Ho Chi Minh City is a mess of people, motorbikes, and pedestrian unfriendly streets, making it rather difficult to source out and navigate your way to basically anywhere in the city via foot. I stayed in District 1 on Pham Ngu Lao Road, which was close to a lot of action: restaurants, bars, “clubs”, and the like. I was particularly close to Bui Vien Street, which is a bustling street filled with tourists (without sidewalks, of course), and on my first night of wandering around to find somewhere to eat I spotted a queue outside of a restaurant. My foodie-senses instantly turned on and I had to check it out. Thankfully I did, as Bun Cha turned out to be one of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.
Located on an incredibly busy street, Bun Cha is a hidden gem that stands out amongst the other grimy restaurants that try to lure you in. The restaurant is small; only seating about 20 or so people, so you can expect to wait for a table if you arrive during peak hours. I went there twice during my two days in HCMC and I saw the same (and only) two staff members – most notably a very sweet male server who seemed to primarily be manning all the tables. The decor is simple yet cute, and very warm and inviting. Overall, the vibe from this quaint eatery surpasses any other place I saw within this area.
Given its name, you can assume that the main dish on the menu is bun cha, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Originally from Hoi An, Bun Cha serves up some truly authentic bun cha (grilled pork, noodles, and some green veg) – the pork was to die for. I loved how the chopsticks came with a little card that told you how to eat the noodles: add the garlic and chili to your soup bowl, add the green vegetables, then add the noodles and enjoy, which was especially useful for someone like me who had not tried these noodles before. Aside from the famous bun cha dish, there is a range of side dishes to order (we tried the fried beef in green rice, which was good, but I’d rather have two bowls of bun cha instead!) and the Saigon beer here is actually cheaper than it is in the local markets so be sure to drink up. Basically, Bun Cha is a must-eat while in Ho Chi Minh!
145 Bui Vien
Ho Chi Minh City