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

  • Published: 15 March 2015
  • 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: &


Comments • 623

  • the RV ER'S
    the RV ER'S  1 weeks back

    WOW! That looks good. Mark, Do you have any trouble getting in or out of some of the country's you go to and do you have to get flu shots or something??

    • Jamil Ali
      Jamil Ali  2 weeks back

      Can you go to Bangladesh please please, it is really hot in summer.

      • Maysie Hoy
        Maysie Hoy  2 weeks back

        We went there and the food was delicious. We bought her cook book as well.

          7.5M views  2 weeks back

          i visited the Lunch Lady twice when i was in HCMC. both soups were good, but the chicken curry soup on Wednesday was absolutely incredible. fun story: i asked to use the restroom, they directed me into the building in the back and after walking in, I realize that it was their house.

          • Jerome Pickus
            Jerome Pickus  3 weeks back

            That bowl of noodles was a meal unto itself. looked fantastic

            • Chris Austria
              Chris Austria  3 weeks back

              I'm moving to Vietnam

              • Of uuob oo Disconnected huh

                Where is Micah?

              • David Siu
                David Siu  3 weeks back

                Mark Wiens, you have an iron stomach. I see you eating a lot of hot peppers in your VLOGs. What is your favorite type of chili?

                • Alan Trevor
                  Alan Trevor  3 weeks back

                  2:01 Hey,Hi

                  • Lester Wong
                    Lester Wong  3 weeks back

                    You forgot to try the Vietnamese Black Snails : Escargo in chili sauce!!!

                    • Lester Wong
                      Lester Wong  3 weeks back

                      Mark, you forgot to order BEEF with 7 ways to eat it in Vietnam very exotic dish not to be missed there!!!

                      • Lester Wong
                        Lester Wong  3 weeks back

                        Very Yummy PHO NOODLE and VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS with HOT CHILI SAUCE...mmmmmmmmm good.

                        • MissSassyJules MissSassyJules

                          I love spring rolls or as you say Goi Cuon. 🤤🤤

                          • Joseph Neutral
                            Joseph Neutral  4 weeks back

                            If you try those Vietnamese Spring Rolls on Japanese Ponzu Sauce, it tastes even better.

                            • Hector Laureano
                              Hector Laureano  1 months back

                              For the first time I was distracted by the girl behind you while watching your video she was gorgeous.

                              • Laftis Kuno
                                Laftis Kuno  1 months back

                                Hello Mark, I think it will be super interesting if yall three can team up and do a cover on Vietnam country side or farm life. To trap and catch your own food will be super fun:)
                                Vietnam Meets Dustin
                                Thú Vui Dân Dã

                                • Tammie And Kendra Inc.
                                  Tammie And Kendra Inc.  1 months back

                                  mark love your channel how you don't gain no weight from what you eat

                                  • ********* pohz
                                    ********* pohz  1 months back

                                    Hot lady at 3:53

                                    • Nga Le
                                      Nga Le  2 months back

                                      Welcome to Viet nam
                                      Enjoy good food

                                      • Reto Torriani
                                        Reto Torriani  2 months back

                                        Mark, WHERE in HCMC is this Lady located??? I go there and I have no idea how to find her.

                                        • Tod Ganzer
                                          Tod Ganzer  2 months back

                                          Lol the woman behind you on left is so behind in culture , ,lol I think she is attempting to use chopsticks with one in each hand, and cleaning her face like a dog , ,, the lady on right behind you too,, struggling,,lol wiping her nose with hand , ,,lol ugh,,, thank you Mark for being sophisticated and educated , ,love it, 😃

                                          • Techlols
                                            Techlols  2 months back

                                            Hey I’m Vietnamese boi
                                            Edit: I’m not okay?

                                            • Stephanie Graham
                                              Stephanie Graham  2 months back

                                              You couldn't get a popsicle for the price of your meals in those countries, in this country.

                                              • James Giddings
                                                James Giddings  2 months back

                                                That soup will make your nose Water 2

                                                • James Giddings
                                                  James Giddings  2 months back

                                                  Hey Mark have you tried the fried bananas Vietnam those are so good

                                                  • India Talk's
                                                    India Talk's  2 months back

                                                    1:58 who is she ?

