In HCMC, takeout food is a way of life. Unlike in most western cultures, food is prepared fresh here. In other words, preserved foods and freezer meals are not so easy to come by in this city. It is still a big metropolis, though, and, although HCMC’s street vendors tend to prepare food very quickly, the city’s residents often don’t have time to go out every time they want to eat.
In the past few years, lots of food delivery services have popped up in HCMC. All of these services will get you your food, but the way you order and the way your food is delivered differs in each case.
Vietnammm is the most expat-friendly option. The app is well-designed and streamlined, and the whole thing is designed in excellent English. The establishments included in the app are comprised of hundreds of upscale restaurants in every district, and diners can choose from virtually any cuisine of variety of food they want. Most of the owners of the establishments on here speak good English, so it is easy to communicate things like cancellations or special directions.
Of course, you get what you pay for and vice versa. The restaurants on Vietnammm are fairly expensive, as far as local standards, go. There is generally a minimum order quantity of at least 100k VND, and sometimes 200 or 300. You’ll often have to throw another 20 to 50k to the driver for delivery, as well. Most locals will not use this option, and it’s not ideal for expats on a budget either.
Grab is a ride-sharing app that was established back in 2011, but its addition of food delivery to its services is relatively new. Only recently has it added a very wide selection of options, something which will develop further in the future. This is now the primary food delivery app used by locals in Saigon.
Most of the vendors that are on there are fairly cheap, charging 35k for a milk tea or 60k for a meal. It’s not as pricey as Vietnammm, but it’s still a little more than typical HCMC food prices. GrabFood also has some really delicious street food available for only 20-30k plus the delivery fee.
Since Grab has been developing its app for such a long time, they have grown adept at creating streamlined platforms that translate well between Vietnamese and English. The app really is very easy to use. Most of the shop owners or delivery guys on GrabFood do not speak English, but Grab has a huge customer support team that will reach out to you in case of issues with your order. They also have an instant translation on their messenger between you and the driver to help with communication. Whats more, you can top up your mobile phone from this app as well.
Now.vn used to be the the most popular food app used by locals until Grab upped its game. The app is decent, the food selection is good (although it doesn’t include the international selection of Vietnammm), and the quality of the food is satisfactory. What’s more, the price is pretty great compared to the alternatives — you can easily find fresh juices for 10k or street foods of all sorts for 20k on the app.
The only problem — and it’s a very large one for most expats — is that Now.vn is not English-friendly. There is an option is the app to switch to English, but that only translates several of the menu headings in the app. The vendor names, the menus, and almost the entire interface is strictly Vietnamese. More pressingly, the delivery person who calls you after your order is placed will probably only speak Vietnamese, and you may not be able to confirm your location unless you can also speak at least a little. That being said, I personally speak very rudimentary Vietnamese and manage to use this app 95% of the time with no issues in communication.
Other useful food delivery apps in Saigon.
On demand personal grocery shopping app.
A health and welness app that provides plant based food that is sugar, MSG, Gluton and Yeast free food.
An expat owned food delivery service in Saigon delivering cooked meals, household items and groceries striaght to your door.
A pre-order meal service which will cook you meals per day, week, or month.
Why use a food delivery service in Saigon?
These food delivery services are especially important for expats, who are generally not versed in the way of Vietnamese cooking and who often have less downtime than locals. The “old-fashioned” method of food delivery on this list will generally be the cheapest and most efficient, and it’s a fantastic idea to keep the phone numbers of a few of your neighborhood favorites saved in your Contacts. Vietnammm is great for those visiting HCMC who do not want to learn any Vietnamese, or for those who are not trying to conserve money. GrabFood and Now.vn are somewhere in between. Order from whichever one suits you best. Or, if you are the type who prefers to cook for yourself but still don’t want to go out shopping, head over to our list of best online supermarkets in HCMC.
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