Your Definitive Guide to Breakfast, Find it in Saigon

Food & Drink Saigon

In Vietnam, breakfast is the most important meal. You can find people rushing to their jobs in the morning, but they’ll always stop and pick up a to-go box or soup. In such a dynamic city as Ho Chi Minh, you can easily start a new day with a great dish.

Good morning! Did you sleep well? We hope you did. Do you have hunger pains that only good food can satisfy? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a guide to what you can have for breakfast in Vietnam, just as the locals do.

Even though some research has said that the Vietnamese spend most of their meal-money on breakfast, this meal still seems to be the cheapest meal of the day. A standard breakfast with a banh mi (Vietnamese baguette) and ca phe sua da (Vietnamese coffee) will cost you only around 20,000 VND (less than 1 USD), or a bowl of noodles with iced tea is around 30,000 VND (about 1.5 USD).

The Vietnamese have their first meal quite early as most people are in rush for school and work. Usually, breakfast time in Vietnam is around 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM, sometimes even as early as 5:30 AM, depending on the job. Everyone tries to at least quickly grab a loaf of banh mi or a takeaway coffee. When it comes to Vietnamese breakfast, it may take hours to give you a full list of recommendations. But do not worry! We are here to guide you on your culinary journey.


Since there are so many options for breakfast in Vietnam, we’re making it easy on you, and listing the ones that we think are the best. Vietnamese noodles are an obvious choice as there are several kinds in the Vietnamese repertoire.

Pho Hoa Pasteur

Pho Hoa – Ho Chi Minh city’s signature!

Vietnamese people usually eat soup for their breakfast. You can find here more than ten different kinds of noodles. From North to South, each place has their own style to make their noodles. Whether it is original or influenced recipes, some common things between all dishes are the fantastic taste and a great balance of nutrition. Here are some popular noodle soups the Vietnamese usually have for breakfast

Vietnamese beef noodle soup – Pho 

Yes, let’s talk about the national dish. If you have time to take a seat at a breakfast stall, do it. Slurping down a bowl of pho while enjoying the mental rock music of Vietnam’s traffic is never a bad idea. No one knows exactly when this Vietnamese dish was invented, but everyone knows for sure the noodle has gained popularity domestically and is now even enjoyed all over the world.

The broth is what dictates the quality of a bowl of pho. Normally it takes at least eight to ten hours to simmer beef bones with some spices like cinnamon, star anise, etc. Well-known pho restaurants around the country have passed down their secret recipes from generation to generation, which has cemented their reputations nationwide.

Phở Cao Vân

Although pho is cooked the same way throughout Vietnam, there are regional differences when it comes to the treatment of pho. Click here for more detailed information. The Southerners, for instance, love to have their pho served with a small plate of boiled bean sprouts and with green herbs like coriander or Thai basil. In addition, they normally need a wedge of lime and a little serving bowl so that they can make a dipping sauce. While eating, they dip beef or chicken into the sauce to enhance the taste of the meat. If you’re feels lazy going through these time-consuming steps, just put all the sauces right into your pho bowl. People in the north, however, eat their pho in a less fussy manner. They might just add a couple of boiled spring onion stems or some cloves of pickled garlic into their bowl.

Did you know…

Pho in central Vietnam is different from pho found in the North and South. They instead use “hu tieu” noodles, which are much thinner and chewier.

Besides the traditional Pho, there are also a couple more choices of pho like Vietnamese rolled noodle (pho cuon) or fried pho noodle (pho xao). But for breakfast, people usually stick to pho soup.

