meal cost the wagon wheel
Specializes in American-style comfort cuisine that will offer you a sensation and flavor of home, or a new experience all together, with excellent consistent food that tastes delightful every single time.

The Hungry Pig Gastropub

ho chi minh meal cost the hungry pig gastropub
A popular choice for a casual dining experience that includes Western comfort cuisine and artisan brews. It's a laid-back location where you can eat burgers, sandwiches, and shared platters.

The Deck Saigon

how much does ho chi minh food cost a day in the deck saigon
Located by the Saigon River, which provides a breathtaking riverfront dining experience with a menu combining Western and Vietnamese cuisines. The atmosphere is elegant but comfortable, ideal for romantic evenings or special celebrations.
The Refinery Bar & Restaurant 
how much does ho chi minh food cost a day in the refinery bar restaurant
Housed in a restored 19th-century French villa in District 1, provides a sophisticated and private eating experience. The menu consists of contemporary Western meals, with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients and unique tastes.

Tips for Finding Delicious and Affordable Eateries in District 1 That Locals Love

Being the central hub of the city, District 1 attracts a large number of tourists, and therefore many establishments raise their prices accordingly. Finding tasty and affordable eateries in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 that locals love can be an adventure in itself. Here are some tips to help you discover hidden gems:
  • Explore Side Streets and Alleys: Venture off the major roads and onto small side paths and alleyways where locals frequently dine. These areas are often home to family-run restaurants and street food booths that serve traditional Vietnamese cuisine at reasonable costs.
  • Hidden Gems: Many wonderful eateries popular among locals do not have English signage or menus. This is where the greatest, cheapest cuisine is frequently hidden!
  • Lunchtime Spots: Seek out "Cơm Bình Dân" terms on vendor's signs. These vendors serve affordable rice plates with various dishes.
  • Follow the Crowds: If you notice a restaurant or food booth packed with locals, it's typically an indicator that the food is both tasty and fairly reasonable. Trust the wisdom of the crowd and join them for a meal.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Strike up a conversation with locals, such as taxi drivers, hotel employees, or shop owners, and ask for ideas on their favorite restaurants in the area. They're likely to direct you to authentic restaurants that cater to local tastes.
  • Check Out Food Markets and Food Streets: Visit local food markets such as Ben Thanh Market or the smaller neighborhood markets in District 1, where you'll discover a range of street food booths and small restaurants providing delicious and affordable meals.
  • Use Food Apps and Websites: Use food apps and websites like Foody, TripAdvisor, or comb through Google Maps to find highly rated local restaurants in District 1. These sites frequently include user evaluations and ratings, which may help you discover hidden treasures popular with locals.
With these tips in hand, you'll not only satisfy your taste buds but also keep your dining expenses well within budget. Embark on your gastronomic journey through District 1 and discover the flavors of Ho Chi Minh City without exceeding your daily dining budget.

Join a Food Tour to Enjoy the Best Food at an Affordable Price

If you've looked through the dining alternatives on your own and still haven't discovered any suitable culinary experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, taking a food tour can be your solution. But how much does Ho Chi Minh City food cost in a day when you join a guided tour?
The Saigon Food Tour on Motorcycles is a popular culinary excursion in Ho Chi Minh City that takes guests through the city's lively street food scene. Food tours in Saigon are guided by skilled local guides who discover hidden gems and expose you to authentic Vietnamese delights that you might have missed. With our "Saigon Food Tour", it is not only about eating but immersing as your guides will tell you about the history of each food and the difference between each version from different areas of Vietnam. You will not only enjoy the food but also join in the process of making these special cuisines through their stories. Our tour guides will manage all the scheduling, riding you to a carefully picked list of restaurants that provide the most mouthwatering meals and a one-of-a-kind experience that promise you will never forget.


Should I Tip in Restaurants and Cafes in Vietnam?

