Mexican food is the one type of cuisine that we really miss from home when traveling in SE Asia. So we’ve been on a hunt in Ho Chi Minh City to find the best Mexican restaurant. It has been a fun challenge since there are about 40 in the city to choose from.
Our quest brought us to Gringo Tacos in District 1, a small restaurant that was started by a Southern California man who had the same craving that we did. He was never satisfied by the Mexican restaurant options around HCMC so he ended up starting his own.
And Gringo Tacos does do a few things better than the competition. First of all their tortilla chips are thin, salty, and delicious. The other chips we’ve come across have been too thick and unseasoned for our liking. Plus they actually have refried beans, a delicacy (that can’t be the right word) that few other restaurants in town offer.
Gringo Tacos is a small, unassuming restaurant with just a few wooden tables to choose from. It’s a casual setting with a helpful waitstaff and a friendly owner. It would probably be difficult for them to accommodate large parties at one single table due to their small size.
The menu at Gringo Tacos is pretty much what you’d expect from a Westernized Mexican restaurant. Burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, tostadas, and tacos are all served with your choice of fish, shrimp, pork, chicken, or steak.
As mentioned, we started with the tortilla chips and guacamole which was delicious. The guac was thick, spicy, and delicious.
For our mains, we had a carne asada burrito but opted for the “wet” style so it was smothered with tomatillo sauce and melted cheese. The meat was tender and seasoned perfectly and the tomatillo sauce gave it a kick. It was delicious and we highly recommend it!
Our other main was the vegetable tacos which actually weren’t our favorite because they were rather bland. They were also fairly small considering the price. If you do try their tacos, opt for one of the meat options instead.
The prices at Gringo Tacos are moderate by Vietnamese standards. Opting for shrimp will make your bill quite a bit more expensive. Burritos range from 120k – 225k VND (~$5 – 10 USD), plus an extra 50k to make it “wet”. Tacos are 40k – 70k each, chips and guac are 80k VND, and chimichangas range from 165k – 265k.
On Taco Tuesdays you’ll get a 10% discount on tacos and on Margarita Mondays you’ll get discounts on glasses and pitchers of margaritas. They also have Happy Hour daily from 5:00pm – 7:30pm with 50% off of selected cocktails, margaritas, and beer.
Our total order with the items listed above and two nonalcoholic drinks was 530k VND (~$23 USD), and that was with our Taco Tuesday discount.
Note that a 10% tax will be added onto your bill.
If you’re in the mood for something other than Vietnamese food, we would definitely recommend giving Gringo Tacos a try! Go on a Monday or Tuesday during happy hour to take advantage of their food and drink specials. And definitely get the chips and guacamole with a “wet” carne asada burrito, you won’t regret it!
Location: 137 Calmette, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam