Our local picks dishes that warm your stomach on rainy days in Saigon

On rainy days, wandering in Saigon and enjoying delicious food is a memorable experience you don't want to miss.

Our local picks dishes that warm your stomach on rainy days in Saigon
Photo by Unsplash

Unlike many other areas in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) has only two distinct seasons throughout the year: dry and rainy seasons. Rain may catch you unexpectedly from May to late November. If you plan to travel during this time, let's make your trip enjoyable with a wide range of fascinating activities for rainy days in Saigon.

One of the most interesting activities is exploring Saigon’s culinary style. On rainy days, wandering in Saigon and enjoying delicious food is a memorable experience you don't want to miss. Here are some locally sourced ideas to lighten your appetite.

Hotpot

Hotpot is an ideal meal for the rainy season, especially when shared among friends or family. Hotpot is available for lunch and dinner in Saigon, with a variety of options. You can either try a local outdoor eatery or stay comfy in a premier hotpot restaurant.

Beef hotpot

Nhà Gỗ Beef Hotpot (Wooden house beef hot pot). Photo by diadiembinhduong.

Beef hotpot is a popular dish in Saigon, which is both tasty and nutritious. You can find a similar taste of Phở (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) in beef hotpot at many places. Others adjust the seasoning, herb, and side dishes to make a unique hotpot flavor. Beef hotpot is typically served with beef brisket, meatball, beef tendon, etc, fresh vegetables, noodles, and a special sauce known as Chao (fermented tofu sauce).

The sauce is rich, creamy, and has a distinct aroma. If the sauce is too difficult for you, leave it out. Normally, a 200,000 VND - 300,000 VND (~$8.50 - $12.80) hotpot order is enough for 2-3 people.The suggestions below are loved spots to have superb beef hotpot in Saigon:

Nhà Gỗ Beef Hotpot (Wooden house beef hotpot)

The restaurant style is inspired by Da Lat's beef hotpot - one of the must-try dishes in Da Lat. Beef bones are cooked for around 20 hours to have a rich and flavorful broth.

Address:

  • 162 Ly Thai To Street, Ward 1, District 3, HCMC
  • 426 Phan Van Tri, Ward 7, Go Vap District, HCMC
  • 467 Kha Van Can Street, Linh Dong Ward, Thu Duc District, Thu Duc City
  • Price: 120,000 VND - 500,000 VND ($5.00 - $21.00)
  • Opening hour: 11:00am - 9:00pm
  • Space: indoor seat, no air-con

Hai Tín Beef Hotpot

Hai Tn Beef Hotpot is in district 2 near the Thao Dien area. This is a popular hangout for locals after work and on weekends. The broth here is lighter in flavor while remaining balanced. They also serve stir-fries, steamed meat, and a grill alongside the hotpot.

  • Address: 60 Tran Nao Street, Binh An Ward, District 2, Thu Duc City
  • Price: from 100,000 VND ($4.20)
  • Opening hour: 10:00am - 9:00pm
  • Space: the indoor seat, open space, no air-con

Goat meat hotpot

Goat meat hotpot is a great combination of the meat's strong aroma and various types of herbs. Photo by Trivietphat.

Goat meat is a savory protein source that is leaner and lower in fat than beef or lamb. Goat meat has a strong and unique aroma that requires special preparation techniques and a large amount of spices to marinate before cooking. The broth is flavorful and nourishing, made from simmered goat bones and medicinal herbs in clay pots. The goat meat is fresh and tender. Goat meat hotpot, like beef hotpot, is served with vegetables, noodles, tofu skin, and chao (fermented tofu sauce). The dish is perfect for rainy days in Saigon. We recommend herewith some local places if you're interested in goat meat hotpot:

  1. Đồng Hương

Address:

  • 663 To Ngoc Van Street, Tam Binh Ward, Thu Duc District, Thu Duc City
  • 113 Hoang Dieu 2 Street, Linh Trung Ward, Thu Duc District, Thu Duc City
  • 268 Do Xuan Hop Street, Phuoc Long A Ward, District 9, Thu Duc City
  • 35 Nguyen Van Dau Street, Ward 6, Binh Thanh District, HCMC
  • 33B Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, HCMC

Price: From 150,000 VND ($6.40)

Opening hour: 9:00am - 9:30pm

Space: indoor and outdoor seat, mostly open space

  1. Trương Định

Address: 5 Truong Dinh Street, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC

Price: From 150,000 VND - 320,000 VND ($6.40 - $13.50)

Opening hour: 10:00am - 9:00pm

Space: indoor seat, open space

Brief notes:

  • The staff at local hotpot restaurants are not good at English, making communication difficult. It's more convenient to bring local friends.
  • The restaurants are usually crowded in the evening or on weekends, which leads to slow service sometimes.

