Propaganda Vietnamese Bistro
Just a block from Notre Dame Cathedral, Propaganda serves fabulous traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Any meal here starts best with one of the many spring roll options—the duck and spicy ginger fish sauce is a favorite. For a main, try the juicy BBQ pork and a glass of red wine from the very food-friendly list. The walls of Propaganda are lined with colorful murals depicting traditional Vietnamese life and bring a certain level of liveliness and excitement to the establishment. Frequented mainly by tourists, the prices are a bit above average.
Address: Hàn Thuyên 21, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Brand new and very modest, this hole in the wall on Vo Van Kiet has already developed quite a following in Saigon. El Sham serves traditional Syrian cuisine from meat shawarma, to falafel or tabbouleh—all attractively prepared. The ingredients are either locally sourced or actually flown in from Syria. The fresh veggies are a welcome sight for vegetarians in a city where eating out can be notoriously difficult. Meats are prepared over a large grill just outside the restaurant’s front door. The decor is simple and a bit bland, yet the abundance of heart-healthy delicious options will keep you coming back for more.
Address: Võ Văn Kiệt 300, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Secret Garden feels more like a home cooked meal than eating out. After you make the five-floor trek up, this romantic rooftop experience will indulge your taste buds in traditional Vietnamese fare. Dishes are served in tasteful pottery. A pleasant atmospheric environment creates a laid-back vibe in this outdoor space. Secret Garden is a mix of locals and tourists, and the prices are very reasonable.
Address: Pasteur 158, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Looming over the canal, Xien Khe is a terrific place to start or finish a night. Wind your way up the narrow back staircase, and find a table on the open-air third floor. As the sun sets and the temperature drops, Saigon’s weather becomes shockingly pleasant. The refreshing breeze makes this an incredibly enjoyable place to grab a dollar beer, some quick traditional Vietnamese food, and to watch the city go by. With an abundance of dives, this stretch of Hoang Sa is a great area to bar hop well off the beaten path.
Address: Trần Khắc Chân 117, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hands down, the best burger in Saigon. Soul Burger can be a bit tough to find, but if you put in the effort, you won’t be disappointed. This narrow burger joint occupies the second floor of an unremarkable building, directly opposite of Ben Thanh Market. Only accessible through a narrow, dimly lit hallway that runs alongside a Vietnamese noodle restaurant, Soul Burger brings a char broiled Kansas City flavor to Ho Chi Minh. Take a seat at the balcony overlooking the market and stuff your face with artery-clogging goodness.
Address: Phan Bội Châu 4, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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