Getting tired of eating street food? Willing to spend $6 on a great meal? Here are some of my favorite chains in Saigon:
ABC Bakery: the very first place we stepped into when reaching Ho Chi Minh, and we returned many times after that. It is a chain, but many bakeries sell only cakes and do not have a place to sit down. The one on Pham Ngu Lao has pastries and baguettes galore. But possibly the best part are the cappuccinos, with adorable hearts shaped in the foam. The baguette sandwiches (popular street food in Vietnam) are the best because the baguettes are much crunchier than the street versions. You can even get vegetarian ones, which are scrumptious. It was such a relief to find bread after a month without it, in Thailand.
There are so many Japanese restaurants to enjoy in Ho Chi Minh. Tokoyo Deli is a chain that provides “authentic” floor-style seating and delicious Sushi. The prices are not the cheapest in the city, but the sushi is fresh.
Pat A Chou is a bakery located near the Notre Dame cathedral, and boasts fresh pastries, delivered via scooter.
Mochi Sweets is a chain, located in malls around the city that has a wide assortment of one of my favorite desserts. If you haven’t tried it before, you must. Mochi has a pastry exterior made from glutenous rice with ice cream stuffed inside. Common flavors include: green tea, strawberry, mango, chocolate, and vanilla.
Annam Market is a haven for those of us missing gourmet cheeses and chocolates. A market filled with these imported goodies, as well as beer and cleaning products.
Highlands Coffee is the best chain in Vietnam. It’s like Starbucks, but better. The door is opened for you, and you are welcomed inside. There is WiFi, air-conditioning, frappes, free computers to use, and kind service. You can find them almost as easily as a Starbucks in NYC. My favorite items are the Cafe Frappe and Cookies and Cream Frappe and my favorite location is on Pham Ngu Lao, as it has the best couches. Still, I think Kita Coffee (pictured right) has better cappuccinos. Actually, let me say that they have the best cappuccinos, ever. I am not exaggerating.
Note: Of course, you should also try the street foods of Vietnam, but I will admit I quickly got bored with Phổ, and with all the inexpensive restaurants ($10 or less for two people!), cafes, and patisseries, we couldn’t help but try them.
What was your favorite meal in Ho Chi Minh? Do you feel guilty eating at touristy or chain restaurants when in a foreign country?