Where to find the tastiest pho in Ho Chi Minh City

Pho Hoa

  • Address: 260C Pasteur street, District 3
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Price: 68,000 – 78,000 VND

Pho Hung

  • Address: 243 Nguyen Trai street, District 1
  • Business hours: 6:30 AM – 3 AM
  • Price: 68,000 – 78,000 VND

Pho Le

  • Address: 413-415 Nguyen Trai street, District 1
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 1 PM
  • Price: 64,000 – 77,000 VND

Pho Phu Vuong

  • Address 1: 120 Nguyen Thai Binh street, District 1
  • Address 2: 339 Le Van Sy street, Tan Binh District
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 1 PM and 4 PM – 9:30 PM
  • Price: 50,000 – 73,000 VND

Pho chay Nhu (vegetarian)

  • Address: 54 Truong Quyen street, District 1
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
  • Price: 40,000 VND

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup – Bun bo Hue 

Spicy beef noodle soup is another famous dish of Vietnam. It originally is from Hue, the center of Vietnam, and has quickly become popular throughout the country. Because of the spicy flavor and the aromatic scent of the well-cooked broth, this soup is an ideal choice for the first meal of the day.

Bun Bo Hue

Just like pho, the broth is the soul of bun bo Hue. It might look simple but it requires a lot of effort to make a good bowl of bun bo. The main ingredient of this soup is beef. The chef boils the beef bones for hours to bring out the sweetness of the marrow. Then he/she spices up the soup by adding shrimp sauce (mam ruoc), lemongrass and purple onion. Bun bo Hue is usually eaten with rice vermicelli. No Vietnamese noodle soup can be completed without a veggie plate. With bun bo Hue, the seller will give you a set of greens including bean sprouts, morning glory, and banana flower.

A bowl of Vietnamese spicy noodle soup is rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber. It can provide enough energy for your body to stay active all morning. Besides, the spicy flavor can efficiently wake your mind up to get ready for the new day ahead.

Did you know…

  • Instant noodles go well with bun bo Hue broth so you should definitely ask for it.

Where to find the best bun bo Hue in Ho Chi Minh City

If you want to sit down for a bowl of bun bo Hue, here are some good restaurants you can stop by:

Bun Bo Dong Ba

  • Address: 110A Nguyen Du street, Ben Thanh ward, District 1
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Price: 50,000 – 70,000 VND

Bun Bo Nam Giao

  • Address: 248 Bui Vien street, Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 11 PM
  • Price: 60,000 – 70,000 VND

Bun bo Hue Nhan Tri 2

  • Address: 758 Tran Hung Dao street, Ward 5, District 5
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 11 PM
  • Price: 65,000 – 75,000 VND

Bun Bo

  • Address: 212b/1 Nguyen Trai street, Nguyen Cu Trinh ward, District 1
  • Business hours: 3 PM – 10 PM
  • Price: 23,000 – 30,000 VND

Pork noodle soup – Hu tieu

Hu tieu  is a fusion food which was first introduced to the South by the Chinese and the Cambodians. It then became a signature dish of Southern Vietnam. People love to eat hu tieu at anytime of the day, especially for breakfast.

Hu Tieu Nam Vang
Hu Tieu Nam Vang

A bowl of pork noodle soup normally is not all about pork. It also has some seafood like shrimp and squid, and also pork organs and quail eggs. It only takes around three to five minutes for a bowl of hu tieu to be served, not to mention the pork noodle soup is dense with nutrients and energy, so people make it a top choice for breakfast.

Where to find the tastiest hu tieu in Ho Chi Minh City

Hu tieu Nam Vang Nhan Quan

  • Address: 72 Nguyen Thuong Hien street, District 3
  • Business hours: 5 AM – 11 PM
  • Price: 50,000 – 72,000 VND

Hu tieu Nam Vang Quynh

  • Address: 65A Nguyen Trai street, District 1
  • Business hours: 24 hours
  • Price: 73,000 – 88,000 VND

Hu Tieu Thanh Xuan

  • Address: 62 Ton That Thiep street, District 1
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
  • Price: 30,000 – 60,000 VND

Vietnamese baguette – Banh mi

Noodles for breakfast seems like a really nice option, but what if you’re a busy person? Having time for a bowl of soup might be really hard to manage. No worries! We have just the thing for you!

Vietnamese baguette – Banh mi
Amazing “banh mi” can be found from street vendors!