Tipping practices differ from country to country. Tipping is not customary in Vietnam's restaurants and cafés, particularly at local places. However, in tourist destinations or luxury restaurants where Western practices are more prevalent, leaving a small gratuity (around 5-10% of the total) is appreciated but not required. Always check to see whether a service fee has already been added in the statement, as it is becoming increasingly typical in some areas. Ultimately, tipping is a show of appreciation for good service, so feel free to tip if you think it's appropriate. However, if you are still uncertain about the tipping culture in Vietnam, then our "Tipping culture in Vietnam" article will explain when, and how much is an appropriate tip.

Is It Safe to Eat Street Food in Ho Chi Minh City?

Generally, yes. However, with a few precautions, street food can be a safe and tasty way to sample local cuisine. Here's an overview of the safety considerations:
  • Select Busy Stalls: A high turnover indicates fresh materials. If a stall is popular among the locals, it's a positive indicator!
  • Food is Prepared Thoroughly: Choose meals that are freshly made in front of you over high heat, and search for vendors who handle the food with gloves and tongs rather than their bare hands.
  • Cleanliness: Observe the sellers' fundamental hygienic habits like how they prepare food, do they use clean utensils, and do they store ingredients properly or not?
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something appears suspicious, go with your intuition and find different vendors.
Besides these tips regarding how to search for safe street food, "Is Saigon Safe for Tourists" will provide you with more information to help you avoid unnecessary situations and have the best possible trips to Ho Chi Minh City ever!

What Are Some of the Most Popular Vietnamese Dishes That I Should Try in Ho Chi Minh City?

Ho Chi Minh City has a vibrant culinary scene, with plenty of tasty Vietnamese delicacies to enjoy. Here are some of the most popular Vietnamese foods that you must try when visiting Ho Chi Minh City:
  • Banh Mi: A Vietnamese-style baguette sandwich made with grilled meats (can be pork, chicken or beef), pate, mayonnaise, pickled veggies, cilantro, and chili sauce. Each Banh Mi vendor has their own recipes and secret ingredients to make their Banh Mi more unique.  For a deep dive into where to find the most authentic and mouth watering banh mi experience, check out our article on "The best banh mi in Saigon that locals love."
  • Goi Cuon: Fresh spring rolls or summer rolls are rice paper wrappers packed with rice noodles, shrimp, pork pieces, fresh herbs, and sometimes vegetables. They are typically served with peanut dipping sauce.
  • Xoi Man: A popular Vietnamese savory sticky rice dish, in which the main components are steamed sticky rice topped with ingredients like pate, flossed meats (made from chicken, pork or fish), boiled eggs,  Chinese sausage and some fresh vegetables. It's often served with different condiments like soy sauce or chili sauce.
  • Pho: Pho is Vietnam's most famous dish, consisting of flavorful broth, rice noodles, and various toppings such as beef slices, meatballs, or chicken. It's usually served with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime, and chili.
  • Com Tam: Also known as broken rice, is a popular dish that typically includes grilled marinated pork chop, a fried egg, pickled vegetables, and a side of fish sauce. It's a satisfying and filling meal.
  • Banh Xeo: This delicious Vietnamese pancake is created with rice flour, turmeric, and coconut milk. It has a combination of shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and green onions. Banh Xeo is typically served with fresh lettuce leaves and herbs, which can be used to wrap the pancake before eating. Here are some places frequently recommended for the best Banh Xeo in Saigon, where you can experience the authentic flavors and textures of this beloved Vietnamese dish.
  • Bun Bo Hue: A Vietnamese noodle soup with thick rice noodles, lemongrass beef broth (spicy is optional) and slices of beef and pork. Fresh toppings like banana blossom, herbs, lime, chili are often added to give the dish a complex, and highly flavorful taste.
These are only a few highlights of the many Vietnamese meals offered in Ho Chi Minh City. Don't miss out on the opportunity to visit local markets, street food booths, and restaurants to experience even more gastronomic delicacies and local specialties throughout your trip.

