Banh Mi Hoa Ma (Vietnamese: Bánh Mì Hòa Mã) serves up one of the best breakfasts in Saigon. Stationed at the entrance to an alleyway in District 3, this Saigon institution prepares their banh mi a bit differently. Rather than eating a pre-assembled sandwich you’ll be enjoying on a banh mi “set”.
Grab one of the plastic stools lining the alleyway and order the “bánh mì ốp la đủ thứ“. You’ll be served a sizzling hot skillet of eggs and pork which is used to assemble your own banh mi sandwich on a fresh baguette. You may be surprised to learn that this is actually the more traditional way of eating a banh mi in Vietnam.
Don’t expect fine dining at Banh Mi Hoa Ma – you’ll be sitting on a plastic stool in an alleyway. But as you surely know by now some of the best food in Vietnam is served in this exact setting. You’ll also be surrounded by plenty of locals gobbling down their own breakfast which we always take as a sure sign of a great restaurant.
Don’t plan on visiting Banh Mi Hoa Ma if the forecast calls for rain as there is just a small awning off the side of the building that barely covers a handful of tables. You’ll surely get soaked if you get caught eating here in a downpour.
There are only 2 food options on the menu at Banh Mi Hoa Ma. The first and most popular is the banh mi fried egg set (bánh mì ốp la đủ thứ) which comes with 2 fried eggs and several cuts of pork all still sizzling in a small personal skillet. It also comes with a small dish of pate and mayonnaise and a fresh French baguette.
It’s up to you to decide how you want to eat your breakfast set. You can rip your baguette in half and pile everything onto it for a massive and delicious breakfast sandwich. Or you can eat the meat and eggs straight out of the skillet and then use the baguette to mop up the remaining egg yolks at the end.
Regardless of how you choose to eat it, the banh mi set at Banh Mi Hoa Ma is a strong contender for best banh mi in Saigon!
The second option is a pre-assembled banh mi that uses most of the same pork parts, but alas, no eggs. I am not sure why anyone would choose this option unless you were getting it for take-away.
The Price Tag
A hearty banh mi breakfast set from Banh Mi Hoa Ma will set you back 52,000 VND (~2.25 USD).
Throw in an iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá) and a wet napkin to clean your hands before or after your meal and you’re looking at a total price tag of 67,000 VND for breakfast.
If you’re in District 3 before 11am you should definitely stop by Banh Mi Hoa Ma. It’s everything you could want out of an authentic dining experience in Vietnam – fresh, delicious, filling, inexpensive, and eaten on a tiny plastic stool in an alleyway.
Make sure you visit in the morning as Banh Mi Hoa Ma is only open from 6am – 11am.
Location: 53 Cao Thắng, Phường 3, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam