Secret guide to Ho Chi Minh City according to locals

From secret city islands to pizza with a Japanese twist, these are our favourite local recommendations for Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.
Pasteur Street Brewing Company

This microbrewery blends American beer brewing traditions with an eclectic array of ingredients that hail from Vietnam. A gold winner of the World Beer Cup, this is one of the few places in the city to visit for those who adore the current global microbrewing trend. Locally sourced ingredients that have made their way into this cool brand’s beer include jasmine, passion fruit, Saigon cinnamon and Phu Quoc black pepper.

Pasteur Street Brewing Company
Secret weapons cellar

This cellar on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street was discovered by a Saigon resident, who found his home had been used as a secret location by the Viet Cong, where numerous weapons were stored. The cellar is now one of the city’s smallest and most secret museums open to the public, with various artefacts from the war displayed in the tiny space.

Secret weapons cellar
Thanh Da island

Only locals really know about this island on the Saigon River in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. Cross to the island by bridge to discover a whole new city community on an island. There are various homes and dwellings here, but also rice paddies, fishing ponds and an array of locals’ animals, from pigs to geese!

Thanh Da island
Japanese pizza

Many people flock to Ho Chi Minh City for the growing foodie credentials, which are becoming known around the world. However, few people imagine they will visit Saigon to eat Japanese-inspired pizza! That’s exactly what you can expect to find at Pizza 4P’s, which has three branches in the city. So if you’re curious to try pizzas topped with salmon sashimi, miso cream or calamari seaweed, this is the place to visit!

Pizza 4P
Era Café

There are a number of secret cafés in Ho Chi Minh City, but this is one that is particularly loved by locals. There’s no signage and few signs of activity, so you just have to hope you’re in the right place when you knock on the door at 58c Tran Quoc Thao in District 3. Once inside, this speakeasy café has a distinctly European feel, with jazz playing from antique speakers, moody candles and a tiny menu of coffees, cocktails and juices.

Era Café
Binh Quoi Tourist Village

Believe it or not, more Vietnamese locals visit this site half an hour outside of Ho Chi Minh City than international visitors do. This is a place where you can immerse yourself in a reconstructed Vietnamese fishing village from past times. Saigon locals particularly love visiting here as a reminder of some of the more far flung parts of the country.

Binh Quoi Tourist Village

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