Do I Need to Learn Any Basic Vietnamese Phrases to Order Food in Ho Chi Minh City?

When it comes to ordering food in Ho Chi Minh City, you don't necessarily need to learn extensive Vietnamese language skills to get by. However, knowing a few basic phrases can be quite helpful and go a long way in enhancing your dining experiences. Here's a quick overview:
  • Hello: Xin chào (seen chow)
  • Thank you: Cảm ơn (gam uhhn)
  • How much?: Bao nhiêu? (bow nyew)
  • Cho tôi thực đơn (Cho toi took dern) - Menu, please
  • Tôi muốn gọi món... (Toi mu-on goy mond...) - I'd like to order…
  • Tôi bị dị ứng…(Toi be zee ung) - I’m allergic to…
  • Tính tiền (Tin teen) - Check, please
  • Bao nhiêu? (Bow new) - How much?
  • Tôi ăn chay (Toi ang jay) - I’m vegan
  • Không cay (Kong cay) - No spicy
Here are just a few basic phrases to enhance your dining experiences, but if you need the extensive version for different scenarios, "Vietnamese phrases for travel" will be helpful for you. Nonetheless, if you don't remember or can't pronounce words, using body language, pointing and smiling also works well, especially at street food stalls, with a smile.

Are There Any Vegetarian or Vegan Options Available in Ho Chi Minh City?

Yes, Ho Chi Minh City has a range of vegetarian and vegan alternatives for people who follow a plant-based diet. Vietnamese cuisine has a significant focus on fresh herbs, vegetables, and tofu, making vegetarian and vegan options easy to find. When dining out, it's usually a good idea to advise the restaurant staff about your dietary preferences so that your dish is properly prepared. However, searching for vegan restaurants can be time-consuming, so if you want to save time on strolling through the internet, this "Vegan Food Tour" article will provide vital information on vegan dining options in Ho Chi Minh City.

What Is the Best Way to Get around Ho Chi Minh City to Find Different Restaurants?

When exploring the diverse culinary scene in Ho Chi Minh City, there are several convenient options for getting around to find different restaurants and eateries. Here are some of the best ways to navigate the city:
  • Walking: For discovering food alternatives in a particular area, such as District 1's lively streets. It helps you to find modest, hidden gems and street food booths that you would otherwise overlook while commuting.
  • Taxi/Ride-Hailing Applications: Traditional metered taxis and ride-hailing applications such as Grab, Gojek, Be or Xanh SM are both handy and cost-effective options for traveling great distances. They make travel more comfortable and safe, particularly at night or in unfamiliar locations. Additionally, with these apps, you can also select motorbike options for a fun and efficient way to access hidden alleyways and neighborhood areas.
  • Motorbike: For a genuine local experience, consider motorbike tours or even renting a motorbike. With motorbike tours, the drivers will guide you around the city and try out at authentic local stops. While renting a motorbike, you can explore the city on your own schedule, maybe even find new hidden gems of your own.
Navigating Ho Chi Minh City effectively is essential for discovering the greatest local food, since the city's delectable eating options are distributed across its vibrant neighborhoods. Understanding the transportation choices will guarantee you make the most of your gastronomic trip throughout not only this city but also around Vietnam with "How to Travel in Vietnam", where we provide updated guide details transportation options, costs, and essential tips for a smooth and unforgettable journey.
So, how much does Ho Chi Minh City food cost in a day? As you can see, you can go as low as $5 per day or as high as $40 per day depending on your culinary preferences and budget. Whether you're a budget-conscious street food enthusiast, a mid-range restaurant explorer, or a luxury dining connoisseur, Ho Chi Minh City has something to tantalize your taste buds. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the diverse culinary landscape and costs associated with dining in this vibrant city.
So, pack your appetite and get ready to embark on a flavorful adventure in Ho Chi Minh City! We can't wait to welcome you to our city of culinary delights.
Author: Vy

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Our Ho Chi Minh Tour

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