Ho Chi Minh Citys food costs were a big question on our mind before visiting last month. After having stayed in the city for a while, we have broken down the different prices for you in this guide.
Ho Chi Minh city food costs on average USD 10-15 daily if you eat mostly street food. You can double that to USD 20-30 daily if you prefer eating inside in cheaper air-conditioned restaurants. If you want to enjoy luxurious food in hotels expect to pay up to USD 200 daily.
Under we will discuss more about the different food costs you will have a tourist in Ho Chi Minh City.
Western Food Costs HCMC
If you prefer to eat more familiar western food in Vietnam, you can expect to pay a heavy premium.
For a normal dish like a small pizza, spaghetti, or some Indian food you can expect to pay from 100,000 – 150,000 VND.
We often found that the drinks offered in western restaurants were also higher priced than the same ones found in Vietnamese restaurants. While a beer might only cost you 30,000 VND in a local food shop, the same brand of beer might cost you 35,000-50,000 VND in a cheaper western food restaurant.
On the most costly end, you have food like steak or other luxurious western food. You should expect to pay at least 400,000 VND to get a proper steak in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam Street Food Prices
Like anywhere else in the world, eating local is always the cheapest option.
Vietnamese street food is some of the cheapest in the world, and you don’t need to pay more than 15,000-35,000 for a bowl of pho. If you have never tried this dish before, it is one of the most delicious noodle soups we have ever tried!
Banh Mi is also a very tasty and popular dish in Ho Chi Minh City. You can expect to pay no more than 40,000-50,000 VND for a tasty baguette filled with vegetables and pork (or a range of other meats, or none!).
If you want to experience the real taste of Ho Chi Minh City, we strongly recommend trying out all the different street food around.
While it can seem intimidating and slightly dirty from a westerners’ perspective, it is in fact very safe, and mostly very clean. We have never gotten sick from eating street food in Asia after years on the road.
Just make sure that you don’t eat too much of the deep-fried stuff, as that is not healthy just because it is Vietnamese!
If eating outside by the traffic is too much for you, but you still want to experience food in more street food style, check out a shophouse restaurant!
A shophouse restaurant is one where there is a business on the first floor, while the family lives on the second floor.
These places are often just as nice as a normal restaurant and the cleanliness may put you at ease if you worry about getting sick outside on the street.
These restaurants are often a good middle ground between the more expensive restaurants and the dirt-cheap street food.
You can often get air-conditioned tables, or at least a fan blowing on you as you enjoy your slightly more expensive bowl of pho.
Here we found the prices to be around 40,000-50,000 VND for pho, while a beer usually set us back 30,000-35,000 VND. So expect to pay about 50% more for your food in these places compared to the outside spots.
We found that the quality of the food in these places is often about the same as what you can find outside on the street. In other words, delicious!
Vietnam Nightlife Prices
Just like the food, the Vietnamese nightlife comes in a variety of different price options.
From the cheapest, 5000 VND homemade beer to the 150,000 VND beer in the high-end bars and nightclubs.
Cheap, fun options
The cheapest option is Bia Hoi. This is a freshly brewed, homemade beer. Since there are no preservatives in Bia Hoi, it is always served fresh, and on tap.
These beers can be found for as little as 5000 VND in the backpacker streets, as well as other local areas. If you are going out in Ho Chi Minh City, this is definitely something we recommend that you check out!
The next jump in price is to about 25,000-35,000 VND for a bottled local Vietnamese beer. Unfortunately, these are not fresh but can be found all around Ho Chi Minh Citys party areas like Bui Vien at night.
Just make sure to be careful, as some of the bars around there cater to the sex industry. And like any party area, there will be drug dealers and pickpockets sneaking around.
Always pay for your drinks as you get them, or there may suddenly be a few more added to your tab that don’t belong there!
So keep always keep your wits about you and don’t drink yourself blind. Or you might end up finding yourself getting taken advantage of.
More expensive options
If you are tired of sitting down on the street level like a tiny ant, a sky bar may be the thing for you!
You will find a huge range of sky bars around Ho Chi Minh City, but in general, they will be more expensive than the ground counterparts.
Up here you can expect to pay from 50,000-150,000 for a local bottled beer (unfortunately, no Bia Hoi!). What you pay for is the beautiful view overlooking the city of Ho Chi Minh City.
You can often get something to eat up on these sky bars as well. However, the prices are often similar to restaurants, or the more expensive cafes around the city. Expect to pay a few hundred thousand for a meal and a drink at one of these spots.
There are also a bunch of nightclubs around the city where you can expect to pay about 100,000-150,000 VND for a drink. While we personally didn’t go to any, we heard good things about the clubs in Ho Chi Minh City.
Beer & Street Food Tour
If you are not in the mood for the clubs or sky bars like us, hiring a local for a street food tour may be a great option for you!
These tours usually last 3 or 4 hours, and you will get a local guide to show you around on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. You may get to see some of the more local sights in the narrow streets of the city. And since these locals work with tourists every day, they are very friendly, and most certainly know where to take you for some delicious street food!
This takes a lot of the guesswork and research out of the equation, but at a higher cost than going by yourself. Tours usually costs between 35-50 USD depending on what you want.
You can find a large number of different offerings like food tours, nightlife tours, and even boat tours.
In conclusion, there is something for every budget. I would strongly recommend visiting Vietnam sooner rather than later if you worry about costs.
As from our experience, the costs for both food and accommodation seems to be rising year after year. While Vietnamese street food will certainly still be cheap for years to come, it could end up with the same fate as the street food of Bangkok, where it got removed from most of the city’s streets.
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