Banh mi  is another typical breakfast in Vietnam. If you are a busy individual, grabbing a quick loaf of banh mi on your way to work is a great idea. The French came to Vietnam long ago and left us this awesome baguette. A banh mi sandwich is a harmonious mix of meat, veggies, and tasty sauces. For generations now, the Vietnamese have continued bringing its taste into play and thus, have made it popular worldwide. You will easily find that it’s less fatty and much healthier compared to giant burgers from fast food stores. Having a crispy banh mi with a takeaway ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk) is a perfect way to start your day in Vietnam.

Where to find the tastiest banh mi in Ho Chi Minh City

Banh mi heo quay Lien Thai

  • Address: 95 – 97 Tran Dinh Xu street, District 1
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 9 PM
  • Price: 20,000 VND

Banh mi thit nuong (grilled pork)

  • Address: 37 Nguyen Trai street, District 1
  • Business hours: 5 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Price: 18,000 VND

Banh mi cha ca (fish ball)

  • Address: 77 Bui Thi Xuan street, District 1
  • Business hours: 2 PM – 8 PM
  • Price: 15,000 – 20,000 VND

Banh mi chay Thoi Ke (Vegetarian)

  • Address: 829 Le Hong Phong street, Ward 12, District 1
  • Business hours: 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Price: 10,000 VND

Sticky rice – Xoi 

As simple and convenient as banh mi, xoi (Vietnamese steamed sticky rice) is our next on-the-go breakfast suggestion. Walking along the streets in any Vietnamese city, you will easily encounter female vendors carrying bamboo poles with hanging baskets at both ends skillfully balanced on their shoulders. Many of these women make their living with daily xoi baskets.

Sticky rice – Xoi 
Sticky rice is a norm of Vietnamese breakfast!

Regarding its taste, there are basically two types of xoixoi ngot (sweet sticky rice) and xoi man (savory sticky rice). Skillfully wrapped in a banana leaf, topped with grated coconut, mashed mung beans, and delicious sesame seeds, xoi ngot is definitely a good choice for a non-meat option. Yet, if you like a more savory tasting xoi, then xoi ga (sticky rice with chicken) or xoi thap cam (chow mein topped sticky rice) should be on the top of your list!

Did you know…

  • Xoi is not only a popular breakfast but also a late night meal for many Vietnamese daily. But you shouldn’t eat this dish in the evening because of its undigestive attributes.
  • Xoi can be eaten as a kind of dessert or snack. For example: xoi nep cam ya-ua (yogurt with purple sticky rice) or com ruou xoi vo (sticky rice with special rice).

Where to find the tastiest xoi in Ho Chi Minh City

Xoi che Bui Thi Xuan

  • Address: 111 Bui Thi Xuan street, District 1
  • Business hours: 6:30 AM – 6 PM
  • Price: 22,000 – 25,000 VND

Xoi ga Ut Map (chicken with sticky rice)

  • Address: 19 Nguyen Trung Truc street, District 1
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 9 PM
  • Price: 20,000 – 50,000 VND

Xoi La Chuoi

  • Address: 83A 3 Thang 2 street, District 10
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
  • Price: 10,000 – 28,000 VND

Steamed broken rice – Com tam

Com tam (steamed broken rice) is generally an all-day option, but you will come across many Vietnamese enjoying this dish during breakfast hours. This food was once regarded as a dish for the poor, but it’s now making its way to fancy tables in luxury restaurants. You, however, can find good places for com tam in narrow alleys hiding within the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh City.

Steamed broken rice – Com tam
It serves as a breakfast, a lunch, or even a dinner!

The dish is always served with grilled pork ribs, along with slices of cucumber and tomatoes and of course, it should always have a little bowl of sweet-and-sour fish sauce called nuoc mam. Pickled carrots or morning glory are also a great accompaniment to a fantastic plate of com tam.

For more info on com tam, follow on through to Travel Blog Phuot3mien Street Feast video here .

Did you know…

  • Com tam is also called “com suon”, meaning rice and ribs.
  • Com tam is not only about ribs. You should also try side items such as cha (Vietnamese meatloaf steamed egg omelet), sunshine egg, and bi (shredded pork skin). These toppings blend together in perfect harmony with your com suon.

Where to find the best com tam in Ho Chi Minh City

Com tam Bui

  • Address: 100 Thach Thi Thanh street, Tan Dinh ward, District 1
  • Business hours: 6:30 AM- 11:00 PM
  • Price: 30,000 – 58,000 VND

Com tam Thuan Kieu

  • Address: 26 Ton That Tung street, District 1
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
  • Price: 50,000 – 80,000 VND

Com tam so 1

  • Address: 1 Nguyen Thuong Hien street, Ward 5, District 3
  • Business hours: 6 AM – 1 PM
  • Price: 25,000 – 30,000 VND

Com tam Thoi ke (Vegetarian)

  • Address: 829 Le Hong Phong street, District 5
  • Business hours: 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Price: 25,000 – 30,000 VND

Vietnamese milked coffee – Ca phe sua da

The last item on our list isn’t a full-bodied meal. However, ca phe sua da is a breakfast institution and we would be remiss not to mention this gloriously decadent cup of coffee. This is a breakfast staple and something ubiquitous in Vietnam.

Vietnamese milked coffee – Ca phe sua da
A typical ca phe sua da

Ca phe sua da, or Vietnamese iced coffee, is a strong dose of black filtered coffee, layered over a pool of condensed milk. The beverage is served in a tall glass with ice and then stirred to balance out the richness of the condensed milk. You then get a beverage reminiscent of a melted pool of coffee ice cream. While it comes in takeaway form, there is a tendency to drink it unhurriedly. Pull up a little chair or stool at an al fresco sidewalk café, order a ca phe sua da, and watch the world awaken.

Ca phe sua da and banh mi go hand-in-hand. If you are walking along any street in Ho Chi Minh City, it is not difficult to find yourself a nice coffee stop. As local experts, we are giving you our recommendations for the best ca phe sua da in town. Add these to your what-to-drink list!

Check this out for a special coffee shop that you MUST try! Or how about some egg coffee ? Do you want to try that?!

Did you know…

  • Ca phe sua da is a favorite drink of people of all ages.
  • Brewed coffee is a part of the lovely Vietnamese culture. On a low-key Sunday, you can gather with your friends at a coffee shop and chat about life as you watch the coffee trickle down the cup. Then just relax and enjoy it.
  • There are many Vietnamese hits written about this special beverage.

Where to find the tastiest ca phe sua da in Ho Chi Minh City

Vy Cafe

  • Address: 278 Le Thanh Ton street, District 1
  • Business hours: 24 hours
  • Price: 38,000 – 50,000 VND

Cong Ca phe

  • Address 1: 1st floor, 26 Ly Tu Trong street, District 1
  • Business hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Address 2: 127-129 Bui Vien street, District 1; 02 Mac Thi Buoi street, District 1
  • Business hours: 24 hours
  • Price: 35,000 – 65,000 VND

Shin coffee

  • (The coffee here is quite fancy but truly worth your money. It is more than just a cup of coffee, I would say)
  • Address 1: 13 Nguyen Thiep street, District 1
  • Address 2: 18 Ho Huan Nghiep street, District 1
  • Business hours: 7:30 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Price: 7:30 AM- 10:30 PM

Café Vot

(This coffee address is highly recommended for those who really want to learn more about coffee culture in Ho Chi Minh City. The 60-year-old coffee shop will definitely satisfy your curiosity.)

  • Address: 330/2 Phan Dinh Phung street, Phu Nhuan District
  • Business hours: 15,000 – 40,000 VND

We hope that with these suggestions you have found your go-to Vietnamese breakfast. Don’t be shy to try new things and let us know!

Follow our Travel Blog Phuot3mien to get more information about traveling in Vietnam. Here are some recommended articles for you:

Most Charming Tea Houses in Ho Chi Minh City

Romantic Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City for a Delicious Date

A Late Night Street Food Tour in Ho Chi Minh City 

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