                                                    • Mike De paz
                                                      Mike De paz  2 months back

                                                      Another mouthwatering and appetizing video mark! Wish there's a PHO RESTAURANT nearby...

                                                      • Nisabehere
                                                        Nisabehere  2 months back

                                                        I want Mark's life to celebreate with foods. : ) Thank again

                                                        • Jophen Pacia
                                                          Jophen Pacia  2 months back

                                                          RIP anthony bourdain

                                                          • aramis2288
                                                            aramis2288  2 months back

                                                            The Lunch Lady is unreal hype, read it first before going!

                                                            1. Tourists are being charged prices several times higher than locals straight ahead (260.000 VND for 2 soups vs about 70.000 VND in any other place for locals!)

                                                            2. Without asking (!) they put on your table a lot of badly fried food making you think it is a free snack, but you are being charged for it heavily, even though you did not order it!

                                                            3. Food quality is low. In fact it is lower than in most places where locals eat.

                                                            4.There is a man for whom "The Lunch Lady" works who collects the money and lunch ladies works for him. Then he shamelessly hands them (small) part of it...

                                                            DO NOT go there.

                                                            • Linh Nguyen
                                                              Linh Nguyen  3 months back

                                                              Cám ơn Mark Wiens!

                                                              • philong Nguuyen
                                                                philong Nguuyen  3 months back

                                                                Hello Mark,Respectfully, you are the first one on public translate the " Vietnamese Summer Roll" correctly.  Vietnamese has Traditional 4 seasons roll. Spring, summer, Autumn, & Winter roll. (cha gio, goi cuon, bi cuon, bo bia cuon.) Thank you.

                                                                • Craig Queen
                                                                  Craig Queen  3 months back

                                                                  Why does the blonde in the background have a sticker on her shoulder?

                                                                  • Thatsanawit Sohin
                                                                    Thatsanawit Sohin  3 months back


                                                                    • Linda Teitelbaum
                                                                      Linda Teitelbaum  3 months back

                                                                      Is there any better food for the price in the world than street food in Southeast Asia? Wow

                                                                      • Jama Sithole
                                                                        Jama Sithole  3 months back

                                                                        so hungry rite now

                                                                        • huk bb3
                                                                          huk bb3  3 months back

                                                                          Here that bowl will $11 to $13 and spring rolls $9 asia is always the best place to live in and nice nature also

                                                                          • Ballzof Ti
                                                                            Ballzof Ti  4 months back

                                                                            Ruin the noodles. Not everything has to be spicy and sour. Smh

                                                                            • Nora phillips
                                                                              Nora phillips  4 months back

                                                                              I really hated when you do your face expression.. you look weird Everytime you did that..

                                                                              • jermysong14
                                                                                jermysong14  4 months back

                                                                                This place is a scam now, may have been good before. They place sides to you and charge obscene amounts. (ie. 80k for spring rolls) Just read all the recent google reviews. Beware if your foreigner!

                                                                                • Xuân Vũ Lê
                                                                                  Xuân Vũ Lê  4 months back

                                                                                  why was you in T-shirt which has ThaiLand letters in VietNam!!!

                                                                                  • surya budha
                                                                                    surya budha  5 months back

                                                                                    Check Nepal city tandorii

                                                                                    • Thắng Lê
                                                                                      Thắng Lê  5 months back

                                                                                      I from VietNam

                                                                                      • Shiron Shirob
                                                                                        Shiron Shirob  5 months back


                                                                                        • bhutheman Akuma
                                                                                          bhutheman Akuma  5 months back

                                                                                          Oh my god I want to give this woman a visit she cooks best soups. She has her own secret recipes

                                                                                          • Lady Amaterasu
                                                                                            Lady Amaterasu  5 months back

                                                                                            rip Bourdain

                                                                                            • Gssyhdh Hdggdhdgfh
                                                                                              Gssyhdh Hdggdhdgfh  6 months back

                                                                                              I want to eat summer roll but i don't know how is it cook

                                                                                              • Gssyhdh Hdggdhdgfh
                                                                                                Gssyhdh Hdggdhdgfh  6 months back

                                                                                                I think you should also teach us how they made new item of food