The Lunch Lady of Saigon – Famous Street Food in Vietnam!

Giải Trí

The Lunch Lady is one of the most famous street food restaurants in Saigon, Vietnam. Get all the details here:

Nguyen Thi Thanh, better known as the Lunch Lady, owns and operates a street food stall in Saigon that serves soup noodles. The restaurant was made famous by Anthony Bourdain, who ate there on his No Reservations show on the Travel Channel, and deeply loved both the noodles and the experience of eating there. So during my trip to Saigon, along with eating all sorts of incredibly delicious Vietnamese street food, I made it a point to eat at the legendary Lunch Lady.

One of the cool things about the Lunch Lady in Saigon is that she serves a different noodle soup dish everyday of the week. After reading about all the days and her rotating menu, I decided to go on Monday, because I wanted to try her version of bun Thai, a Vietnamese and Thai fusion noodle dish. As we arrived for lunch, the restaurant was already buzzing with customers, both tourists and many locals as well. I could immediately sense the kindness and the passion of the food I was about to eat. I ordered a large bowl of noodles, which didn’t take long to arrive, and I was impressed with the beautiful decoration of ingredients and the colors of everything together. In order to make the bun Thai, the Lunch Lady first added a handful of bun, or rice noodles to a bowl, topped it with a few rings of squid and some beef, then ladled on a spoon of the slow and continual simmering broth. Then in went a handful of sliced vegetables and herbs, and finally a couple of shrimp on top.

The bowl of bun Thai smelled incredible, slightly sweet and sour, with a lovely acidic, almost citrus aroma to it. Before adding any condiments, I first decided to try the soup. It tasted almost the same as it looked, sour and sweet, and with a lovely balance of flavor. I’m not sure what meat the soup was based from, but I think it was beef. Being a lover of chili, I decided to dress my bowl of noodles with some fresh dry roasted chili oil, along with a squeeze of lime juice. The chili added some much needed heat, while the lime juice gave it a bit more sourness. The noodles were slightly chewy and about the size of spaghetti, and the mixture of ingredients was superb. One of the things I really like about how the Lunch Lady assembled her bowls of noodles was that she cooked the items separately, so nothing got overcooked.

Along with serving bowls of noodles, there’s a stall next to the Lunch Lady that serves goi cuon, or Vietnamese fresh summer rolls. As a lover of the fresh summer rolls, I couldn’t resist, so we ordered a plate, that came with 3 rolls. They were very fresh tasting, and I thought they were some of the best I had during my trip to Saigon. The rolls were filled with lettuce and basil, a couple of shrimp, and I really enjoyed the hoisin sauce topped with peanuts and fresh chilies.

The Lunch Lady was a great Vietnamese street food experience in Saigon. I’ve only eaten there once, and I ate the bun Thai, so I for sure can’t say how the food is everyday, but the day I went it was pretty decent. On top of the good food, just as Anthony Bourdain mentioned, the Lunch Lady is a fantastic atmosphere – it’s in the shade, it’s a nice location off the main road, and there was a beautiful breeze as I slurped down my bowl of noodles. Overall, I was very happy, and even though the Lunch Lady is very famous, it’s worth a visit when you are in Saigon. And on top of that, Nguyen Thi Thanh is also very nice.

Address: 23 Hoang Sa St., District 1 | Phuong Da Kao, District 1 (Quan 1), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: It’s best to eat here sometime around lunch.
Prices: 40,000 VND ($1.83) for a nice sized bowl of noodles, pretty decent portion size
How to get to the Lunch Lady: The restaurant is located not far from the Saigon zoo, tucked away into the neighborhood. You can either take a taxi directly there, or take public transportation to the zoo, and walk for just 5 – 10 minutes to get there.

Thank you all for watching this video, hope you enjoyed it.
Music in this video is courtesty of

Mark Wiens and Ying Wiens: &



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43 thoughts on “The Lunch Lady of Saigon – Famous Street Food in Vietnam!

  1. I've been there before, it's pretty good (nothing mind-blowing but the food was solid) – and as with all food vendors in Vietnam, very good value

  2. Sometimes the Lunch Lady has mood swings. She is not that friendly when we came to eat in her place.

  3. That chili garlic seems to be very common throughout Southeast Asia, it's also very common in street food stalls in the Philippines

  4. ใส่เสื้อ ไม่เผ็ดไม่กิน ไปกินที่เวียดนามแจ๋วว

  5. With no disrespect meant to vietnamese people, i would be alot more sceptical about the street food i eat there (in terms of quality) than I would in Thailand

  6. I hate watching his show. It make me feel food deprived and jealous of his lifestyle.
    I enjoy it very much. Thx

  7. Hi Mark Wiens, Many thank that you were come to Saigon and reviewed Saigon. I Think I may share some clip to my Chanel. Because your clip it is nice!

  8. I was just there yesterday! I had the Thursday Special. It was comparable to a Filipino dish called Pakbet. The place is great the food is too. The Lunch Lady is super sweet and smiles at her customers. I found out later, after the meal that this place had more to it than just a humble spot.

    To top it off, they realized that I love Tra Da (Iced Tea) and it being hot, they gave me a bigger cup. Now that's customer service.

    Best place in Saigon I ate at.

  9. we are providing cutlery also /spoons and forks ,still they want bathing soap ,to wash after having ,the church feast ,like in a hotel is it .

  10. mark ,see now in the ,church feast in singapore also ,some visitors asking for , soap to wash there hands ,after the feast . why they cannot wash with just water ,i dont know .

  11. Just saw the ending! So glad you included her in the video. 🥰 Anthony Bourdain won’t be forgotten but you along with a few others will continue to appreciate food and share with the world in a way that most won’t. And that’s what makes you stand apart.

  12. The Lunch Lady genuinely appreciated Anthony and she had me tearing in another video. Best of luck lunch lady.

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