Premier Hotpot chains

A proper choice for those who prefer comfy space and professional services. Photo by manwah.com.vn

In recent years, a lot of Hot Pot chains have been established in Saigon, providing a diversity of hotpot choices from around the world. If you look for a proper restaurant, with nice setup, air-con and professional services, the restaurants below are suitable options:



  1. Haidilao (Sichuan style)

Address: Mostly located in famous buildings or shopping malls in Saigon (Bitexco, Vincom, Crescent mall, Giga mall, Hung Vuong Plaza, Estella Place, Landmark 81, Nowzone)

Price: À La Carte menu, usually ranges from 400.000 VND/person (~$17.00)

Opening hour: 9:00am - 10:00pm

Space: indoor seat, air-con

Tips:

  • Regular customers recommend ordering a 4-partition pot, dual flavors, and 2 mineral waters as group guests to save cost.
  • Because the restaurants are usually busy at dinnertime, you should arrive early to queue because reservations are not accepted after 5:00pm. Booking ahead of time is only available before 5:00pm (strongly advised).
  1. Manwah (Taiwanese style)

Address:

  • Inside Shopping malls: BigC Truong Chinh, Estella Place, Giga Mall, Saigon Center, Vincom, Vivo City
  • 65 An Duong Vuong Street, Ward 8, District 5, HCMC
  • 19 Cao Thang Street, Ward 2, District 3, HCMC
  • 417 Hoang Van Thu Street, Ward 2, Tan Binh District, HCMC

Price: Buffet menu from 419,000 VND/pax (~$17.80)

Opening hour: 10:00am - 10:00pm

Space: indoor seat, air-con

Tips: Desserts buffet line is highly recommended

CONGEE

In the rainy season, congee is a simple and warm dish to treat your stomach. Congee in Saigon is a fusion of many cultures and regional influences.

  1. Hang Xanh Congee (Teochew style)

Address: 283 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street, Ward 15, Binh Thanh District, HCMC

Price: from 25,000 VND ($1.00)

Opening hour: 2:00pm -3:00am the next day

Space: open space by the street, with portable cover when it rains

You can choose as many side dishes as you want to eat with congee. Photo by foody.

Hang Xanh Congee is a roadside diner near the Hang Xanh crossroads. Passing through this area at night will attract you with the aroma of congee cooked with pandan leaves. There are two different-named food stalls. The flavors and types of side dishes, in our opinion, are similar. They have a showcase with a variety of side dishes; all you have to do is look and choose what you want. We usually order one bowl of congee and 2-3 side dishes. Salted eggs, Vietnamese pickles, and braised anchovy fish are popular ones.

  1. Chao Suon Chu Chen (Uncle Chen - Pork ribs congee)

Address: 281 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, HCMC

Price: 65,000 VND - 150,000 VND ($2.80 - $6.50)

Opening hour: 7:00am -3:00am the next day

Space: indoor seat, air-con

Congee is served in a clay pot to maintain the heat. Photo by kanawa.vn

Chao suon Chu Chen was inspired by a popular Hanoi rib congee recipe and the owner's creativity to create a diverse congee menu for customers. You can find a variety of congee choices, from meat to seafood and mushroom at Chao suon Chu Chen. Hot congee is served in a clay pot, the flavor is balanced and tasty.

VIETNAMESE NOODLE SOUP

On rainy days, it would be remiss of us not to mention a vast array of Vietnamese noodle soups, ranging from Pho, Bun Bo (Hue beef noodle soup), Hu tieu (rice noodle with pork bone soup), and Bun rieu (crab noodle soup). From dusk till dawn, a steaming bowl of noodle soup can be found on every street corner in Saigon. Taking a sip of hot, flavorful broth while watching raindrops fall on the street is an incredible experience.

A bowl of noodle soup on rainy days is absolutely ideal. Photo by truyenhinhdulich.vn

Consider our recommendations for the best Pho in Saigon and favorite spots for delectable vermicelli soup in Saigon when looking for great places to eat noodle soup in the rainy season.